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Will Paul Guenther make the Raiders pass on Roquan Smith?

The Raiders will select in the top 10 of the 2018. With an offense loaded with talent, the likely scenario is for the Raiders to go defensive.

It was the strategy last season with cornerback Gareon Conley and safety Obi Melifonwu going in the first two rounds to the Raiders.

Jon Gruden may shakedown the roster, but more than likely the Raiders will still have more capital invested in the offense than the defense.

Mel Kiper of ESPN has the Raiders selecting Roquan Smith in the first round. Smith was named the Butkus Award winner for being college football’s best linebacker in 2017.

In his junior season at Georgia, Smith posted 137 tackles, 14 for loss, and 6.5 sacks before leaving early for the NFL draft.

With Smith the Raiders could get the best linebacker in the draft, but new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther may not be looking for a linebacker early on.

“I was a linebackers coach and I was always one to defer in the draft,” Guenther said. “If we had a better corner or rusher to take one of those two before the linebacker. We made a living in Cincinnati of getting guys as free agents, guys who were maybe former safeties, small-school guys.”

While Guenther’s ability to create linebacker talent from surprising places will help the Raiders, it may mean passing on one of the best talents in the draft.

If the Raiders do bypass the linebacker spot early on, here are some names to watch for their first round pick.

Defensive Backs

  • FS Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama)
  • SS Derwin James (Florida State)
  • CB Josh Jackson (Iowa)
  • CB Denzel Ward (Ohio State)

Defensive Lineman

  • DT Vita Vea (Washington)
  • DT Da’Ron Payne (Alabama)
  • DE Marcus Davenport (UTSA)
  • DE Bradley Chubb (NC State)
  • DE Arden Key (LSU)

Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.