It's that time of year again, when NFL analysts start piecing together their mock drafts for the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, which will be held April 26 in Arlington, Texas, at AT&T Stadium. Aside from the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, and New England Patriots, the other 28 teams in the NFL are entrenched in their offseason evaluation process, reviewing tape on college prospects who could be targeted this spring.
CBS Sports and Bleacher Report both published their first round of mock drafts Monday, revealing who they thought would be selected in the first round of the draft. It's no secret the Oakland Raiders defense struggled last season, and addressing the issues on that side of the ball will be paramount this offseason.
One of those areas of need was the linebacker position, and it's a position many are expecting the team to take care of early on in the draft. Both BR's Matt Miller and CBS' Chris Trapasso have the Silver and Black selecting Roquan Smith out of the University of Georgia. Smith, a linebacker, put up some monster numbers in 2017, totaling 137 tackles, 14 for loss, 6.5 sacks, two passes defensed, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.
"Roquan Smith is so perfect for the Oakland Raiders that fans should worry about the rest of the NFL catching on and trying to trade ahead of them to steal the Georgia linebacker," said Miller.
"Smith is a linebacker who can transform a defense with his play-recognition skills, speed to the football, and coverage ability. That's precisely the type of player the Raiders need," added Trapasso.
Smith would bring some physicality to the middle of the defense, considering he's a hard-hitter, but he also has the athleticism and speed to pursue quicker players. There's plenty of time between now and the draft for things to change, but in the early going, many have the Raiders targeting the 6-1, 225-pound Bulldog.
You can read the full CBS and Bleacher Report break downs here: