The 2019 NFL Draft is a long ways off, but we already know the Oakland Raiders will be the team that dictates how much of day one goes. They are a strong bet to end up with No. 1 overall pick, but even if they manage a win or two and slip out of the top spot, they hold three first round picks thanks to their trades of Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears and Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys.
For the time being they hold the No. 1 spot, and they seem bad enough to stick in that spot through the rest of the season. The San Francisco 49ers have a couple winnable games remaining on their schedule, but they hold the No. 2 pick for the time being. If the top two holds, we will be avidly interested in what the Raiders have planned up top.
The Raiders need a ton of help on defense, but what if they decide Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is the best option available? They currently have Derek Carr as their starting quarterback, but there is speculation the team could decide to part ways after this season. You can even get odds at Bovada as to whether or not Carr will be Raiders starting quarterback Week 1 of the 2019 season (Yes: -180; No +140).
Pro Football Focus writer Mike Renner put together a mock draft for the Washington Post on Wednesday. He has the Raiders drafting Herbert, followed by the 49ers selecting Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa. In discussing Herbert, Renner raises the question of whether or not Jon Gruden will release Carr — and by selecting Herbert, he would appear to suggest that’s what will happen.
Here’s what he had to say about Bosa to the 49ers at No. 2:
Brother-to-brother comparisons don’t always work in player analysis, but Bosa is a very similar player to his brother Joey, a highly effective edge rusher for the Los Angeles Chargers (although he has missed the season so far with injuries). Nick Bosa is exceptional with his hands as both a run defender and as a pass rusher. He led all defensive linemen in pass-rush win rate both this year (31.4 percent) and last year (26.9 percent). The 49ers have invested a lot of high draft picks in their defensive line recently, but with Solomon Thomas underperforming, it’s still an issue.
Whether you think the 49ers should draft Bosa or another edge rusher (or cornerback, or whatever), if they end up a spot behind the Raiders it will be a particularly interesting run up to the draft. If the Giants end up at No. 1, it is safe to say they would draft a quarterback. But right now, the other six teams in the top seven have a quarterback in place. The Broncos at No. 8 and then potentially the Jaguars at No. 9 are the next teams who might look quarterback.
For now thought, the Raiders have a ton of flexibility. Other quarterbacks will end up going in the first round, but it’s tough to tell what the Raiders have planned at this point. If they do part ways with Carr, we should know well in advance of the 2019 NFL Draft. But until that happens, we’re left to guess what it might mean for the 49ers.