Raiders 2021 mock draft: Reshaping the defense in Vegas

Jon Gruden, Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Jon Gruden, Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Las Vegas Raiders, Mike Mayock
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – FEBRUARY 25: General Manager Mike Mayock of the Las Vegas Raiders interviews during the first day of the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 25, 2020, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

After another late-season collapse in 2020, the Silver and Black made an important change thereafter. Gus Bradley has replaced Paul Guenther as defensive coordinator, the former leading a historically bad defense.

As you might guess, the defense should be the focus at April’s NFL draft as the Raiders have several deficiencies to overcome. There are promising players in place already such as cornerback Trayvon Mullen and defensive ends, Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell.

Their linebacker group is an interesting group. Nick Kwiatkoski held down the middle as the new leader of this defense. Unfortunately, Cory Littleton struggled mightily, but the hope is he can turn it around under Bradley.

The secondary is the real concern for Las Vegas, the pass defense in 2020 was truly horrid. Giving up 4,212 yards via the air and surrendering 28 passing touchdowns won’t get you far. Opposing quarterbacks had an average pass rating of 95.3 last year versus this unit. Luckily, not all is lost considering the new defensive coaching staff and potential player selections.

This upcoming class of safeties and cornerbacks could provide some relief. Other than Johnathan Abram, no other safety should be on this roster next year. Mullen shied last season but Damon Arnette’s anything but solidified as the number-two cornerback.

Also, the team could potentially have some huge holes along their offensive line. The reason is due to the possible departure of an underwhelming tackle in Trent Brown. Also, veteran guard Richie Incognito’s status has yet to be determined by Raiders brass.

Luckily for the Silver and Black, they can address these needs often and early in this upcoming draft. Let’s take at one plausible scenario.