The Las Vegas Raiders may be in the hunt for a cornerback next year, especially if they end up with a mid-round pick. However, considering the team’s latest loss, they’re trending toward a higher pick. As of this publication, they’re still eighth, though that can change after Monday Night Football, so full disclaimer.
As far as actual prospects go, a high draft pick could net the Raiders one of the top quarterback prospects. On the other hand, maybe a highly touted pass rusher will be available to pair with Maxx Crosby? These final four games are going to determine which of these scenarios could play out.
Should the Las Vegas Raiders go QB in the first round?
The do-it-all quarterback has come back from an incredible season in 2021 with a solid follow-up campaign in 2022. In 2021, the Alabama quarterback won the 2021 Davey O’Brien award and the Maxwell award and topped it with the Heisman Trophy. He has shown his ability and will likely be a mobile signal caller at the next level. He’s the type of player the fans have longed for. If the Raiders have an opportunity, it’s hard to see them passing on this possible franchise player.
Similar to Young, the Buckeye signal-caller has shown it all. He’s mobile, maybe not as much as Young, but he can throw the ball. So far in his two full seasons as a starter, he has thrown for 7,775 yards and 81 touchdowns. He has the ability to be the face of the franchise for years to come. Would the Raiders pass on him if they had a chance?
Will Anderson Jr.
The Crimson Tide linebacker looks to be a lock as a foundational piece for an NFL defense. His sack numbers jump out, as in three years he accumulated 34.5, which is remarkable. Imagine “Mad Maxx” and Anderson teaming up; that’s the fear in opposing offenses that is needed for the Raiders. The Hampton, Georgia, native checks all the boxes, and if Vegas is in the top five, then make the call and get that much-needed piece.
This man, for lack of a better term, is a beast. The Georgia Bulldog is a space-eater who seems to have an endless motor from the defensive tackle position. This man again checks all the boxes, and his play jumps out on tape. The native of Apopka, Florida, will almost always take up two blockers, and with the Raiders’ defensive line, someone taking up two blockers will leave a lot of one-on-ones. Draft him if he’s there and finally get Crosby some much-needed pressure inside.
This pick would be somewhere from ten to fifteen. The Clemson Tiger can play inside and outside on the defensive line and is a well-rounded player. There may be some questions, as the last time the Raiders took a first-round pick from Clemson, it didn’t work out well. Murphy would fill in some gaps and has been nothing but consistent in his three years on the field. If he is on the board outside of the top five (a likelihood), Vegas should definitely pull the trigger on this one.
How can the second round play out for the Raiders?
The Baylor defensive lineman who began his collegiate career at LSU is a mountain of a man, and he is a space eater. Ika has a large frame and is built at six-foot-four and 350 pounds. His numbers might not be the biggest, but his effort and talent stand out on film. If he’s there in round two, why not help build that defense?
Now, this may seem out of left field, but if for some reason the Raiders move on from Darren Waller, the tight end position quickly becomes a need. The Fighting Irish tight end could be a viable replacement. He has been consistent and has gotten better every year. He has increased his touchdown receptions each season and is the all-time leader in tight end receptions at Notre Dame. This may not happen, but if Waller goes, it is something to watch for.
A big cornerback to help lock down big wide receivers? You can bet the Raiders need one. Maybe the Georgia Bulldog can be of some assistance. Kelee Ringo has made strides since his first game in Georgia and has continued to grow ever since. He can play either zone or man coverage; the IQ is there, and he would make an impact and help solidify the back half of the defense. If he’s there when Vegas is on the clock, Dave Ziegler should make the call.
Hendon Hooker in the third round? It’s plausible.
A serious injury could turn into an opportunity for Vegas. There is much discussion as to what they should do in the draft: go with a quarterback or build the defense. If they go the defensive route, especially if they go in the middle or top 10 to 15 in round one, Hendon Hooker in round three makes sense. Derek Carr is a capable quarterback, and he could even be a bridge for Hooker. The Tennessee signal-caller is a big, mobile dual threat who can launch a bomb and also scoot the length of the field on a run.
His knee injury is serious, but given a year to learn and watch, it could help him grasp the game before he steps on the field. No matter where the Raiders are in the draft, Hooker should be the priority in round three. The stats jump: in his two years in Tennessee, he has thrown for over 6,000 yards and 58 touchdowns; add 1,046 yards rushing and ten touchdowns, and you can begin to salivate. You can also add “protecting the football,” as he has only thrown five picks these last two years.
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