The Renaissance Raiders have the 44th overall pick, the 13th selection of round 2.
With the 14th overall pick in round 1, Oakland took defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, addressing their need for an interior pass rusher. Now they have to decide whether running back Jordan Howard is a bigger improvement than an interior linebacker like Scooby Wright III or Su’a Cravens.
And whether or not a hybrid safety/linebacker like Cravens is something they desire.
The Raiders had someone they tried to use as a hybrid with Taylor Mays in 2015, though to a much lesser extent. Running a true hybrid would allow them to play with Reggie Nelson as a singly high safety — allowing a guy like Cravens to play zone against different areas of the field.
Wright — an interior linebacker who thrives in coverage but is questionable against the run — could be available when the Raiders pick in round 2. He’s highly athletic, but the Raiders have a guy like him in Malcolm Smith.
Why is Wright a true upgrade?
His youth and raw features make him moldable, and there’s a chance he could develop very nicely into the right scheme.
But that’s where it ends.
West Virginia safeties Karl Joseph and K.J. Dillon are day two candidates who possess solid skills and athleticism. While Joseph is the higher profile player of the two, Dillon jumps out everywhere.
If Joseph is available at the 44th pick, the Raiders are certain to jump. He’s too good to pass up, and fits their needs well. That’s an unlikely scenario.
There is a receiver, though, who is likely to possess first round potential, but also fall to the second round.
Final round 2 prediction
Sterling Shepard — a first round talent that falls because of size — is the Raiders pick. They’re all too happy that such an elite receiver has taken the plunge into their laps, and the selection alleviates pressures everywhere else on the offense.
His speed, athleticism and adjustment traits make him an immediate starting receiver in the slot, where he projects to switch out with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree whenever a favorable matchup is there for the taking.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Raiders football.