The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine starts exactly one week from today.
Let’s take a closer look at who the draft experts have the Silver and Black selecting:
Expert | Matt Miller
Breakdown: The hire of Jon Gruden might have fans thinking Oakland will go offense early in the draft, but the Raiders have massive holes on defense that must be addressed. One glaring hole is at linebacker—which is why Georgia's Roquan Smith makes a ton of sense at No. 10 overall.
Smith is a rangy, fast, smart linebacker with the tools to drop into coverage in the middle of the field or go after the run on plays outside the hashes. Yes, there are times he gets bogged down by blockers in the run game, but with an NFL defensive line in front of him keeping his jersey clean and improved strength training, Smith can and will improve there.
What should excite Raiders fans is that Smith and the development of the young secondary will hopefully mean a team that's struggled with pass defense in the past will take a big step forward in 2018.
Expert | Chris Trapasso
Breakdown: Jon Gruden needs to get himself a field general on the defensive side of the ball. Smith is an old-school middle linebacker with dazzlng range and effectiveness in coverage.
Expert | R.J. White
Breakdown: The Raiders must go to work improving all three levels of their defense, Khalil Mack can't do it alone. Smith has excellent power and speed at the linebacker position and should be a force as a three-down linebacker for this unit for years to come.
Expert | Mel Kiper Jr.
Breakdown: Smith is the type of player new coach Jon Gruden loves. 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.
Expert | Todd McShay
Breakdown: The Oakland defense gave up 5.6 yards per play last season (27th), so help is needed. CB Gareon Conley, last year's first-round pick, is still an unknown after playing only two games in 2017, which means the secondary is still a question mark. But the Raiders also have a need at linebacker, and with the top two CBs off the board, they can choose between Edwards and Roquan Smith. Edmunds is a better fit for Oakland, as he can play off the line and rush off the edge. He's an athletic freak who will turn some heads at the combine.
Expert | Lance Zierlein
Breakdown: The Raiders have been in need of help at inside linebacker for a while, and they get an ascending playmaker in this spot.
Expert | Bucky Brooks
Breakdown: Explosive athlete with the speed and movement skills to blossom into a CB1.
Expert | Daniel Jeremiah
Breakdown: Smith is a bit undersized, but he makes plays sideline to sideline and provides a physical presence in the middle of the field.
Expert | Charley Casserly
Breakdown: Edmunds is the best all-around LB in the draft.
Expert | Charles Davis
Diagnose, run, hit. Diagnose, run, cover, hit. Rinse. Repeat. I love this playmaking thumper so much that I voted him third for last year's Heisman Trophy.
Expert | Chad Reuter
Breakdown: Smith has "bench to bench" range, tracking down ball carriers all over the field.
Expert | Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz
Breakdown: Oakland's defense has little to offer outside of Khalil Mack and needs assistance at almost every level. With excellent instincts and a knack for finding the ball, Smith might end up a foundational figure for whichever team drafts him.
Pro Football Focus
Expert | Steve Palazzolo
Breakdown: Running backs must be able to contribute in the passing game, and that’s just what Barkley can do after leading all college running backs with 632 receiving yards. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands and will add a three-down weapon to the Raiders’ offense as they transition to new head coach Jon Gruden’s scheme. Even if they ‘win’ the coin flip with San Francisco, Barkley would still be in play at pick No. 9.
Expert | Walter Cherepinsky
Previous Selection: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Breakdown: The Raiders need to upgrade every area of their defense. Cornerback, linebacker and defensive tackle are seen as the big problem areas, but Oakland also needs a dynamic edge rusher to start across from Khalil Mack.
Jon Gruden could see Marcus Davenport as his next Simeon Rice. Davenport is a highly athletic edge rusher who has been generating tons of buzz lately. He could be a top-10 pick with a strong pre-draft process, and he's off to a good start by performing well at the Senior Bowl.
Expert | Dan Kadar
Breakdown: Oakland has badly needed a player who can captain the defense, and Smith can be that guy. Georgia players rallied around the instinctive linebacker, and Raiders players would too.