Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock now has his first NFL Draft experience under his belt.
The rookie GM entered Thursday night with the 4th overall, 24th overall and 27th overall picks and ultimately kept them while selecting three new players to don the Silver & Black.
Rumors flew in the lead up to draft night but Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden ultimately elected to tackle a need at pass rushing by drafted defensive end Clelin Ferrell. The Ted Hendricks award-winner, given to the country’s top defensive end, was also named ACC Defensive Player of the YEar with 53 tackles, 11.5 sacks, four pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Ferrell is listed at 6-foot-4, 265 pounds and is built like a prototypical defensive end for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. While other pass rushers were available like Josh Allen (Kentucky) and Ed Oliver (Houston), the Raiders took the guy that fits their scheme best and the guy they clearly had rated higher.
Mayock filled another need with the 24th overall pick, selecting running back Josh Jacobs (Alabama). It’s been awhile since Raider Nation has seen a first round pick used on a running back but the position became a need this week with veteran Marshawn Lynch reportedly electing to hang up the cleats for good.
Jacobs has big shoes to fill in Beast Mode, but he’s the top back available in this year’s draft and fits in to the modern day NFL offenses. Jacobs is a three-down back that can run between the tackles, catch out of the backfield and block pass rushers when needed. Another key note is that Jacobs had just 251 carries at Alabama, which is beneficial for a team that will want to get the most out of his career. There’s no doubt that Gruden will have fun figuring out ways to get him involved in both the running game and passing game. Jacobs’ presence should help a rebuilt passing game with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams.
The Raiders used their 27th overall pick to select Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram. Abram is widely believed to be the best safety in the draft and is a sure-tackler and solid in coverage. The 5-foot-11, 205 pound safety finished with 99 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, three sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble for the Bulldogs last year.
Abram adds a key piece to the defense but it seemingly signals safety Karl Joseph’s time in Oakland is nearing an end. The former first round pick was used sparingly at the beginning of last year but started playing better as the season progressed. The Raiders just picked up his fifth-year option, but it will be interesting to see what the Raiders do with him moving forward.
The NFL Draft returns Friday night with the Raiders selecting 35th overall and plenty of strong prospects still available.