NFL Draft Fantasy Preview for the Oakland Raiders
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The Oakland Raiders may have been the biggest disappointment of the 2017 Fantasy Football season. Coming off an appearance in the AFC title game, many expected this offense to take the next leap forward. Instead, they went the opposite direction. Derek Carr had a miserable year, as both his passing yardage (3,496) and touchdowns (22) dipped from the previous two seasons. It seemed as though the only bright spot on this offense was Marshawn Lynch, and even he was a streaky player throughout the year.
The Raiders enter the draft after major offseason changes. Jon Gruden is back in charge, and Doug Martin and Jordy Nelson were brought into the fold to help rejuvenate this offense.
We have finalized our coaching staff for the 2018 season.
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) April 3, 2018
Things look on the up for this offense in Fantasy for 2018, but it all depends on how well Gruden can shake things up. As it stands now, there is not a standout Fantasy starter on this offense. The pieces are there, but time will tell as to just what to expect on a weekly basis from this team.
Projected Top Three Picks
Team Needs: LB, CB, S
First Round: Denzel Ward, CB Ohio State
Second Round: Ronnie Harrison, S Alabama
Third Round: Josey Jewel, LB Iowa
Based on the projections, the Raiders will miss on the two players they are coveting in Tremaine Edmunds and Roquan Smith. The fall-back option of Denzel Ward, the top cornerback on the board, is not too shabby at all.
Ward has elite athletic ability, with his patience and footwork being unmatched by other prospects in this draft. Ward does a great job of staying with receivers on a multitude of routes, but also has a plus closing speed to go after balls when in zone. Allowing a 32% completion over the last two years shows his elite defensive skills at the position.
If there is a negative here at all, it’s that his slight frame hampers him in tight coverage and prevents him from jamming stronger receivers at the line. That’s just nitpicking on a player that pans out to be an above average corner at the next level. Ward will come in and compete for a starting corner spot on day one and should immediately improve the Raiders’ pass defense from a year ago.
The next two selections for the Raiders speaks to what needs they truly have on this roster going into the draft.
Ronnie Williams is a safety with the size and athletic ability you are looking for in a defender. He has very few limitations and should be able to fit in any scheme in the NFL. Williams is a “big pop” tackler that likes to lead in shoulder first, which may lead to missed tackles and big plays unless he cleans up that technique.
Josey Jewel could pan out to be a great middle linebacker in the NFL, but early on in his career he could be just a rotational player. He has the instincts and physicality to excel at this level. His excessive motor has no quit and will allow him to stay in plays.
On the flip side, his size and lateral agility could lead to him getting lost behind bigger lineman and being put out of plays. He has the skills, but must be put into the right position to fully reach his peak.
Marshawn Lynch Photo Credit: AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo