Raiders add Devon Witherspoon after trading down in latest 3-round mock draft

Raiders 3-Round Mock Draft: Ziegler Trades Down, Adds Juice to Defense

As we get closer to the NFL Draft on April 27, the front office approach in Vegas becomes clearer and clearer. This is not a retool or a rebuild, it is somewhere in between. The Raiders signed multiple players through free agency capable of competing for starting reps in 2023, along with new QB1 Jimmy Garoppolo.

The team added another former Patriot Tuesday when general manager Dave Ziegler inked journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer to a two-year deal. The trio of Josh McDaniels, Ziegler, and Hoyer spent time together in New England, bringing more familiarity to the locker room.

Rather than dropping big bucks on higher-priced players, the Raiders are looking to build the foundation of the roster through the draft. The previous regime mostly failed to bring in cornerstones, striking out on several day one and two picks during its tenure.

Raiders 3-Round Mock Draft: Ziegler Trades Down, Adds Juice to Defense

Last year, Ziegler’s first in command, he traded the team’s first and second-rounder in the 2022 NFL Draft for superstar Davante Adams. This move left the first-time general manager without much draft capital. Dylan Parham has some potential, and Zamir White is poised to take on a more consistent role behind Josh Jacobs in year two, but the rest of the class is a question mark.

Now, following the Darren Waller trade earlier in the offseason, Ziegler is loaded with picks. Could he look to acquire even more selections with a trade-down on day one? We will touch on that possibility in this fresh Raiders 3-round mock draft.

…Vegas Makes A Draft Day Trade!

Raiders Send:
•No. 7 overall (1st)

Texans Send:
•No. 12 overall (1st)
•No. 65 overall (3rd)
•No. 73 overall (3rd)

The Raiders decide against taking the gamble on Jalen Carter and instead let the Texans come up to No. 7 to select him. In doing so, Vegas acquires two early picks in round three and only drops five slots on day one.

Rd. 1, No. 12: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

It is no secret the Raiders need a building block atop the depth chart at cornerback. Nate Hobbs, Duke Shelley, David Long Jr., and Brandon Facyson present decent depth, but none of these guys strike fear into opposing receivers. Enter Devon Witherspoon.

Why Witherspoon?

The Illinois defensive back is a thumper that thrives on physicality. He is a phenomenal run defender and boasts picturesque form as a tackler. Witherspoon is a sticky defender in man coverage, but his traits show up best in zone, allowing him to read and react to the play with his sudden burst and impressive fluidity. He is exactly what the doctor (or Patrick Graham) ordered.

Raiders Draft Denzel Perryman Replacement

Rd. 2, No. 38: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State

Another massive need on the roster is at linebacker. Denzel Perryman signed with the Texans this offseason, leaving a monstrous void in the defense. Washington State’s Daiyan Henley is the ideal successor to the 2021 Pro Bowler.

Why Henley?

The Wazzou superstar is still new to playing linebacker, having been a receiver and tight end most of his life leading up to college. You’d never know it watching him, as Henley displays exceptional instincts for the position. He looks chiseled from stone and is capable of holding up in run support as a rookie. The most intriguing part of Henley’s game is how smooth he looks in coverage. The Raiders get a starting MIKE at No. 38.

Rd. 3, No. 65 (via HOU): Siaki Ika, DT, Baylor

The Vegas run defense was abysmal in 2022, and the team still needs a force on the interior of the defensive line. Baylor’s Siaki Ika presents the best value and the best fit for the Raiders at No. 65.

Why Ika?

The Baylor behemoth is a bowling ball to the pocket. Ika uses his otherworldly strength to create pressure from the inside, regularly freeing up pass rushers off the edge. In addition to making life easier on Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones, Ika would provide a jolt to the run defense on early downs. The overhaul on defense continues.

Another Illinois Defender Joins Secondary

Rd. 3, No. 70: Sydney Brown, SAF, Illinois

The Raiders are set to start Tre’von Moehrig as the deep safety and Marcus Epps in the box, but if a starting-caliber prospect falls to them in round three, expect Ziegler and Co. to pounce. In this mock draft, Sydney Brown is that prospect.

Why Brown?

First and foremost, Brown is a stud on the gridiron. His athleticism shows up on tape, as the Illinois defender exhibits spectacular range when playing deep and brings a hard-hat mentality when working in the box. He can play either safety spot, which should open up competition in training camp. Plus, reuniting him with Devon Witherspoon and Nate Hobbs, two former Illinois teammates, was too good to ignore.

Rd. 3, No. 73 (via HOU): Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State

Darren Waller was traded away earlier in the offseason after seemingly never seeing eye-to-eye with the new regime. The move netted the Raiders a late third-round pick but opened up a need for a long-term piece at tight end. Tucker Kraft is a small-school prospect worth betting on.

Why Kraft?

The South Dakota State veteran racked up some gaudy numbers in 2021 for the Jackrabbits, showcasing his all-around skillset. Kraft is a top-tier blocker from the moment he arrives in Sin City, and his 4.6-speed and diverse route tree makes for an easy transition to Sundays. Don’t worry about the level of competition because this is a legitimately great tight end prospect oozing potential.

Rd. 3, No. 100 (via NYG): Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan

The final pick of this mock draft needs to be used on the offensive line. While the Raiders line posted respectable numbers in 2022, according to PFF, there is a considerable need for more physical linemen in the middle. Michigan’s Olusegun Oluwatimi fits the bill.

Why Oluwatimi?

The Michigan center is as physical as they come in the 2023 NFL Draft, and he excels at rooting himself into the ground in pass coverage, providing one of the most reliable anchors in the class. As a run blocker, Oluwatimi is dominant. He effortlessly clears lanes for the running back and fits the style McDaniels looks for in a lineman.

*Top Photo: AP Photo/Doug McSchooler

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