For the first time in 2018, Mel Kiper has descended from the draft mountain to unveil the initial iteration of his Mock Draft.
Over the next several months, Kiper will put out several versions of his draft prognostications, and each time, we will collectively scan down the article to see who the draft expert thinks the Oakland Raiders will take in the first round.
Well, in the first version of his mock, Kiper has the Silver and Black going defensive, selecting University of Georgia inside linebacker Roquan Smith No. 10 overall.
(Just FYI, the Raiders and San Francisco 49ers actually have to flip a coin to see who selects No. 9 and who selects No. 10).
"Smith is the type of player new coach Jon Gruden loves," wrote Kiper. "He's physical. He can get sideline to sideline in a hurry. He's a force in the middle. Smith was one of the best players on the field in the College Football Playoff National Championship, and he could slot into the middle of the Raiders' defense in place of NaVorro Bowman, who's a free agent. Oakland also could target a pass-rusher to help Khalil Mack & Co."
With 6.5 sacks in 2017, and 20.5 tackles for loss during his career at Georgia, Smith certainly has the type of game-breaking ability that teams covet in the first round.
Will Smith eventually don the Silver and Black, or will the Raiders go a different direction in the first round? We'll all just have to wait and find out.
The 2018 NFL Draft kicks off Thursday, April 26 in Arlington, Texas.