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Raiders Mailbag: Who will shine among the Raiders 2021 draft class?

Justin McGovney asks..

"Which pick do you think will need the most improvement immediately to be an impact player at the NFL level?"

I'm going to go with Alex Leatherwood — not because he's one that needs a drastic amount of improvement, but because he's the draft pick the Raiders could need the most from immediately.

General Manager Mike Mayock labeled the No. 17 pick out of Alabama their starting right tackle a couple of hours after he was drafted. That's a lot of pressure for a young man coming straight out of college. Fortunately, Leatherwood will have another man in the same unit who had to deal with the same expectations in Kolton Miller. Aside from that, Leatherwood will have a lot of pieces around him to help him develop early with offensive line coach Tom Cable leading the way.

The Raiders will need to get Leatherwood fully entrenched within the offense and develop his skills as quickly as possible. The All-American offensive lineman won't have time to learn behind someone while he's on the bench — the Raiders are going to be calling on No. 70 from the jump.

He honestly has no option but to be ready.

Joseph Bohannon asks...

"Are they thinking LB or SS for Divine Deablo?"

The Raiders have been vocal regarding their desire for third-round pick Divine Deablo to make the switch from strong safety to linebacker. This has been something that Deablo has been advised to do from many pro scouts, as he even tried his hand at linebacker at the Senior Bowl.

Deablo is a big, athletic safety who has the speed to drop back in coverage along with the strength and pursuit to lay someone out. I do believe that Deablo could make a solid transition from the safety position to the MIKE linebacker, but the Raiders still need to be careful. They need to give Deablo a fair shot at play both positions going into the preseason and put him in the best position where he can contribute to the team and not be a developmental project that takes too long to develop.

If Deablo proves himself to be a good NFL-ready linebacker, great. If not, here's hoping he can make his mark at safety — or even better, special teams.

Jason Mills says...

"I'm happy with the players we drafted. We drafted for needs that will fortify the team."

It's not a question, but I must agree with Jason. Everything the Raiders needed going into the draft, they were able to acquire.

The Silver and Black offensive line was able to fill a huge void at right tackle by selecting Alex Leatherwood, a good replacement for Trent Brown, as he already has NFL size and length at 6-foot-5, 312 pounds and freakish athleticism for someone his size (he ran a 4.96 40-yard dash at his Pro Day). They got a steal in the seventh round with center Jimmy Morrissey, who walked on to the Pittsburgh Panthers football team and became a four-year starter and team captain. Morrissey has also shown versatility playing center and guard which will be beneficial for the Raiders plug-and-play offensive line.

They addressed getting better stopping the run with safeties Tyree Gillespie and Divine Deablo, who have great speed and pursuit to sniffing out the run. It will be beneficial to stack the guys in the box, as the Raiders allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns this past season. This also coincides with Trevon Moehrig, who could potentially have been the biggest steal of the draft, and edge rusher Malcolm Koonce, who can develop into a great talent behind Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby.

Overall, time will tell, but the draft should be deemed as a success for the Raiders, as they definitely got two or three players who could make an immediate impact this season.

The picks are in and the Las Vegas Raiders 2021 Draft Class has been set. Check out photos of all seven of the Silver and Black's newest rookies.

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