April can only mean one thing to NFL fans – draft season is upon us. For fans of the Las Vegas Raiders, there is no clear plan as to what head coach Jon Gruden is to do with their first-round selection in the draft. Gruden has spent his past three seasons with the Raiders building his roster through the draft. After addressing glaring needs in free agency, the Raiders draft options at pick 17 are open for speculation. A mid-round selection in play for Vegas means Gruden has many different ways he could take the franchise going into the 2021 season. With questions on the offensive line and trouble in the secondary, fans will be looking for needs to be met at these positions with their first-round selection.
Las Vegas Raiders Draft Options at 17th Overall
Raiders Offensive Line Options
Perhaps the most perplexing off-season moves for Las Vegas were trading guard Gabe Jackson to Seattle and center Rodney Hudson to Arizona. Both were solid starters traded for draft capital and both leave gaps with their departure. Luckily, the 2021 draft class is deep along the offensive line. Look for guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and tackle Teven Jenkins to still be on the board at seventeenth overall. Virginia Tech standout Christian Darrisaw may also drop down as well. If that’s the case, Gruden could draft a road-grader for Derek Carr and company to play behind.
Raiders Safety Options
Earlier this week the Raiders signed safety Karl Joseph, but that didn’t eliminate the need at the position. Jonathan Abram plays more in the box and is a hard-hitting safety. New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley may want a true free safety to fit his single high scheme. The only cover safety who could go in round one is TCU prospect Trevor Moehrig, whose playstyle fits very nicely with Bradley’s approach. Seventeen could be a little early for Moehrig, who had seven interceptions and 21 passes defended at TCU. Gruden may appease his new colleague in the first round, but the later rounds may prove more valuable when choosing a safety.
Raiders Cornerback Options
Rumors still buzz about veteran Richard Sherman reuniting with Bradley in Vegas. Sherman would bring leadership and a voice to a young Raiders secondary. Except, Sherman announced he wouldn’t sign with a team until after the draft. Last year’s first-rounder, Damon Arnette, was underwhelming down the stretch. Trayvon Mullen continues to excel but with young starters and little depth, Gruden could opt for a shutdown type player at 17th overall. Jaycee Horn from South Carolina could certainly be the pick, or maybe a big, physical type like Caleb Farley, provided his health concerns aren’t hindering. Both prospects are top-5 in a diverse cornerback class and could thrive with Las Vegas.
Best Player Available Options
Being nearly the midpoint of round one makes for a lot of intriguing scenarios for Las Vegas. Every year, top ten prospects fall to the middle or back end of the round. Gruden may look to snag the best player available at 17th overall. Micah Parsons could possibly fall due to the rumored off-the-field concerns. Penei Sewell could slide simply due to a frenzy for quarterbacks and receivers in the top ten. A big-name prospect is sure to be sitting on the board at seventeen, and if Gruden’s guy is already gone, the Raiders will want to draft who they find is best available.
From opt-outs to pro day rises and falls, the 2021 NFL draft is full of talent and slated to be full of interesting selections. The Las Vegas Raiders draft options are varied but plentiful. Hitting on a day one pick calls for Gruden to assess his offseason precisely. If the Raiders want to find themselves in the 2021 post-season, it will have to start in the draft at seventeenth overall. A whiff at #17 is not optional for Gruden, who could be on the hot seat pending a bad selection. Come April 29th, all eyes will be on Las Vegas and their head coach to find a first-round gem.
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