The Raiders not only have quality draft picks this spring – three in the first round, at Nos. 4, 24 and 27 – but quantity.
New general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden will have 10 picks in total, with one in Round 2, one in Round 3, one in Round 4, one in Round 5, one in Round 6 and two in Round 7.
The consensus is that the Raiders’ biggest need is an impact edge rusher, so the team’s top first-round selection will likely go to that position. After that, the Raiders need help at linebacker, cornerback, safety, running back, wide receiver, tight end, the offensive line … well, just about everywhere.
Oakland could wait until the second round to go for a cornerback, which would allow Mayock and Gruden to land a deep-threat wideout and perhaps a linebacker with the 24th and 27th picks.
This week, a pair of NFL.com draft analysts, Daniel Jeremiah and Lance Zierlein, suggest cornerback Julian Love of Notre Dame might be a good target for them with that second-round pick.
Wrote Jeremiah and Zierlein: “Love has what new general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden want: toughness and playmaking ability. He will likely come off the board in the second round.”
Love, a 5-foot-11, 193-pounder, decided to forgo his senior season to enter the draft. He had five interceptions in his three seasons for the Fighting Irish, along with 34 passes defensed (a school record), and was an active tackler, with 63 this past season, 64 in 2017 and 45 in 2016.
Love was an All-America pick and a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation’s top defensive back. At Notre Dame, he was terrific in coverage and a versatile and sturdy player.
Some have projected Love to be a first-round pick, but if he drops to the second round, the Raiders might find themselves with a high-impact pick to play opposite Gareon Conley.