Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels are in lockstep on the Las Vegas Raiders’ modus operandi during the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft.
The Silver and Black’s general manager and head coach, respectively, say the team will go with the “best player available” (BPA) approach when it’s the Raiders’ turn to make a selection.
“I think in terms of our roster, what we’ve tried to do is put ourselves in a position so we can actually draft the best player that we feel like is available at the time,” McDaniels said during his media availability at the NFL Owners Meeting this past Monday. “We’re open to anything. That’s nothing new. But if that happened to be a quarterback, then it’s a quarterback. If it happens to be a defensive lineman, it’s a defensive lineman. If it happened to be a tight end, it’s a tight end, you know what I mean?”
“We’re doing our work on everybody and trying to do our due diligence on every spot in the draft,” McDaniels elaborated. “We know we pick high in every round, basically, so it’s an opportunity that you hope you don’t have a whole lot of, but we’re going to try to take full advantage of if we can this year.”
That all said, let’s jump into the mock draft madness, BPA Edition. I used different variations of NFL mock draft simulators to get a solid flavor, and this is the result of going with the best player available (the top player on the board) with every pick.
Raiders 7-Round Mock Draft: The “Best Player Available” Approach, You Say?
Round 1, No. 7: Quarterback C.J. Stroud
The Ohio State signal caller doesn’t go in the top 5 and is a no-brainer pick at No. 7 for the Raiders. He can learn and develop behind Jimmy Garoppolo, and if the starter does get hurt, Stroud can slide into the QB1 spot and not be a detriment to the Silver and Black.
Round 2, No. 38: Tight End Dalton Kincaid
As a pure pass catcher, this Utah product excels; however, he’s a liability as an in-line blocker. McDaniels likes his tight ends to both catch and block; however, Kincaid was the best player available on the board, and tight end is a “need” position for a Raiders team set to deploy new faces at the position group in 2023.
Round 3, No. 70: Linebacker Jack Campbell
This big Iowa middle linebacker (6-foot-5, 249 pounds) can grow into the role of starting Mike for the Raiders. He provides the physicality required at the position, with solid speed to boot, and is a sound communicator on defense. Campbell isn’t a liability on coverage, but he isn’t an enforcer-type who will set the tone in the middle.
Round 3, No. 100: Center Joe Tippmann
Wisconsin’s tall pivot (6-6, 313 pounds) is heralded for his high football IQ and communication skills, both of which the Raiders offensive line needs more of. And Tippmann is an excellent blend of size, strength, smarts, and ability. But there’s already a center in place, so does a move to the guard position serve Tippmann — or any other Raiders OL — well?
Mock Draft: The Raiders Need To Nail The Middle-Rounds
Round 4, No. 109: EDGE Nick Herbig
It is the undersized (6-2, 240 pounds) Wisconsin pass rusher. What Herbig lacks in power and strength, he makes up for in athleticism and upside. He has the ability to make offensive linemen whiff badly en route to the quarterback and ball carrier. But he’ll need to add mass badly, much like Maxx Crosby did for the Raiders.
Round 5, No. 141: Running Back Israel Abanikanda
A fleet-footed tailback from Pittsburgh that can leave opposing defenses in the dust. A pure downhill runner whose change of direction can be messy, Abanikanda can provide juice and power to an already bloated Raiders running back room.
Round 5, No. 144: Wide Receiver Michael Wilson
This Stanford wideout does one thing that McDaniels covets: blocking. He’s an excellent run blocker who plays with frenetic energy at the position. He’s got the makings of a superior gunner on special teams, and the Raiders have a need at that position.
Round 5, No. 174: Defensive Tackle Cameron Young
A powerful nose tackle out of Mississippi State, Young can eventually slot into the role that belonged to Andrew Billings last season. Young offers run stopping and occupier prowess but little to no pass rush.
Plenty Of Talent To Be Had In The Late Rounds
Round 6, No. 204: Safety Ronnie Hickman Jr.
This Ohio State defender profiles as a better fit closer to the line of scrimmage in the big nickel formation, which the Raiders do deploy. He’s best when he’s close to the action due to his lack of burst and closing speed. Hickman profiles as a special teamer to start.
Round 6, No. 214: Cornerback Jarrick Bernard-Converse
A big and physical (6-1, 198 pounds) LSU DB, Bernard-Converse, is better on the perimeter than inside due to change of direction and a lack of fluid hips. He also doesn’t have the longspeed to keep up with true burners. However, he plays tight coverage, tracks the ball well, and makes a play on it.
Round 7, No. 220: Cornerback Terrell Smith
This Minnesota corner has the size (6-0, 204 pounds), speed, and physicality needed at the next level. He’s a willing tackler, and his cover skills are growing. He’s destined to be an outside corner or transition deeper into the defensive backfield as a safety.
Round 7, No. 231: EDGE Viliami Fehoko
The San Jose State defender was a terror at the level of competition. He’s a tackle for loss machine with the juice to get to the quarterback. But at the pro level, he may fit the role of a run-stuffing end much better (the Clelin Ferrell role).
Raiders 7-Round Mock Draft: Replacing Darren Waller Takes Center Stage For Dave Ziegler
2 thoughts on “NFL Mock Draft Madness: A Las Vegas Raiders “BPA-Only” Draft”
Lets hope this is not how it goes ! I would like to see us get a top edge rusher or top corner with our no. 1 & stack up the defense 9 of 12 pics then add to the O line !
It’s tempting to make a mock draft in which our team “wins” (ie gets the young qb prospect we want after releasing our long term signal caller and signing someone who is arguably, marginally better but with a clear issue with injuries).
However, this is just silly. In what reality does stroud make it 7? If you have compelling reasons for that, write that article and include it in the write up for the pick here, because otherwise, the only discussion this mock will generate is how utterly loony it is.