Round 1, No. 4 overall: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
My take: The Raiders, who had a league-low 13 sacks last season and are looking for the next Khalil Mack, addressed a real and specific need in drafting the reigning Ted Hendricks Award winner in Ferrell. But they could have seemingly traded back, acquired another pick or two and still drafted him later. He is a nice player, though, with 27 career sacks, including 11.5 last season for the national champs at Clemson. Being considered a "high-character" guy, Ferrell seems to be a "foundation piece" for coach Jon Gruden and first-year general manager Mike Mayock. Before taking Ferrell, the Raiders had selected just one pass-rusher in the first round in the past 15 years -- yes, Mack in 2014.
Honor and discipline: Both of Ferrell's parents served in the military: father Cleavester Ferrell Sr., a first sergeant in the Army who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, and mother Faye, a staff sergeant who served in Operation Desert Storm and had previously been stationed in Germany, Korea and Japan.
Say what?: While many prospects use the combine to clear their name of alleged misconduct, Ferrell used it to tell people how to pronounce his name. His first name, specifically. It is pronounced "CLEE-lihn." Said Ferrell, in Indianapolis: "Not trying to be a [jerk], but I take a lot of pride in it."
NFL draft profile: Josh Jacobs
Josh Jacobs is a running back from Alabama who is a tough pass blocker with above average burst through the hole and strength to pick up yards after contact.
Round 1, No. 24 overall: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
My take: With Marshawn Lynch reportedly leaning toward retirement rather than suiting up one last season for his hometown team, running back became a sudden need. Yes, even with the free-agent signing of Isaiah Crowell. But general manager Mike Mayock said he was blown away by Jacobs at the college national championship game at nearby Levi's Stadium in January. Mayock cut up six plays featuring the Alabama product and shared them with Gruden and both agreed they had to draft Jacobs. At 5-feet-10, 220 pounds, he is a violent three-down runner (think mini-Beast Mode) who broke 17.1 percent of tackle attempts last season, second in FBS behind teammate Najee Harris (minimum 100 rushes) and who can also catch the ball out of the backfield (think Charlie Garner).
Not a lot of production: Though many see Jacobs' seeming lack of production in college -- the 640 yards he ran for last year were a career high, as were his 16 rushing TDs and 48 catches for 571 yards -- he sees himself as well-rested for the rigors of the NFL. After all, he was not highly recruited out of high school, either, with Wyoming his seeming destination. But after launching a social media campaign with clips of himself, the big schools took notice and he landed at Alabama.
A rough childhood: Jacobs spent a large portion of high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, moving from one apartment to another with his father, Marty, a single parent raising five kids. Things got so bad financially at one point that Jacobs and his father slept in the family car for several weeks. So in his first few months at Alabama, he slept on the floor in his dorm room even though he had a bed. But after years of sleeping on couches, motel floors and in the back seat of his father's maroon Chevy Suburban, he was more comfortable there.
NFL draft profile: Johnathan Abram
Johnathan Abram is a safety from Mississippi State that led the Bulldogs in tackles during his senior season.
Round 1, No. 27 overall: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
My take: The Raiders are undersized at safety with projected starters Karl Joseph and Lamarcus Joyner checking in at 5-foot-10, 205 pounds and 5-foot-8, 191 pounds, respectively. Abram, at a shade under 6-foot and 205 pounds gives size to the back of the secondary, even if, as a box safety, he is not a ball hawk. In two years at Mississippi State (he played his freshman season at Georgia), Abram had only two interceptions but five sacks. In fact, his 99 tackles led Mississippi State last season, and 17 of his 38 snaps as the primary defender came while lined up in the slot. His 38 percent pressure percentage was the highest in the FBS among players with at least 50 pass rushes.
A windy road: Abram started four of his 10 games as a true freshman at Georgia, but after Bulldogs coach Mark Richt was fired and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt left for Alabama, Abram transferred to Jones County Junior College, about an hour from his hometown of Columbia, Mississippi. After a year there, he went to Mississippi State.
A hard hitter: It was at Mississippi State where Abram gained his reputation as a hard hitter, if not a headhunter, with targeting penalties that cost him some playing time. Gruden said he wanted Abram to wear a number like 32 or 43, a tribute to old-school Raiders fans who know those digits were worn by hard-hitting Soul Patrol members Jack Tatum and George Atkinson. Off the field, Abram hit the books ... hard. He earned his degree in business and marketing, has an interest in engineering and has applied to some master's programs to earn his MBA.
NFL draft profile: Trayvon Mullen
Trayvon Mullen is a cornerback from Clemson who took home defensive MVP honors in the 2019 CFP National Championship.
Round 2, No. 40 overall: Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
My take: The Raiders needed a physical presence at cornerback and after Rock Ya-Sin was taken one slot ahead of the Raiders by the Colts at 34th overall, Oakland traded back to No. 38, then again to No. 40, where they found the defensive MVP of last season’s national championship game. All Mullen did for Clemson against Alabama was get six tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception. He will push both Gareon Conley and Daryl Worley for a starting job at cornerback. Oh, and three of the Raiders’ first four draft picks are defensive players. New Raiders general manager Mike Mayock joked at that title game that if he drafted all Alabama and Clemson players he would get high marks and well, No. 24 overall pick running back back Josh Jacobs played at Alabama. Having a first cousin already in the NFL in Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has given Mullen a primer on NFL life.
Round 4, No. 106 overall: Maxx Crosby, DE, Eastern Michigan
My take: Who said the Raiders were drafting nothing but Clemson, Alabama and SEC players? Crosby joins a rebuilding room of pass-rushers with Arden Key, Benson Mayowa, Josh Mauro and first-round pick Clelin Ferrell. Crosby had 20 sacks and 41.0 tackles for loss, both second in school history, in his college career.
Round 4, No. 129: Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston
My take: A converted receiver when he first arrived at Houston, the 6-f00t-2, 208-pound Johnson might also be turned into a safety by the Raiders, if he improves his physicality. In two seasons as a cornerback, Johnson had four interceptions and 18 pass breakups. He joins Stanford Routt and DJ Hayden in a growing line of Houston cornerbacks taken by the Raiders.
Round 4, No. 137 overall: Foster Moreau, TE, LSU
My take: After losing Jared Cook to the Saints in free agency, the Raiders kinda, sorta addressed a need at tight end with Moreau, who is more of a blocking tight end than a pass-catcher. The Raiders already have Darren Waller, Luke Willson, Lee Smith and Derek Carrier so is there room for a late fourth-round pick in that room? Moreau fits the leadership bill for Oakland as he wore LSU’s coveted No. 18 jersey, awarded to a player who “represents the epitome of an LSU football player on and off the field.”
Round 5, No. 149: Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson
My take: The Raiders had a need at slot receiver and the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Renfrow, who walked on at Clemson in 2014, seemingly addresses things going forward. He’s small, but he caught 186 passes for 2,133 yards and 15 touchdowns and is one of the most respected players in Clemson history. Oh, and he is the third Clemson player drafted by Oakland, along with defensive end Clelin Ferrell, the No. 4 overall pick, and cornerback Trayvon Mullen, No. 40 overall.
Round 7, No. 230 overall: Quinton Bell, DE, Prairie View A&M
My take: Sure, the Raiders could have used another edge-rusher, and seventh-round picks rarely make an immediate impact, but Bell only made the conversion from receiver to defensive end last season. And he did respond with 7.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. At 6-feet-4, 238 pounds, Bell is a project, albeit a highly athletic and intriguing one. Bell is only the second Prairie View player ever drafted by the Raiders, joining receiver Louis Neal, who was taken in the fifth round (No. 124 overall) in 1973.