To say that the Las Vegas Raiders have underperformed in 2022 is an understatement. In fact, mock season has arrived a little early for the Silver and Black this year. After a disastrous 2-7 start, it’s fair to say a large portion of Raider Nation has given up. Currently holding the second overall pick for the 2023 NFL Draft, the Raiders could feasibly pick some game-changing talent.
Raiders Mock: 1st Round, EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 235 lbs.
- 55.5 Tackles For A Loss
Chandler Jones has likely been general manager Dave Ziegler’s biggest failure. Jones was brought in to form a formidable pass-rushing duo with Maxx Crosby, but that experiment has failed. With 10 sacks in nine games, the Raiders are dead last in the league. The assistance Crosby deserves can now be provided by the All-American Anderson.
During his time at Alabama, Anderson has terrorized quarterbacks and given offensive coordinators headaches. Anderson has racked up 195 total tackles, 55.5 tackles for loss, and 32.5 sacks over the course of two and a half seasons. Statistics do not fully convey the full story because Anderson is a man among boys at the collegiate level. His outstanding run defense matches his elite pass rushing. The Raiders cannot ignore these numbers; we are aware that a quarterback is needed, but that will be dealt with later. Having a duo of Crosby and Anderson for the formidable future is how you retool instead of “rebuilding.”
Raiders Mock: 2nd Round, CB Eli Ricks, Alabama
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 196 lbs.
- 71.2 PFF Coverage Grade
Secondary issues have risen once again for the Raiders. Although there aren’t many top prospects available this year, the Raiders have a history of taking chances. Ricks is added to help strengthen the secondary despite the injury and inconsistency concerns.
Ricks proved to the world in 2020, during his first year at LSU, that he would be the next outstanding cornerback to emerge from their ranks. Ricks was a ballhawk and displayed elite shutdown abilities, but he has since regressed. After an impressive 2020, where Ricks was graded at 82.8 by PFF, he began trending downward. This year, the publication has him at 71.5 (an improvement over 67.6 last year, if you’re keeping track). Production-wise, Ricks was eighth in the entire nation with four interceptions but has yet to record one with Alabama this season. In his defense, he has amassed four pass deflections this year, so he’s still living up to his ballhawk moniker.
10 days until Eli Ricks does this to Kayshon Boutte for an entire night: pic.twitter.com/U9J3EIAZQs
— Sidelines – Bama (@SSN_Alabama) October 26, 2022
Nevertheless, Ricks has noteworthy traits, including prototypical NFL cornerback size, and was a five-star cornerback coming out of high school. This would be a boom-or-bust investment, but some risks can yield enormous rewards in the long run. The Raiders’ only reliable secondary player under contract for the upcoming season is Nate Hobbs, so it’s worthwhile to take a chance on Ricks.
Raiders Mock: 3rd Round, QB Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 218 lbs.
- 55 TD’s last two seasons
It’s finally time, Raider Nation! But why would team brass pick a quarterback in the third round to replace Derek Carr? In this case, the Raiders are more than just a quarterback away, and selecting Hendon Hooker in the third round would allow them to use their first two picks to help strengthen their roster.
HENDON HOOKER FOR HEISMAN ðŸ—£ï¸ pic.twitter.com/CUBKcooBNw
— Brian Y (@byysports) November 12, 2022
Being able to get Hooker in the third is ridiculous value considering how well Hooker has played during his senior year at Tennessee. Hooker is a quarterback with a powerful arm who, when necessary, can make plays outside the pocket. Because of his athleticism, he can be a real treat in the run game, and his deep ball is among the best in the nation. Putting aside all of these qualities, Hooker would offer Raider fans something unique. The quarterback position would bring some hope and excitement, something they haven’t experienced in years.
*Top Photo: 247 Sports