Alabama Linebacker Reggie Ragland is the perfect fit for the Oakland Raiders
Like the New Orleans Saints, the Raiders have a promising offense with lots of needs to address on the defensive unit heading into the 2016 offseason. Also like the New Orleans Saints, I had a hard time passing on Ole Miss Wide Receiver Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell paired alongside breakout star Amari Cooper would make the Oakland offense that much more formidable.
However, like I hope the Saints brass is able to do, I passed on Treadwell to address glaring needs on the other side of the ball. The Oakland Raiders had to fill an entire linebacking corp as well as address parts of the secondary and defensive line. With the re-signing of Aldon Smith and the acquisition of fellow outside linebacker Bruce Irvin, formerly of Seattle, the inside linebacker position still needed to be addressed.
Yes, the Raiders could also use help at Safety with Charles Woodson retiring, and yes, they could also use help on the defensive line with Justin Tuck following Woodson in retirement. It is important to remember that this draft class is very deep at Defensive Tackle, but I did consider Ragland's Crimson Tide teammate in A'Shawn Robinson. Robinson and Treadwell were never really legitimate options, though; the only other player I honestly debated back and forth on was Florida Cornerback Vernon Hargraves III.
Many pundits have Hargraves as a potential Top 10 pick. To me, though, the drop-off between Hargraves and other standout Cornerbacks (like Ohio State's Eli Apple, Clemson's Mackensie Alexander, and so-on) is not nearly as steep as it is at Inside Linebacker between Ragland and the next best ILB group (like Missouri's Kentrell Brothers).
CBS Sports ranks Ragland as the 15th best overall prospect heading into the 2016 NFL Draft, so picking him at 14 might technically be a reach (if you can call a one-spot difference "a reach"), but he is too good a fit to pass up. Inside Linebacker is one of the more important roles on defense, and it's better to grab Ragland here and "settle" with a player in the deep Cornerback or Defensive Tackle positions in later rounds than vise-versa.
On Ragland, NFL.com says he is a:
...[t]humping inside linebacker with throwback size and tonesetting mentality. Ragland is a confident and capable early starter in league who has the temperament to become one of the premier run-stopping inside linebackers in the pro game. Ragland has some coverage and speed limitations, but his instincts and overall awareness should be able to mask those issues.
Thanks to all the CSC members who participated in this year's community mock draft. Without your help, none of this would be possible.
Below are the complete results from our community mock draft.
Catch up with all of the mock draft selections in our 2016 CSC Community Mock Draft Hub.
||Selection||Team Representative||Approval Rating|
|1||Tennessee||Leremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss||Chris Dunnells||74%|
|2||Cleveland||Jared Goff, QB, California||quickdrawdoc||44%|
|3||San Diego||Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
|4||Dallas||DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon||Tee Word||52%|
|5||Jacksonville||Myles Jack, LB, UCLA||SxSnts9||73%|
|6||Baltimore||Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida||Lostastic||64%|
|7||San Francisco||Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota St.||BlackandGold4ever||58%|
|8||Philadelphia||Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State||ukesilence||64%|
|9||Tampa Bay||Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State||RyanAb9||85%|
|10||New York Giants||Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan St.||Johnny BeGood||38%|
|11||Chicago||Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson||NOLASaintsBeast||63%|
|12||New Orleans||Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville||Dave Cariello||69%|
|13||Miami||Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame||saintmanumit|
|14||Oakland||Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama||Chris Dunnells|
|15||Los Angeles Rams||quickdrawdoc|
|20||New York Jets||RyanAb9|
|27||Green Bay||Johnny BeGood|
|29||New England (Forfeited)||Forfeited pick||---------||--------|