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Thursday, April 17, 2014
Analyzing Kiper Mock 4.0: Raiders

By Paul Gutierrez

In Mel Kiper’s first three mock drafts -- not counting his "Grade A" mock, in which he played the part of general manager for all 32 teams and made his best thought-out selections -- he stayed on the offensive side of the ball for the Oakland Raiders, who hold the No. 5 overall pick.

Kiper predicted the Raiders would go with Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins in each of his first two mocks, then had Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater going to Oakland in his third mock. (Kiper selected Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson for the Raiders in his Grade A mock.)

So where does Kiper see Oakland going in his Mock 4.0?

Kiper has the Raiders getting defensive this time, selecting Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack with their first pick, with Robinson and Watkins going in the top three and Bridgewater dropping all the way to the top of the second round.

The way Kiper sees it, the Raiders' signing of Matt Schaub greatly diminished their need to draft an NFL-ready QB and allows them to “take the best player available” when their time comes.

It makes sense, especially since Oakland expects Schaub to be its franchise quarterback for at least two years, enough time for a “project” to learn at his knee and give the Raiders the luxury of picking the ubiquitous best player available.

“Mack gives the Raiders a needed pass-rusher,” Kiper wrote, “even though they’ve already spent some money on the position in free agency, adding LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck.”

Plus, Mack would serve as one of the building blocks Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is fond of speaking of when talking about his team’s future.

Then again, if a true difference-maker is not available at No. 5, the Raiders could and should consider trading down to secure additional picks (they are missing selections in the fifth and sixth rounds due to the trades for Matt Flynn last year and Schaub last month).

Kiper took this mock draft into the second round and saw the Raiders staying on the defensive side of the ball, taking Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan at No. 36.

“In terms of his ceiling,” Kiper wrote, “he’s a really good value at this stage.”