The Las Vegas Raiders are vying for the top overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft after a disastrous 2-7 start to the season. It’s a personal opinion, but the Raiders will most likely draft in the 10-15 range. That’s opposed to picking in the 1-5 range, despite them proving to us that they aren’t the team we thought they could be. Put the rumors to rest, and let’s consider the Raiders’ potential plans for the second overall pick they currently hold in the draft.
Raiders Draft: Should Las Vegas address the defensive line?
The Raiders are currently ranked dead last in sacks with nine sacks in eight games. That’s a big reason why the Raiders’ defense has been lackluster. Chandler Jones was brought in to help Maxx Crosby anchor the d-line but hasn’t lived up to the hype. The Raiders’ defense has been subpar for years. That’s in part because they haven’t had a strong defensive tackle in a long time. Their defensive tackles have combined for exactly zero sacks this season. It’s fortunate for the Raiders that there are two outstanding prospects in this draft who can help them fix either issue.
Will Anderson, an edge rusher out of Alabama, is widely regarded as the top prospect in the draft. And for good reason: Anderson was an All-American in 2021 and has 32.5 sacks through two and a half college seasons. Anderson excels as a pass rusher because of his speed and length. Due to his bend, he is difficult for offensive tackles to block. Despite being “smaller,” he makes plays in the run game against offensive tackles and guards because of his athleticism.
Jalen Carter, a defensive tackle out of Georgia, is a potential candidate if the Raiders want to strengthen their interior defensive line. Carter’s numbers might not be spectacular, but his play is incredible. Carter’s ability to avoid being blocked by offensive linemen makes him the best run defender in college football. Even when offensive linemen try to block him, he simply outmuscles them. You’ll often see him making a play in the backfield. Although Carter’s pass-rushing statistics aren’t great, he does show some promise in that area. Because he possesses a rare combination of speed and power for someone his size, his bull rush has the potential to be exceptional.
Will Anderson, maybe the best player in the upcoming NFL Draft. Donâ€™t overthink him. pic.twitter.com/tzsdJAPGX1
— Jared Feinberg (@JRodNFLDraft) November 12, 2022
Reinforcements are needed in the secondary
Nate Hobbs is the only guaranteed secondary player to be kept by the Raiders going forward. Rock Ya-Sin has earned a spot, but his contract expires after this season, so his status with the Silver and Black is up in the air. The other cornerbacks have been a disappointment, and outside of Duron Harmon, the safeties have been underwhelming. Trevon Moehrig has performed poorly, and Jonathan Abram was recently released. Therefore, there is a gap in the Raiders’ defensive backline that needs to be filled. Here are two prospects to keep an eye on.
Safety from Texas A&M Antonio Johnson can assist the Raiders with their safety needs. Johnson’s versatility and range allow him to be a safety who can play in the box or as a deep threat. Johnson excels at three defensive skills that the Raiders’ safeties have been lacking: coverage, open field tackling, and blitzing. Johnson isn’t expected to go in the top 10. Nonetheless, if the Raiders win a few games and move down to the middle of the first round, they’ll need to put Johnson on their priority list.
— College Football Network (@CFN365) November 13, 2022
Although there are no Sauce Gardener’s in this draft class, the Raiders should keep an eye on one cornerback. Georgia’s Kelee Ringo is a player who possesses all the physical characteristics and intangibles necessary to succeed as a cornerback in the NFL. Ringo is a big corner, standing 6’2″ and weighing 205 pounds, but he’s also an explosive athlete. Due to his large frame, Ringo excels at man-to-man coverage and can cover large receivers. Any NFL team in need of a cornerback should be intrigued by his combination of athleticism and size.
Will the Raiders finally draft a quarterback?
The age-old quarterback controversy is back. The Raiders may need to find a new starting quarterback for the 2023 campaign. But how, given that Derek Carr is under contract? According to his contract, the Raiders would only be left with $5.6 million in dead money for 2023 if he were released after the 2022 campaign. Therefore, there is a way for the Raiders to void Carr’s contract going forward if they decide to part ways with him. If the Raiders end up picking in the top three of the 2023 NFL draft, there are three quarterback prospects that they should consider.
The top three quarterback prospects for the draft are C.J. Stroud of Ohio State, Bryce Young of Alabama, and Will Levis of Kentucky. With two quarterback-needy teams ahead of them currently, one of these three should fall into their laps. The archetypal pocket passer, Stroud is incredibly accurate. He uses his eyes to either read off a defender or help open up the passing game. Young, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2021, has demonstrated that he possesses the clutch gene. He excels at extending plays with his legs. Levis is the rawest prospect of the three, but he possesses a big arm and is super athletic. All three quarterbacks would offer something that the Raiders haven’t had in 10 years, which is a fresh start and hope. This is a strong quarterback class to choose from if the Raiders decide to part ways with Carr.
*Top Photo: Sports Illustrated