Las Vegas Raiders GM Dave Ziegler

Outsiders Edge: Las Vegas Raiders Day 3 picks will be just as important as top selections

The Day 1 pick will grab all the headlines — rightfully so. The Day 2 selections will garner plenty of attention, too. Yet, with 12 total draft picks at their disposal, the Las Vegas Raiders’ Day 3 prospects are going to be just as integral as the higher selections.

It’s time for the Raiders to go to work…

General manager Dave Ziegler finds himself flush with a dozen draft picks to help bolster his roster. It’s a roster that needs a young core of players as the foundation. Now, don’t be surprised if the final number of total 2023 draftees that find themselves as new members of the Silver and Black is less than 12. The team could always make maneuvers and move draft picks around. They’ll either try to move up or down the board in any round.

Shoot, the Raiders could potentially add more picks to make more than 12 neophytes.

But no matter, Ziegler is going to be able to provide head coach (and offensive play caller) Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham with some young talent to work with.

The Raiders’ No. 7 overall pick is a highly anticipated selection. As are the No. 38, No. 70, and No. 100 overall picks. Day 1 and 2 are going to add some potential impact rookies for Year 2 of Ziegler and McDaniels.

But on Day 3, when the draft gets into the “dog days” of furious rounds four through seven and the TV analyst can’t even keep up with the picks and cherry picks which ones to talk about as teams have less time and make rapid-fire decisions when they’re on the clock, that’s when we’ll find out how truly good Ziegler is.

We’ll get to see exactly how much mettle Ziegler’s scouting staff has by how well the picks in rounds four through seven pan out. Because those are the rounds where true gems are unearthed and put on display in the NFL.

Gems can be found on Day 3, just ask Maxx Crosby

Maxx Crosby is one (fourth round, 106th overall, 2019). Hunter Renfrow (fifth round, 149th overall, 2019) and Nate Hobbs (fifth round, 167th overall, 2021) are others.

Ziegler and McDaniels spoke of adding more explosive players to the Raiders roster.

“The more explosive we can get, the better we’re going to be,” McDaniels noted.

But what does that specifically mean?

“When I say explosive on defense, I mean, you either get to touch the quarterback or touch the ball. And so, we’re looking for guys that can do those things, you know?” Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels said at the NFL Combine.

“Explosive prospects”

Explosive prospects are spread across the collegiate landscape. We’ll get to see if the Raiders scouting department can identify them, Ziegler picks them, and the Raiders coaching staff develops them. Those are the key ingredients. Any misstep in any of those three and we could be in for another draft class that finds itself out of the Silver and Black, much like previous editions we’ve seen out of Raiders HQ.

For all his faults, Al Davis and his crew found quality talent in the later rounds. Linebacker Greg Biekert was a seventh-round pick back in 1993. The Raiders actually took defensive tackle La’Roi Glover in the fifth round in 1996. They also hit home runs with DTs Grady Jackson (1997) and Rod Coleman (1999) in the sixth and fifth rounds of those years, respectively. Then there’s punter Shane Lechler in the fifth round of 2000. Don’t forget about wide receiver Ronald Curry in the seventh round of 2002. While their flames burned brightly at first before fizzling out, defensive end Trevor Scott (sixth round 2008) was a good find. Additionally, wideout Denarius Moore (taken by GM Reggie McKenzie in the fifth round of 2011) was a solid Raider contributor.

The later rounds are going to be pivotal for the Raiders

While it would be outstanding for the current crop of Silver and Black talent evaluators to mine contributors like the ones mentioned above, the latter rounds are where teams not only find young talent who can provide depth and compete for starting snaps, but difference-making special teamers, too. Some might scoff at that, but Tom McMahon’s unit needs rejuvenation, along with McDaniels’ and Grahams’ respective groups.

The Raiders didn’t re-sign Mack Hollins, and the wide receiver’s absence leaves a void on the punt coverage unit. Las Vegas needs another gunner who can break away from blocks and get downfield to down an AJ Cole punt deep inside enemy territory.

The Raiders did well to ink DeAndre Carter, a veteran receiver who can handle the kick and punt return gigs. Still, seeking a speedster in the later rounds to push for a return specialist role would do Las Vegas well, too.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

NFL Exec: Previous Failures By The Raiders “Aren’t On” Dave Ziegler, Josh McDaniels

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