Day Two of the 2018 NFL Draft felt like a blur.
From start to finish the Oakland Raiders moved back and forth in the second and third rounds, trading picks to draft defensive tackle P.J. Hall, offensive tackle Brandon Parker, and defensive end Arden Key. Fortifying the trenches is a priority in the NFL, and the Silver and Black addressed both sides of the ball Friday. Following the conclusion of the third round, Head Coach Jon Gruden met with the media to talk about the day in its entirety.
Here are the quick hits from his media session:
Gruden broke down what Hall will add to the Raiders defense.
With the 87th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Raiders select LSU defensive end Arden Key.
“Hall is an inside rusher. He’s a potential three-technique, outside shoulder of the guard, which is a critical part of this defense that we’re going to run here. With Paul Guenther, we like his production, we love his measurables. The only thing he isn’t is he’s not tall, but this man is extremely powerful. I believe he did 38 bench presses, 39” vertical. The man can run. We need an inside pass rusher, which I think I’ve said that since I’ve been here. Somebody that can disrupt running plays and penetrate, and this guy can do that, so we’re really excited to get him.”
The Raiders head coach is also excited to get to work with Key.
“Well he’s not a finished product. He’s made some mistakes. He’s had some difficult times in his young life, and I know where he’s been for the last several months, and I know what he’s been through in his career. We’ve done a lot of research on him and he has a lot to prove. We have a lot to prove. But at the end of the third round, we feel like it’s a gamble worth taking and this young man has some qualities that are rare. We do think he’s a very good kid so I’m not going to get much more into it than that.”
Gruden talked about the feeling in the draft room when all the trades were occurring.
“It’s exciting, man. It really is. The trade last night, obviously a trade down to 15, you have four or five names on the board that you’re considering. You net a third-round pick, which basically turned into Martavis Bryant, which is a huge addition to this draft class, huge. But it’s exciting, it’s nerve racking, I hate it. You’re hoping your guy slips, you’re hoping your guy falls. Sometimes you get heartbroken, sometimes you get excited, but it’s a long day for sure.”
**He said that addressing the offensive line was a priority.
“Well they’re young players. Obviously, Brandon comes from North Carolina A&T and hasn’t seen the high level of competition that he’s going to see when he comes here. Kolton Miller is an underclassman. So, we have a maturation that has to take place obviously, but like I said, we have, I think, very good mentors in place with Donald Penn and Breno Giacomini. I think we have one of the best line coaches in football. Look, I’ve gone around this league as a broadcaster. You cannot call plays without offensive tackles. You can’t do it. And we need depth and we’ve got to be better on the edge.”
After a solid Day Two, Gruden is happy about the way things went.
“Yeah, my mom called and she said that, ‘Maybe Mr. Davis was calling the picks down from Heaven.’ (laughter) It’s a philosophy that I have, it’s a philosophy that I learned here. Bigger guys can be a good thing, faster can be better. We feel like we added one of the fastest receivers in all of football today in Martavis Bryant, two really outstanding, young, massive offensive tackles that can pull, that can pass protect, that continue to get better that will fight, that will take us to another level with execution, an inside rusher and an edge rusher and that’s all we did today – add five young players that we think can be dynamic. That’s just a prediction right now, but I feel good about it.”