7-Round Raiders Mock Draft: CJ Stroud Becomes Face of the Franchise

Raiders 7-Round Mock Draft: Vegas Trades Up for QB C.J. Stroud

The Derek Carr saga is nearing its end as the nine-year veteran refused to waive his no-trade clause, all but guaranteeing his release before Feb. 15. Unfortunately, the Las Vegas Raiders will receive zero compensation for the former second rounder out of Fresno State. As the franchise turns the page on this era, a new cornerstone at quarterback is priority No. 1 in this mock draft.

Post-Derek Carr Mock Draft: Raiders Get Aggressive in Pursuit of a Rookie Quarterback

With a few high-upside signal-callers in the 2023 NFL Draft, there are several ways to nab one. Will the front office stick at No. 7 overall and take whoever is left, or will general manager Dave Ziegler show some urgency by trading up the draft board to get his top-rated quarterback? The first 7-round mock draft of the offseason is here with an answer to that all-important question.

*2023 NFL Mock Draft Trade*

Cardinals Send:
•No. 3 (2023)

Raiders Send:
•No. 7 (2023)
•No. 71 (2023)
•No. 142 (2023)
•Future second-round pick (2024)
•Future third-round pick (2024)

Round 1, No. 3: CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 218 pounds

Notable Stat: 11 career INTs in 752 attempts

In order to satisfy the draft pick value chart, the Raiders sent a slew of picks to the Cardinals to leapfrog multiple quarterback-needy squads. The front office can hold on to No. 39 overall and still climb the board on day one to secure the talents of Ohio State’s CJ Stroud.

Stroud is deathly accurate from the pocket, exhibits top-tier anticipation, and has the arm talent to hit all three levels of the defense. The 21-year-old is still working on dealing with pressure, so upgrading the offensive line around the rookie signal-caller is a must.

Josh McDaniels thrived with Tom Brady as a pure pocket passer. Not to say Stroud will be Brady, but it is a smooth transition for the Buckeye alum. The price may look exorbitant on paper but holding on to the early day two selection in 2023 and the first-rounder in 2024 makes it a no-brainer decision in this mock draft.

Round 2, No. 39: Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

Height: 6-foot-5 1/8

Weight: 342 pounds

Notable Stat: Allowed zero sacks in 829 snaps as a senior

Darnell Wright is as polished as they come at the offensive tackle position. He boasts impressive experience, with 42 starts under his belt at the collegiate level. While Wright also served as the team’s left tackle and right guard, his primary spot on the line has been right tackle.

The Raiders have Kolton Miller locked in on the blindside, and although Jermaine Eluemunor provided serviceable play opposite Miller in 2022, Wright presents a steep upgrade at the position. The Tennessee standout excels in pass protection and possesses the strength to be an above-average contributor in the run game. He is a day-one starter for Vegas.

Round 4, No. 109: Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina

Height: 6-foot-1 5/8

Weight: 196 pounds

Notable Stat: Only two career penalties

Cam Smith gets most of the attention when South Carolina cornerbacks are brought up but do not sleep on Darius Rush. It is no secret that the defense lacks a true shutdown cornerback on the roster, but that could change with this selection.

Rush is built to last and will command excellence from those around him. The Gamecock veteran started 22 games in Columbia and has loads of experience in zone coverage and ball skills, to boot. Rush is a significant addition to a rebuilding secondary in Sin City.

Round 5, No. 145 (via ATL): Payne Durham, TE, Purdue

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 258 pounds

Notable Stat: Career highs in catches (54), yards (550), and TDs (8) in 2022

Payne Durham is a steady blocker with a stout build for a tight end. His long wingspan makes for an impressive catch radius downfield, and he consistently uses it to come down with passes in the red zone. The former Boilermaker comes to the NFL with one of the most stable floors at the position. Lock him into the TE2 spot, and do not look back.

Round 5, No. 174: Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane

Height: 6-foot-flat

Weight: 228 pounds

Notable Stat: 43 appearances at Tulane

The linebacker group is another position that needs an upgrade or two in this mock draft. Denzel Perryman is on the wrong side of 30 and an unrestricted free agent heading into the offseason.

Tulane’s Dorian Williams is tenacious and showcases plenty of versatility, even if he is a bit small for Patrick Graham’s liking. Williams is twitched up as a pass rusher and willingly fills gaps in pursuit of the ball carrier.

Round 6, No. 202 (via DAL): Chandler Zavala, OL, NC State

Height: 6-foot-3 1/2

Weight: 322 pounds

Notable Stat: 86.5 pass-block grade in 2022 (via PFF)

Chandler Zavala plays with a passion that few in the class can match. He owns a red-hot motor and a mean streak to match.

Zavala will compete for starting snaps in training camp, and if his play at the Shrine Bowl is any indication, the NC State product will make it difficult for the coaching staff to keep him on the sideline.

Round 6, No. 219: Cameron Young, DT, Mississippi State

Height: 6-foot-3 3/8

Weight: 304 pounds

Notable Stat: 32 stops in past two seasons

The Raiders struggled to stop the run in 2022 with a lackluster PFF grade of 58.2. One step to fixing this issue is drafting a run stuffer like Mississippi State’s Cameron Young.

Young meets the physical requirements that the Raiders look for in a nose tackle and looks like an early-down run defender from the jump. The former Bulldog uses brute force to barrel through blocks and bring down ball carriers but may never develop enough pass-rushing chops to be a three-down player.

Round 7, No. 222 (via ARI): Daniel Scott, SAF, California

Height: 6-foot-flat

Weight: 210 pounds

Notable Stat: 3 INTs in each of past two seasons

Daniel Scott had an impressive week in Mobile, capping it off with a standout performance in the Senior Bowl while catching the eye of several NFL scouts in attendance. The California defensive back is incredibly old for a prospect (25) and needs some work as a tackler, but his instincts and range will be a welcomed addition to the backend of the defense this late in the mock draft.

Round 7, No. 233 (via NE): Jadakis Bonds, WR, Hampton

Height: 6-foot-2 3/4

Weight: 205 pounds

Notable Stat: 16 yards per reception in 2022

Jadakis Bonds flexes prototypical size for a boundary receiver in the NFL. His release package is flawless, as the Hampton wideout routinely beats his defender off the line and creates separation for the quarterback.

Bonds also profiles as a special teams ace at minimum, so anything he adds offensively is a cherry on top. Worth the dart throw at the end of day three.

*Top Photo: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

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