After a few weeks of building up hope, the Las Vegas Raiders’ improbable playoff journey is looking bleaker than ever. The silver lining is that the 2023 NFL Draft is loaded with talent at positions of need. Whether the Raiders decide to strengthen their offense or add a dynamic addition to their defensive front seven will be the story of the offseason. Let’s dive into some potential prospects the Raiders could target in the early rounds, particularly the first two rounds.
Raiders Draft: Round One – Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
While the offensive line has played far above expectations in 2022, the Raiders are not expected to stay idle. Peter Skoronski is a strong tackle who can move quickly between levels. His fundamentals and hand work are sound, and he is dominant against stronger rushers. Skoronski has the combination of balance and fluidity that can keep defensive linemen at bay in the NFL.
In 2022, Skoronski earned a 93.1 Pro Football Focus pass blocking grade, easily clearing his competition. In that span, he has allowed just five pressures. The 6’4″, 315-pound junior isn’t the biggest in his class, but he could fit in as an immediate starter at right tackle. Kolton Miller and Skoronski could make a lethal Silver and Black tackle duo for years to come.
Raiders Draft: Round Two – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Whether Derek Carr is or is not a Raider in 2023 should be irrelevant to this pick. In fact, recent quarterback success has shown us it could be better to sit a year behind Carr before taking the reins. Regardless, after nine seasons, the Raiders have seen Carr’s ceiling, and it might be time to find their X-factor at the position. Anthony Richardson is arguably the most physically gifted quarterback in his class. With the right development, Richardson could develop into a superstar at the next level.
In 2022, Richardson looked raw. He has played inconsistently, but his athleticism, large frame, and arm strength are all elite traits in the NFL. With good coaching, the Florida product could improve his mechanics and pre-snap reads, which have been glaring weaknesses. The reward could be astronomical if the Raiders decide to select the quarterback with their second-round pick. Keep in mind that this scenario only works if Carr returns next year. Richardson isn’t ready to start out of the gate for an NFL team, at least not yet.
*Top Photo: CBS 4 News