The Raiders believe they’re ready to crash the NFL’s playoff party in 2021. They’ll struggle to make the postseason if they pick one of these prospects.
Jon Gruden’s team looked as if it was headed towards the playoffs for most of the 2020 regular season. Unfortunately, the Raiders were undone by a late-season swoon. The franchise’s front office will work tirelessly to add depth to the roster in the offseason to avoid repeating that mistake in 2021.
The No. 17 overall pick in this year’s draft will be one of the Raiders’ best tools to add a new starter to their roster. GM Mike Mayock hasn’t been afraid to roll the dice and make an unconventional pick in recent years. It might serve Las Vegas well to play things in a more orthodox manner in this draft.
If the Raiders want to avoid making a big mistake in Round 1, they need to avoid the following three prospects. Selecting any member of this trio will deal a blow to Las Vegas’ playoff hopes next season.
3. Javon Holland, Safety, Oregon
Gruden sanctioned the use of a first round pick on safety Johnathan Abram in his first draft with the franchise. The former Mississippi State star hasn’t become the star the franchise envisioned when they acquired him. It’s easy to understand why Las Vegas would be interested in adding a new starter this offseason.
Unfortunately, there just isn’t a safety in this class that deserves consideration at No. 17. Holland is arguably the best safety in his class, but he shouldn’t hear his name called on Day One. He’s a nice presence in the box, but his lack of high-end coverage skills will limit his ability to become a real difference-maker at the pro level.
The Raiders need to wait until Round 2 or later to select a safety ready to challenge Abram for playing time in 2021.