Raiders have significant holes to fill as they select fourth in the upcoming NFL Draft


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Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders have the 4th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. After a 12-4 record in 2016, the Raiders have quickly plummeted to six wins in 2017 and four wins last season. They were 28th in scoring at 18.1 points per game and last in points allowed at 29.2 points per game. Clearly there are plenty of areas that improvement, including running back, tight end, linebacker and defensive end. Here are some potential picks for the Raiders.

Nick Bosa DE (Ohio State)

Bosa comes from a football pedigree as he father John was the first round pick of the Dolphins in 1986 and his brother Joey was the third overall pick for the LA Chargers in 2016. Bosa was solid during his freshman season, recording five sacks and 29 tackles. His play improved to a stellar level in 2017 season when he had eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss, even though he started only a handful of the team's 14 games. On his way to a possible Heisman Trophy season last year, Bosa's season was cut short due to a core muscle in jury in the third game of the season. During his brief time on the field in 2018, Bosa had four sacks and a forced fumble.

Bosa clearly has the intensity, desire, muscular frame to play in the NFL. He also has significant power to push through the offensive line on both running and passing plays. On the down side, Bosa isn't the smoothest at movements in open space, which could hinder his pass rushing abilities at the next level. It's hard to not envision Bosa as an NFL starter and potential star player at some point.

Josh Jacobs RB (Alabama)

Jacobs might not have put up the big numbers that some prospects have, but it's only because Alabama was load with talent at the running back position. In 2016, Jacobs rushed for 567 while averaging nearly seven yards per carry. After being hampered with an injury early in 2017, Jacobs contributed over 500 total yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. Last season, Jacobs had over 1300 yards combined rushing, receiving and returning, scoring 14 touchdowns.

Jacobs features the physical size and skills that NFL scouts look for in an every down running back. He has a great burst to get through a line with good field vision. Jacobs has also proven to be effective out of the back field as a pass catcher. With excellent ability to cut, Jacobs has a shot to be a lead back in the NFL.

Montez Sweat DE (Mississippi State)

Sweat played in two games for Michigan State in 2014 and two the following season before a suspension. In 2016, Sweat played for junior college Copiah-Lincoln, where he recorded five sacks. Back on the big stage at Mississippi State in 2017, Sweat laed the SEC with 10.5 sacks, while recording 48 tackles. In his second second All-SEC team season in 2018, Sweat had a team high 11.5 sacks.

Sweat has some ability, but will need time to grow and succeed at the NFL level. He is a raw talent that needs work on his pass rushing technique and overall strength. Given time, Sweat should develop into a quality NFL starter.

Devin White - LB (LSU)

White was a a two way force in high school and played in all 12 games as a freshman for LSU, recording 30 tackles. He blossomed into a start in 2017 when he recorded a conference leading 133 tackles and 4.5 sacks. In addition, White earned the Butkus Award for top linebacker in the nation. Last season, he lead LSU with 123 tackles, with six passes defenses, three forced fumbles and three sacks.

White showed quick improvement in his transition from running back to linebacker. A hard-worker, White needs to get better on handling blocks and sometimes seems out of control on the field. However, he shows the desire and top notch speed to develop into an NFL starter in likely his first or second year in the NFL.

{{playerID-602|Josh Allen}} - OLB (Kentucky)

Allen put up modest numbers as a back up in 2015 but burst through in his sophomore season, leading the team with seven sacks and four forced fumbles. Allen once again lead the team in sacks in 2017, with seven, to go along with two forced fumbles and 65 tackles. A first team All-SEC team pick last season, Allen was second in the country in sacks with 17.

Allen possesses the physical ability to cover tight ends and also rush the passer. He already has some NFL caliber pass rushing moves and will diversify his pass rushing attack over time. Allen isn't always as physical as he needs to be off the ball. However, it's clear that Allen will have some value in a defense that uses a four linebacker set.

Josh Oliver - TE (San Jose State)
As a freshman in 2015, Oliver started four games, catching four passes for 36 yards. He showed little in 2016 as a receiver, but started in the majority of the 12 games played. Oliver became a significant threat in 2017, catching 35 passes and hauled in 56 as a senior for 709 yards. Oliver was recognized for his season being named to the All-Mountain West Conference team.

Oliver shows the ability to run crisp routes and adds good hands and concentration to make tough catches downfield. While he showed the ability to block in the running game in college, Oliver could be more of a slot receiver in the NFL while he works on his blocking techniques on the line.

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