If I had it my way, I'd fast forward to the 2019 NFL Draft right now, but I can't snap my fingers and control time like Thanos — c'est la vie.
Now that the 2018 season has concluded, the next few months will revolve around the Draft. We got a glimpse of what's to come at the Senior Bowl, but things will ramp up yet again at the end of February with the start of the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
As we get ready to debut the third edition of the Mock Draft Tracker, let's do a little recap. The last two weeks have shown that NFL analysts around the league expect the Oakland Raiders to target a pass rusher, and the overall consensus has been that University of Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will be the best player available at No. 4. Who knows if that'll be the case, as the Draft is subject to change at the drop of a hat, but let's take a look at who the Raiders are projected to pick, according to the analysts, with their three first-round picks.
|Publication||Projected Pick||Player||College||Last Updated|
|CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso)||No. 4||DT, Montez Sweat||Mississippi State||2/1/19|
|No. 24||WR, Marquise Brown||Oklahoma||2/1/19|
|No. 27||LB, Devin Bush||Michigan||2/1/19|
|CBS Sports (Ryan Wilson)||No. 4||DT, Quinnen Williams||Alabama||2/5/19|
|No. 24||LB, Devin Bush||Michigan||2/5/19|
|No. 27||WR, Deebo Samuel||South Carolina||2/5/19|
|The Athletic (Dane Brugler)||No. 4||DE, Rashan Gary||Michigan||2/5/19|
|No. 24||TE, T.J. Hockenson||Iowa||2/5/19|
|No. 27||RB, Josh Jacobs||Alabama||2/5/19|
|Walter Football||No. 4||DE, Rashan Gary||Michigan||2/5/19|
|No. 24||CB, DeAndre Baker||Georgia||2/5/19|
|No. 27||S, Johnathan Abram||Mississippi State||2/5/19|
|SB Nation (Dan Kadar)||No. 4||DT, Jeffery Simmons||Mississippi State||2/4/19|
|No. 24||WR, D.K. Metcalf||Ole Miss||2/4/19|
|No. 27||LB, Devin Bush||Michigan||2/4/19|
|NFL Network (Bucky Brooks)||No. 4||DE, Rashan Gary||Michigan||1/25/19|
|No. 24||WR, Kelvin Harmon||N.C. State||1/25/19|
|No. 27||DT, Jeffery Simmons||Mississippi State||1/25/19|
|NFL Network (Daniel Jeremiah)||No. 4||DT, Quinnen Williams||Alabama||1/23/19|
|No. 24||DE, Jaylon Ferguson||Louisiana Tech||1/23/19|
|No. 27||CB, Trayvon Mullen||Clemson||1/23/19|
|Bleacher Report (Matt Miller)||No. 4||DE, Rashan Gary||Michigan||2/4/19|
|No. 24||RB, Josh Jacobs||Alabama||2/4/19|
|No. 27||CB, Trayvon Mullen||Clemson||2/4/19|
If you reference Mock Draft Tracker: 2.0, there's been a lot of change in just a week.
Once considered a mid-to-late-first-round pick, defensive end Montez Sweat is now being linked to the Raiders at No. 4, which is incredible when you think about how just two weeks ago he was projected to go No. 24 to the Silver and Black. Sweat's draft stock was drastically improved after his performance at the Senior Bowl, and he made a positive impression on just about everyone he spoke with. Truthfully, I'm not sure I buy him going in the top five, let alone the top 10, but he's certainly a player that would be worth swooping in the early 20s range if he's available.
Another name that's catapulted to the top of the board is Sweat's Mississippi State teammate, Jeffery Simmons. In the spirit of full transparency, compared to the other pass rushers in this class, I haven't done as much research on Simmons. The Raiders need help on the edge, and Simmons is listed as a defensive tackle. On paper, the 6'4", 300-pound lineman had a pedestrian seven sacks during his three seasons at Mississippi State, while adding 33 tackles for loss. Now, I'm not trying to say Simmons wouldn't help the Raiders stop the run, but I think the need for rushing the passer is greater.
Sweat and Simmons were the two players that surprised me the most in this edition of the Mock Draft Tracker, but one player that was a pleasant surprise to see was linebacker Devin Bush. This kid is a stud, and I remember watching him a little over a year ago thinking he'd be a great fit for the Raiders. Maurice Hurst Jr.'s former teammate at the University of Michigan, Bush has incredible sideline-to-sideline speed, which allows him to snuff out plays before they even begin to take shape. He's got a nose for the football, and his athleticism would do wonders for Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther. He's been linked to the Raiders at No. 24 and No. 27, but either way he'd be a great addition.
Aside from the surprises, Quinnen Williams remains a potential candidate to be selected by the Raiders. We'll see how many of these players perform later this month at the Combine.
Take a look at which players NFL analysts are predicting the Raiders will select in round one of the 2019 NFL Draft.