After the Davante Adams trade, the Las Vegas Raiders did not make any picks until the third round. Nevertheless, they got a decent haul. Let’s take a look at which picks are most likely to start right away.
Which Raiders rookies will start right out of the gate?
Dylan Parham, Guard
As the Raiders’ first pick, one would expect Parham to compete for a spot right away. His competition is not that stiff either. John Simpson struggled in his first year as a full-time starter. Denzelle Good should be back from his ACL injury last year, but 31-year-old, 300-pound offensive linemen don’t typically recover from that injury the same way 24-year-old running backs and receivers do. There’s also the possibility of Alex Leatherwood moving back inside, again, but that could also coincide with Good moving outside.
Parham likely has to beat out either Good or Simpson. He definitely has the talent to do that. Parham’s Memphis tape was quite impressive, and he was generally considered a steal when he was selected in the third round. He should be able to supplant Simpson right away, unless the Clemson product makes significant strides. Good was a quality player before his injury, but he is a total question mark right now. Expect to see Parham in the starting lineup for Week 1.
Neil Farrell Jr./Mathew Butler, Defensive Tackles
A lot of folks scratched their heads when the Raiders took interior defensive linemen with two picks in a row. A closer look at the roster may reveal the answer. The only returning starter is Johnathan Hankins, and he is far from an every-down player. New additions Bilal Nichols and Tyler Lancaster should contribute, but neither is guaranteed a starting spot.
With how often defensive linemen rotate, it is hard to define what exactly a starter is. It is not uncommon for a team to have three players who play more than 30 percent of the defensive snaps. The Raiders will likely need at least one of their rookies to step into one of those roles. Farrell and Butler are grouped together because, at this point, it could go either way with them. Farrell would seemingly get the edge since he was drafted higher. However, Butler is considered to be a sleeper and was the more productive of the two in their respective final collegiate seasons.
The one possibility that could keep these two from seeing the field as much would be a late free agent acquisition. At this point, we’ve all heard the Ndamukong Suh rumors. That would certainly throw a wrench into things. Unless that happens, we should expect either Farrell or Butler to be a de facto starter and the other to contribute in the rotation.
Thayer Munford Jr., Offensive Tackle
Most seventh-round picks have little to no chance of starting their rookie year, if ever. Honestly, Munford isn’t even supremely talented for a guy picked at the back end of the draft. By now, most people have seen the clip of him getting put on the ground by Aidan Hutchinson. None of that matters here.
Munford has the chance to start almost by default. Currently, the front runner for the starting right tackle job is Alex Leatherwood. Last year, Leatherwood started the season there, but was so bad that he was moved inside and replaced by Brandon Parker, who is also in the running for the job. Parker is, at best, a replacement-level tackle. Unless one of those two suddenly morphs into an average tackle, the bar is set pretty low. Munford was a starter at a big-time program. It would not be a huge stretch if he were to emerge from training camp as a starter.
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