Grading the Draft - Oakland Raiders

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Chris Tripodi

Draft Analyst Writer

Jon Gruden is back in Oakland after signing a monster contract in the offseason to coach his former team, which took a step back against expectations last season. Like their 2017 campaign, the Raiders' draft also fell short.

Round 1 (No. 15 overall): Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA

Round 2 (No. 57): P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State

Round 3 (No. 65): Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T

Round 3 (No. 87): Arden Key, DE, LSU

Round 4 (No. 110): Nick Nelson, CB, Wisconsin

Round 5 (No. 140): Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

Round 5 (No. 173): John Townsend, P, Florida

Round 6 (No. 216): Azeem Victor, LB, Washington

Round 7 (No. 228): Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State

UDFA: Marcus Baugh, TE, Ohio State; Saeed Blacknall, WR, Penn State; Jason Cabinda, LB, Penn State; Dallin Leavitt, S, Utah State; Alex Officer, OC, Pittsburgh; Eddy Piniero, K, Florida; Drew Scott, LS, Kansas State; Nick Sharga, FB, Temple; Chris Warren III, RB, Texas

We rated Kolton Miller higher than many draft analysts, but the pick was still a massive reach even after trading down from No. 10 to pick up an extra third and fifth-round pick. With great length (6-foot-8.5, 309 pounds) and athleticism, Miller's upside is that of a first-round pick, but he's a project who may not contribute much in Year 1 -- not the way most teams envision spending a top-15 pick.

P.J. Hall is another high-upside prospect, but he was a fifth-rounder on our board. A former tight end who blew up the predraft process, Hall has a three-technique skill set but will need time coming from the FCS level.

Oakland stuck with the small-school theme in Round 3 and selected Brandon Parker, who jumped onto the scouting radar last season while blocking for Bears running back Tarik Cohen. Like Miller, he's tall (6-foot-7.5, 305 pounds) and has the upside and skill set to start at the NFL level, but he's likely a year or two away from making an impact and is another last-day value taken too soon.

The Raiders finally hit value by taking Arden Key late in the third round, and like their early picks, he's full of upside. Trouble keeping his weight in check and off-field issues pushed him to the back end of the top 100, and he needs to clean up his technique and play with more physicality, but Key has the athletic upside to provide a nice complement to Khalil Mack if he avoids going down the Randy Gregory path.

After focusing on the trenches and the front seven on Day 1, Oakland drafted Nick Nelson to help the secondary. Nelson is a solid player who plays with good discipline and fundamentals and closes well to the ball, but he lacks starter upside and didn't record an interception during his college career.

The best player the Raiders drafted came at the 140th pick when they stopped the fall of Maurice Hurst. The top three-technique tackle on our board fell due to a potential career-threatening heart condition, but he'll be an impact player if he's able to stay on the field thanks to his explosive first step, quickness and overall athletic ability.

Sticking with the project theme, Oakland drafted a punter who may need time to reach his ceiling in John Townsend. His big leg helped him lead the SEC in punting average in each of the past two seasons, but he must get the ball away quicker to enjoy sustained success at the NFL level.

Much like college teammate and Broncos draft pick Keishawn Bierria, Azeem Victor entered the season as a potential first-round pick. His weight ballooned after a season-ending leg injury in 2016, and then he was suspended for DUI as a senior. Victor is a smart, tough player with good closing burst and could prove to be a steal if he can return to prior form.

Marcell Ateman was easily Oakland's second-best pick, as he was a third-round prospect on our board. A good athlete on film who struggled at the combine, Ateman uses his 6-foot-4.5 frame well and is a natural pass catcher but needs to improve his route breaks to hit his ceiling.

The Raiders also had an underwhelming haul in free agency, but Jason Cabinda was productive at Penn State and has good enough size and speed to be a solid backup and special teamer. Chris Warren III could stick on the practice squad and become a potential short-yardage runner down the line.

Analysis: It's hard to put a positive spin on the Raiders' draft despite the long-term upside their picks have. Their first three picks were reaches, and Key is the definition of a boom-or-bust prospect. Stealing Hurst in the fifth was a great move, but if his career is cut short or never gets off the ground due to his condition, this draft will look even worse in hindsight. As it is, they will see very minimal early impact from this class. Grade: D+