Each Raiders pick analyzed: Gambling before move to Vegas

--- NFLDraftScout.com ---

So you don't like the Oakland Raiders draft?

Head coach Jon Gruden believes you're entitled to your opinion. He also disagrees with it.

"I've got a lot of coaches and friends in the NFL who are ecstatic with the picks we've made," Gruden said. "I apologize to people that don't like our picks and are skeptical and I also realize we have to prove that we did the right thing."

In their minds, Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie potentially filled some important holes. Two new bodyguards for quarterback Derek Carr in tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker. Inside pass rushers in P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst. A punter in Johnny Townsend.

Also considered part of the draft haul -- three-year veteran receiver Martavis Bryant, acquired for a third-round draft pick.

The Raiders also spent a third-round pick on Arden Key, a beast as a sophomore who saw his stock fall because of a substance abuse issue with LSU.

Keeping Carr upright was of paramount importance, according to Gruden.

"We need guys that can block, and we addressed that," Gruden said. "We have a quarterback that's one hell of a football player and it's a priority to protect him. He's been hurt the last two years and it bothers me."

Bringing in Bryant is also big for Carr.

"We got a big receiver who can jump over you and run right by you and he's going to add a dimension to our team that we have not had here."

The ability to push the pocket with Hall and Hurst from the inside and Key from the outside will take some pressure off Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.

Azeem Victor, a linebacker from Washington who failed a drug test as a senior and later had a DUI arrest, joined Bryant and Key as players who scared off some teams because of character issues.

Throw in the selection of Hurst and players who may have been considered reaches by other teams and the draft had a familiar feel to Gruden, who worked under Al Davis from 1998-2001.

"My mom called and she said maybe Mr. Davis was calling the picks down from heaven," Gruden said. "It's a philosophy I have, a philosophy that I learned here. Bigger guys can be a good thing. Faster can be better."

General manager Reggie McKenzie termed the three-day draft a success, as all teams do.

"It was fun. The one thing this staff has, they have a vision," McKenzie said. "They know exactly what they want, what they need and what will help them be successful."

A closer look at the Raiders' picks:

Round 1/15 -- Kolton Miller, T, 6-8, 310, UCLA

The Raiders traded back five spots and landed what they believe to be an anchor on their offensive line -- eventually at left tackle. Could begin on right side assuming Donald Penn heals from a Lisfranc injury.

Round 2/57 -- P.J. Hall, DT, 6-1, 310, Sam Houston State

Another player secured with a trade-back, Hall dominated at the FCS level, had ridiculous pro day numbers and also blocked 14 kicks. For now, Raiders will settle for collapsing the pocket on occasion.

Round 3/65 -- Brandon Parker, T, North Carolina A&T

Dominated at FCS level and fared well during Senior Bowl week against players from bigger schools. Could eventually emerge as right tackle with Kolton Miller on the left.

Round 3/87 -- Arden Key, OLB, 6-6, 265, Louisiana State

Had his issues at Louisiana State and draft stock plummeted. Raiders excited by his 2016 film and potential to augment outside rush with Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.

Round 4/110 -- Nick Nelson, CB, 5-11, 208, Wisconsin

Sustained torn meniscus in pre-draft workout for Detroit Lions but expects to be good to go by training camp. Solid cover corner allowed 37 percent completions and among leaders in passes defended.

Round 5/140 -- Maurice Hurst, DT, 6-2, 292, Michigan

Interior pass rusher diagnosed with heart condition and dropped from first-day pick to third day. Has subsequently been cleared by Michigan and Harvard doctors but many teams took him off draft board.

Round 5/173 -- Johnny Townsend, P, 6-1, 202, Florida

Had 47.5-yard gross punting average and will replace Marquette King, whose $2.9 million cap number was prohibitive. Latest punter drafted by organization since Ray Guy (first round, 1973) and Shane Lechler (fifth round, 2000).

Round 6/216 -- Azeem Victor, LB, 6-3, 230, Washington

An All-Pac-12 pick in 2016, Victor started the season on suspension with a positive drug test and later missed time following a DUI arrest. The Raiders looked hard at his 2016 tape, which suggested a potential NFL middle linebacker.

Round 7/228 -- Marcell Ateman, WR, 6-5, 216, Oklahoma State

Ateman caught 54 passes for 1,049 yards and eight touchdowns in a wide open offense and showed the ability to use his body to shield defensive backs and make contested catches in traffic. Top-end speed is a concern.


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