After a 1-3 start, the Las Vegas Raiders are already being slated as a team in the top 10 for next year’s NFL Draft. The fact is, there are some glaring issues with this roster. When you consider what general manager Dave Ziegler accomplished without a first and second round choice, next April could be special.
The question then becomes, which route should the Raiders go? The team could realistically target an offensive lineman in the first round. Then again, the defensive line could also use reinforcements. Even more specifically, which part of the group deserves more attention? Let’s take a look at three possible early scenarios in the first round for the Raiders next April.
Raiders Mock Draft 2023: Who should Dave Ziegler target?
Raiders Mock Draft – Scenario No. 1 – Jared Verse, Florida State, EDGE
Jared Verse is a versatile defensive end with the physical attributes that could transition well into the NFL. He currently stands at six-foot-four, 247 pounds and is in his first year at Florida State after entering the transfer portal. Interestingly enough, Verse originally received zero scholarship offers from any programs. However, he put on 40 pounds after the COVID-19 shutdown, only to win the CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year award during the 2021 season. According to Pro Football Focus, Verse has earned an 89.8 pass-rushing grade this season, just five weeks into it. He has recorded 6.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks, clearly a well-deserved grade. The Raiders desperately need to get Maxx Crosby more help. With Chandler Jones failing to live up to expectations, drafting a pass rusher makes too much sense.
Raiders Mock Draft – Scenario No. 2 – Olu Fashanu, Penn State, OT
The Raiders still need a long-term answer at tackle. Kolton Miller has the left side held down for the foreseeable future. Seventh-round pick Thayer Munford has impressed when he’s seen action at right tackle. It might be a bit soon to crown him as the future right tackle less than five weeks into the season. On the other hand, Penn State’s Olu Fashanu could be the answer. According to PFF, Olu has only allowed six hurries on 176 pass-blocking snaps. The result of that effort? Well, it’s an 87.8 percent pass-blocking grade. You can never have too many quality O-linemen. The keyword there is quality. Maybe the Raiders can have Munford and Fashanu duke it out at right tackle at next year’s training camp.
Raiders Mock Draft – Scenario No. 3 – Michael Mayer, Notre Dame, TE
The Raiders could end up being in the market for a tight end next year. Foster Moreau should be a starter; it just won’t be with the Silver and Black after this season. He’ll likely be a luxury that Ziegler passes on despite Moreau’s many attributes. You also have this whole ordeal with Darren Waller. Something’s off with the recently paid Pro Bowl tight end. Perhaps drafting Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer can both push Waller and give Josh McDaniels another two-headed monster at tight end. As of today, Mayer is second in the country with 22 catches through five weeks of college football. In addition, PFF recently mentioned that Mayer has made six tough catches off of nine targets in what they consider “contested situations.” Mayer also averages 11.3 yards per reception for his career, he’d fit right in with McDaniels’ system.
*Top Photo: Saturday Source