Mel Kiper's First Round Projection for Raiders Would Be a Draft Steal

Zach Brunner
C.J. Henderson falling to the Raiders would be a steal.
C.J. Henderson falling to the Raiders would be a steal. / Ed Zurga/Getty Images

As news comes out that the 2020 NFL Draft will go on as planned, the draft coverage continues to pick up. ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released the third edition of his mock draft this week, projecting the entire first round, which is still set to take place on April 23.

The Las Vegas Raiders' first pick comes at 12th overall, and Raiders faith must be excited by what Kiper has projected for them at this spot, as drafting cornerback C.J. Henderson would be a steal at a position of need.

This Raiders' defense was absolutely ripped against the pass last season. They were the third-worst in the league in Football Outsiders' pass defense metric. The Raiders also gave up 8.3 yards per passing attempt, which was tied for the worst in the NFL.

The majority of the Raiders' free agency spending has come on the defensive side of the ball. They spent big money on signing Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski to be a strong linebacking duo. They also signed defensive end Carl Nassib, who should assist the pass defense by generating a pass rush. And while they did sign cornerback Eli Apple, the secondary is still a work in progress.

Henderson can be the player this Raiders defense needs. He is the second-ranked corner in the draft, according to Kiper, after running a 4.39 40 time at the NFL Combine. With a 6-foot-1-inch frame, he has the length and skills to compete for the ball with any receiver. He is also a capable tackler, as long as the effort is there.

The fact that Henderson is leaking out of the top 10 picks seems like a crime, but it speaks to the talent available in this draft. If the Raiders see him on the board at No. 12, it would be tough for them to pass up on a great player to add to their secondary.

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