Let’s take a closer look at who the draft experts have the Silver and Black selecting:
Expert | Matt Miller
Breakdown: The hire of Jon Gruden might have fans thinking Oakland will go offense early in the draft, but the Raiders have massive holes on defense that must be addressed. One glaring hole is at linebacker—which is why Georgia’s Roquan Smith makes a ton of sense at No. 10 overall.
Smith is a rangy, fast, smart linebacker with the tools to drop into coverage in the middle of the field or go after the run on plays outside the hashes. Yes, there are times he gets bogged down by blockers in the run game, but with an NFL defensive line in front of him keeping his jersey clean and improved strength training, Smith can and will improve there.
What should excite Raiders fans is that Smith and the development of the young secondary will hopefully mean a team that’s struggled with pass defense in the past will take a big step forward in 2018.
Expert | Chris Trapasso
Breakdown: Jon Gruden will love Smith. He’s got too, right? Not Derrick Brooks exactly. Similar traits… particularly the speed element. Oakland’s defense is in dire need of an impactful off-ball linebacker.
Expert | R.J. White
Breakdown: The Raiders must go to work improving all three levels of their defense, Khalil Mack can’t do it alone. Smith has excellent power and speed at the linebacker position and should be a force as a three-down linebacker for this unit for years to come.
Expert | Mel Kiper Jr.
Breakdown: This match makes too much sense, so I’m sticking with it. Smith could be the centerpiece of Jon Gruden’s defense, playing inside linebacker. He had 137 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks last season, and he was a force in the College Football Playoff, making plays from sideline to sideline.
Expert | Todd McShay
Breakdown: The Oakland defense gave up 5.6 yards per play last season (27th), so help…