Raiders Draft: Did Rest Of AFC West Outperform Las Vegas In 1st Round?

2021’s NFL draft is in the books after months of preparation and sleep depravation. Now we can start to look at how the Las Vegas Raiders performed compared to their divisional foes.

To say this was a typical first round for the Raiders would be an understatement. For the last three years, the team’s fan base tends to react in bewilderment during the first round. When Jon Gruden returned and made Kolton Miller his first pick back, Raider Nation insisted that Derwin James should’ve been selected. Last year, the Raiders’ had three first-round choices, many were hoping the team would nail those selections. Instead, it looks like two of them were reaches.

This year, the Raiders addressed a need by drafting Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood at 17. To say the reaction was negative would be putting it lightly. Question is, how did Las Vegas perform compared to their divisional rivals in a crucial first round?


Did the rest of the West have better first rounds than Las Vegas?

The top team in the division and Super Bowl runner-ups, Kansas City Chiefs, didn’t have a first-round selection this year. The other two teams in the West addressed critical deficiencies. The Los Angeles Chargers have been busy this offseason rebuilding their offensive line trying to protect Justin Herbert these coming years. They decided that Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater was their pick, it caught many by surprise that he fell that far in the first round.

In Slater, the Bolts are getting a 2019 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten, though he might be a better fit in the interior. He faced elite defenders in college such as Ohio State’s Chase Young so he should figure to be a mainstay in Los Angeles for the coming years.

The Denver Broncos surprised some folks by passing on a quarterback with Justin Fields available. Instead, they opted to draft arguably the best cornerback in this class by way of Alabama, Patrick Surtain II. Nothing wrong with picking up Surtain even though the Broncos do need a quarterback. Adding a cornerback to Vic Fangio’s defense is more indicative that the team might be gunning for Aaron Rodgers. If this is the case, the Raiders are in trouble having both Patrick Mahomes, Rodgers, and Herbert in the same division.

Outlook on this first-round haul for the Raiders

We can argue that the Raiders drafted for need but the pick itself was puzzling to some. Even more when you consider Leatherwood isn’t technically a right tackle. Christian Darrisaw, who played the position in college, was passed over for Leatherwood, even Teven Jenkins was available.

Nevertheless, the Raiders lucked out by not having to face Fields for the next decade so that is one positive. Albeit will the team’s new defensive line be able to mount a pass rush against a stacked Chargers offensive line? All in all, the Silver and Black broke even in the first round when compared to the rest of the division. This may not have been the best outcome but it was not the worst either. Time will tell if Leatherwood becomes a solid right tackle and if Fields turns into a franchise quarterback elsewhere.

You May Also Like: Raiders Add Pass-Rush Help, Draft Malcolm Koonce 79th Overall

*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal

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Mario Tovar, people like you, do realize that far more players become busts because of being drafted out of scheme than lack of talent, right??? You can have all the talent, but if you don’t play in a scheme that plays to your strengths, and masks your weaknesses, you’re highly unlikely to succeed, even before you ever step foot on a football field. Generational talents that can play in any scheme, and can still do whatever they are asked to do, are extremely rare, hence why they are called “generational” to begin with. Mayock has been drafting for scheme fit,… Read more »


To the guy that is talking about scheme fit my name is t-diddy…I hit the reply prompt but didn’t take so since they don’t post our names to each other we might as well introduce ourselves…..I am a RAIDERS fan who happens to see gruden and mayocks vision…seems like you are as well….our boys Mario and his mentally challenged brother Carlos dont! ….we don’t want to trade for a quarterback who is demanding a trade from his team we are RAIDERS nation and want to win with the dude who always wanted to be a RAIDER…Derek carr…and brother we will.… Read more »


Why is it that any team who drafts who they want it’s grade A. We do it and it’s a reach. The chiefs got their asses handed to them by a not athletic pocket QB and as kicking D. So they fix their Oline and boom they’re 3rd in the new power rankings which I don’t get since football isn’t played on paper. We get good players who fit our team and we get a C or D.