Much has been made about the Oakland Raiders need to address their secondary in 2016 – Head Coach Jack Del Rio said as much Wednesday – but noted NFL Draft Expert Todd McShay thinks the Silver and Black might go a different direction when they select at No. 14 overall in April's draft.
"This defensive line class is so good, so many defensive tackles especially." McShay told Raiders.com. "Sixteen defensive tackles I have in the Top 100 overall, so you can get one later, but if there's one you love, whether it's A'Shawn Robinson from Alabama, Jarran Reed from Alabama, one of those guys. I think you take advantage of what is turning out to be an elite class of defensive linemen."
The Raiders already boast an impressive front seven with Khalil Mack spearheading the pass rush, but McShay believes that the talent along the defensive line in this year's draft might be too much for General Manager Reggie McKenzie to pass up in the first round.
"I think defensive front seven is one area they'll continue to look to bolster," said McShay.
However, if the Raiders do elect to pick a defensive back in the first round, McShay says there are a pair of cornerbacks that are just a cut above the rest in this year's class.
"There's a couple of elite guys," McShay explained. "I think Jalen Ramsey, a corner who can play some safety, play some nickel, out of Florida State, [Vernon] Hargreaves from Florida is another, I think probably the best pure man-to-man cover corner. After that, I think there's a little bit of a drop off, but Eli Apple from Ohio State is a really good player."
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He continued, "There's some depth at cornerback, and at safety, Vonn Bell, also from Ohio State is I think a really intriguing player because he's one of the most athletic, best cover safeties we've had come out in the last few years. He wouldn't be a bad option if he's sitting there and the right defensive linemen's not there and they went in that direction, it wouldn't shock me."
Regardless of what direction the Raiders go at No. 14, McShay thinks the prime objective is to just keep addressing team need, just as the team has done in recent years.
"They've done a very good job drafting in the last few years, and I think that's the big reason that they're progressing and moving in the right direction," McShay said. "For Oakland moving forward, it's just continue to draft the priority positions. Quarterback they've handled. They have their pass rusher, so cornerback, offensive tackle, those are typically the positions that you want to spend that kind of money in the first, second rounds on."