Las Vegas Raiders: 2021 NFL Draft redo actually gets best values

2021 NFL draft. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
2021 NFL draft. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Las Vegas Raiders
Christian Darrisaw, 2021 NFL Draft. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Las Vegas Raiders were panned for how they navigated the 2021 NFL Draft but, if they had a redo, there was plenty of value for them to find. 

The Las Vegas Raiders, unlike the last few years, didn’t have multiple first-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. Thus, the expectations were high for what the Jon Gruden-Mike Mayock regime would do in the draft to try and get the roster to a playoff-caliber one. That was especially true after an offseason in which the silver and black tried to change course on the fly, overhauling the offensive line and throwing money at the defense.

Suffice it to say that the reaction to what the Raiders did in the draft hasn’t been favorable. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports gave them a D grade for the class while was only slightly kinder by giving them a C. There were too many spots where they seemingly reached or made a head-scratching selection.

Because of that, we’re going to give them a redo, at least in theory. If the Las Vegas Raiders had the chance to attack the 2021 NFL Draft with hindsight in their favor, this would be a much better result for the franchise.

Round 1, Pick 17: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech

Actual Pick: Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

It’s become an unfortunate annual tradition for Raiders fans to witness. Gruden and Mayock have routinely made egregious reaches in the first round of the draft and this was no exception. Most analysts had Alex Leatherwood graded as a surefire second-round pick and he would’ve been a great selection at that spot.

But taking the Alabama prospect at No. 17 was way too much. Yes, the Raiders need an immediate starter at right tackle and Leatherwood has a load of experience. Moreover, he also had time playing guard, which gives him some positional versatility. But the fact of the matter is that Las Vegas took a Round 2 player in the middle of the first round when there were numerous better players at the position still available.

The best among those players was Christian Darrisaw, the ultra-athletic and freakishly built tackle out of Virginia Tech.

There are some questions about Darrisaw’s motor as his tape was a bit inconsistent in that regard. Having said that, he checks all of the boxes to be a high-quality tackle at the NFL level as it pertains to his movement, strength, build and length. He can not only be just as good as Leatherwood right away but has much more potential moving forward.