Our first big college football game of the season happened on Thursday night as Ohio State took down Minnesota. That game featured multiple NFL draft prospects, including two receivers that could easily wind up being first-round picks next April.
While the NFL season hasn’t even started yet, that hasn’t prevented people from looking ahead to who may draft where next year.
In a recent article by ESPN, they projected the 2022 draft order before this season kicks off. They have the Raiders sitting at No. 7 with a projected record of 7-10. What is more notable is that the site’s model gave the Raiders a 23.2 percent chance of earning a top-five pick.
The last time the Raiders had a top-five pick was in 2019 when they selected Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 pick. They went 4-12 during the 2018 season, which was Jon Gruden’s first year with the team. Heading into Year 4, the expectation around the building and city is that this team should and needs to make the playoffs.
One of the biggest reasons why ESPN is down on the Raiders and their chances this season is due to their defense. According to their data, the Raiders allowed a QBR of 73.6 in zone coverage last season, which was last in the NFL. The team did make some moves to address that weakness this offseason, but it could still be a problem.
If the Raiders do wind up with a top-five pick next season, you will see some big changes on the field and to the front office in 2022. Let’s hope the Raiders surprise and shock ESPN and the rest of the national media this season.
But if the Raiders do have an offseason, here are a few names to keep an eye on during the 2021 College Football season, courtesy of Mel Kiper Jr’s big board:
1. DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
2. QB Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
3. CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
4. OT Evan Neal, Alabama
5. FS Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame
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