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Raiders Earn an ‘B’ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a very good grade is that of the Raiders, who according to Kiper got an ‘B’ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

Two things are pretty clear to me in looking at this Raiders draft: they know that if they don’t protect Derek Carr they’re in trouble, and they’re willing to bet that new coach Jon Gruden and his staff can develop some high-ceiling talent that also comes with risk. The Raiders moved down in Round 1 and landed Kolton Miller (pick 15), who reminds me of former Patriot and newly-minted Giants left tackle Nate Solder. This is a great athlete with a huge frame who projects as a good NFL left tackle if you maximize the talent. There’s no guarantee. Third-round pick Brandon Parker (65) is the same in that he’s got the frame, but new O-line coach Tom Cable has his work cut out for him. Protect Carr and you’re competitive, and with Donald Penn now 35, it’s clear that’s the objective.

Arden Key (87) has legit top-10 talent but off-field concerns that had him available late in Round 3. If Gruden and staff can keep Key focused, this could be a home-run pick … but the risk is clear. Maurice Hurst (140) was off the boards of some teams because of a medical condition that arose at the combine. Again, this is a first-round talent at defensive tackle. I like the Raiders’ willingness to place some bets. But I also just listed four players that all come with varying degrees of risk.

Elsewhere, Nick Nelson (110) has a shot to help a secondary that needs bodies, and Johnny Townsend (173), my top-ranked punter, should fill in capably for the departed Marquette King. At the end of the day, this draft might be defined by what Cable is able to do. And if Key is solid off the field, watch out. High risk, high reward.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/15 Kolton Miller OT UCLA
2/57 P.J. Hall DT SAM HOUSTON STATE
3/65 Brandon Parker OT NORTH CAROLINA A&T
3/87 Arden Key DE LSU
4/110 Nick Nelson CB WISCONSIN
5/140 Maurice Hurst DT MICHIGAN
5/173 Johnny Townsend P FLORIDA
6/216 Azeem Victor ILB WASHINGTON
7/228 Marcell Ateman WR OKLAHOMA STATE


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