The 2021 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror for the Las Vegas Raiders. Despite having an offensive head coach in Jon Gruden, the team largely ignored the offense in the draft. The team took an offensive lineman in the first round and the seventh round. Other than those two picks, the rest of the draft was focused on helping the defense.
With the draft wrapped up, the Raiders can start focusing on bringing in undrafted free agents. It appears this will give Gruden the chance to add some possible playmakers. According to Justin M of The Draft Network, Las Vegas is signing former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dillon Stoner.
— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) May 1, 2021
This is an interesting pickup for the Raiders as Stoner was a productive player in college. He spent five years in school and accumulated over 500 receiving yards in four of those years. Oklahoma State has a great football program so the fact that he was so productive for them should excite the silver and black.
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Analysis of Stoner
As an undrafted free agent, Stoner has an uphill battle trying to make the roster. Last year, the Raiders didn’t have any undrafted rookie wide receivers make the roster. However, they have in the past. Rico Gafford spent a couple of years with the team after going undrafted and Keelan Doss is still with the team. Stoner will certainly have a real chance at trying to make the team. According to Oliver Hodgkinson of Pro Football Network, Stoner’s reliability will make him an appealing player to hand a roster spot to.
“Stoner is a reliable wideout who makes plays with football intellect and dependable hands,” Hodgkinson wrote. “He’s a natural pass catcher with enough skill to make a roster as a fifth receiver.”
Stoner isn’t much of an athlete or a vertical threat but he’s a solid pass catcher. He could end up being a training camp surprise for the Raiders.
Mike Mayock Doesn’t Care About Critics
It wouldn’t be the NFL Draft if the Raiders cause some controversy. The team has been accused of reaching in the first round in each of the last four drafts. This year, former Alabama offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood was selected in the first round despite being predicted to go in the second round. At this point, it’s clear the Raiders aren’t concerned with how other teams might value players. General manager Mike Mayock had a chance to sound off.
“I knew everyone was going to criticize the Leatherwood pick and I didn’t really care,” Mayock said on NFL Network. “We feel he’s a plug-and-play player.”
The Raiders have taken quite a beating for some of their recent draft picks. Despite that, Mayock hasn’t adjusted his processes. So far, the reaches haven’t really paid off for the team. Hopefully, Leatherwood will be able to buck the trend of the Raiders’ first-round picks struggling.
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