The Oakland Raiders lost two talented pass rushing defensive tackles in the offseason when Desmond Bryant signed with the Cleveland Browns and veteran Tommy Kelly chose to join the New England Patriots, and the Raiders could use an upgrade at DT. I’m jut not sure, though, that taking Louis Nix with the eighth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft is the best thing for this Raiders team. But that’s what FanSided.com’s Josh Sanchez thinks, and it’s actually a good pick. But at the same time, I would have gone in a different direction.
Each week, Sanchez does a mock draft on the FanSided main page, and his mocks are excellent and well-worth clicking above to read.
Louis Nix is a very talented player, but it’s difficult seeing him going in the top ten at this stage. He was absolutely amazing last season, but he turned in worse tape this year before going down with a season-ending injury. He’s still a mid-first-round pick and the best defensive tackle in this draft class, and the Raiders could use a DT like Nix. He can fit he 4-3 defense, but I think he’s better off being taken off the board by a team that runs the 3-4. In that scheme, he can really be the run-plugging nose tackle he was meant to be in the NFL, and Nix’s ability to push the pocket against the pass also helps.
But looking at the players left on the board, I think the Raiders should have taken Buffalo pass rusher Khalil Mack. Even though he’s a small-school prospect, Mack has an awful lot of talent and is a legitimate top ten pick. He’s a better prospect than Nix overall, and he would give the Raiders a great duo at DE with standout Lamarr Houston on the other side. It’s all about putting pressure on the quarterback, and that’s exactly what Mack can do and what the Raiders would be able to do at a high level with both Mack and Houston starting at defensive end.
Matt McCants has looked good at RT, but Taylor Lewan should still be in play for the Raiders. While they do have a great LT in Jared Veldheer and more depth than expected at tackle, Lewan might be too good to pass up on with the eighth pick. OTs are being held at a premium these days, and Lewan is a premium offensive tackle in this year’s draft class who would slot in very nicely at RT and form a terrific bookend with Veldheer.