OAKLAND (CBS SF)- The 2019 NFL Draft gets underway Thursday night in Nashville, Tennessee, with the Arizona Cardinals on the clock with the first overall pick. Shortly thereafter, the Oakland Raiders and new general manager Mike Mayock will make their first of three first-round selections with the number four overall pick. With so many picks, fans are expecting several key impact players to be taken. But who will those guys be?
While we won’t officially know the answer to that question until Thursday night, we have a sense of what the experts think will happen. CBSSports.com has six experts with mock drafts on the site, so let’s take a look at which prospects they think will be moving to the Bay Area following Thursday night’s first round action.
No. 4 Overall Pick
Ryan Wilson & Will Brinson: Josh Allen, DE/LB, Kentucky- Allen starred for the Wildcats as a linebacker who doubled as a pass-rushing threat. He racked up 21.5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks in his senior season alone, and his career numbers in those categories (42.5 and 31.5 respectively) confirm that he wasn’t just a one-year wonder. At 6’5″ and 262 pounds, Allen showed the ability to play in coverage as well for the Wildcats, making him a prototypical fit in this era of NFL linebackers. He would certainly help improve the Raiders’ abysmal pass rush from last season.
Chris Trapasso: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State- Sweat went flying up draft boards following his Combine performance in which he showed off freakish athleticism. Checking in at 6’6″ and weighing 260 pounds, Sweat ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash, which tied for the 16th fastest time recorded by any prospect in this year’s draft. All of the guys above him were wide receivers, running backs or defensive backs. The Combine performance was impressive, but it’s not as if Sweat didn’t produce at the college level. He spent two years with the Bulldogs after transferring from Michigan State and recorded 30.5 tackles for loss with 23.5 sacks. There is some concern about a pre-existing heart condition, and it’s reportedly causing him to fall back down teams’ draft boards. Whether the Raiders take a chance on him remains to be seen.
R.J. White: (Trade up to #1) Kyler Murray, QB Oklahoma- Murray is projected by basically everyone at this point to be taken with the first overall pick in this year’s draft. In this scenario, White has the Raiders trading the 4th and 27th picks along with tackle Kolton Miller to move up and take Murray. The Heisman Trophy winner had a stellar season with the Sooners after taking over for Baker Mayfield, and Mayfield’s NFL success has emboldened teams to reconsider their notions of what a top QB prospect should look like. On the smaller side (5’10” 206 pounds), Murray showed plenty of arm strength and accuracy at Oklahoma. He’ll be another fascinating case to watch, whether the offensive coordinator works to design the system around his strengths or, if he’ll be forced to fit the coordinator’s scheme.
Pete Prisco: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma- No trade here, Prisco just has Murray falling into the Raiders’ lap after the first three teams go with defensive linemen.
Jared Dubin: Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama- Back to the defensive line for this pick, though this one comes on the interior. Williams exploded onto the scene this year as a redshirt sophomore, putting together a dominant season for the Tide (19.5 tackles for loss 8 sacks). Owning one of the quickest first steps we have seen from an interior defensive lineman, Williams routinely blew up plays in the opponents’ backfield in college. The biggest question here is fit. The Raiders already have multiple guys on the interior of the line, but no real pass rushers. Williams doesn’t really profile as being able to kick back outside, so this would be a pick with cascading ramifications for the roster.
No. 24 Overall Pick
Ryan Wilson & R.J. White: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU- One of the best names I can think of for a corner, Williams lived up to his name at LSU, picking off eight passes and recording 19 passes defensed over the last two seasons. The Raiders added Nevin Lawson as a free agent, but they still need a top corner, and Williams certainly fits that bill.
Chris Trapasso: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State- This would be stunning if Haskins fell to this point in the draft. With several teams in the top 15 picks needing a quarterback, it’s unlikely he gets to this point. But, if he does, the Raiders would have a chance to take a guy who some see as the best QB in the draft. Following a redshirt sophomore season, in which he racked up over 4,800 yards and 50 touchdowns for the Buckeyes, Haskins appears to have most of the traits teams look for in a signal caller. The question here would be what to do with Derek Carr if Haskins is the pick.
Pete Prisco: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington- Like Wilson and White, Prisco has the Raiders filling one of their biggest needs in this spot taking the rangy Murphy to be their top corner. He was around the ball nearly as much as Williams, with 20 passes defensed, six interceptions and two forced fumbles in his time with the Huskies.
Will Brinson: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa- Fant is considered the top tight end in this class, and it would be surprising to see him fall to this point. An explosive receiver, who tallied 19 touchdowns in three years for the Hawkeyes, Fant would provide a big target for Derek Carr, replacing Jared Cook as the top receiving option in the offense.
Jared Dubin: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss- Brown is the less talked about of the two Ole Miss receivers, but he was more productive at the college level, going over 1,200 yards in each of the last two seasons, while averaging over 15 yards per catch. With the Raiders facing a dearth of receiving options, Brown would be a good fit for the offense.
No. 27 Overall Pick
Ryan Wilson, Chris Trapasso & Pete Prisco: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama- Jacobs has risen from a three-star recruit out of high school to the expected first running back taken in this year’s draft. This past season with the Tide showed why as he put up 887 combined yards and 17 total touchdowns as part of the Tide’s three-headed monster at running back. Jacobs has shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield while also being a punishing runner inside, which makes him highly valuable in today’s NFL.
Will Brinson: Garrett Bradbury, OL, N.C. State- Bradbury would bring a stable interior presence to the Raiders offensive line. At 6’3″ and 306 pounds, he moves well and can get out in front of screens on the perimeter. With Rodney Hudson still under contract, Bradbury could move to guard to make for a formidable line.
Jared Dubin: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU