Raiders Notes: Lukas Van Ness, Dave Ziegler Improved Run D

Raiders Notes: Vaunted Iowa Pass Rusher Met With Team, Dave Ziegler Improving The Run Defense

The countdown to the 2023 NFL Draft continues, as the pivotal event is just days away. As for Las Vegas Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler, he’s busy getting in as many visits as possible. The one with Jalen Carter recently drew headlines given the nature of Carter’s rough road to the draft. However, another prospect with whom the Raiders virtually met was Iowa’s Lukas Van Ness. Oh, and it turns out that Ziegler has indeed been quietly improving the Raiders’ run defense ahead of the players selection meeting.

The Raiders could use another EDGE opposite of Maxx Crosby

Van Ness has seen his draft stock take off the last couple of weeks. The vaunted pass rusher is being heralded by some as a top-ten draft pick, and some mock drafts project him to go within the first 15 picks. As far as the Raiders are concerned, Arye Pulli of The Sports Place confirmed that they were among the teams who met with him. Yes, it’s a virtual meeting, and this could simply be Dave Ziegler doing his due diligence; still, Van Ness on the Raiders is interesting.

Despite a lack of starts during his Hawkeyes career, Van Ness has the physical promise to become a force at the next level. Also, if Ziegler is looking to move on from Chandler Jones after the 2023 season, making sure there’s a long-term replacement in-house will be important. If the Raiders do indeed trade back, Van Ness might turn into an option.

Marcus Epps will be an underrated pickup for Dave Ziegler

Another trending topic surrounding the Raiders heading into the draft has been the safety position. A move that’ll likely go underrated is the Marcus Epps acquisition. In fact, when shedding light on the playmaker’s past in terms of run defense, things begin to look bright for the Raiders.

More than anything, Epps’ acquisition paints a dim picture. The fact is, a competent and effective defensive backfield has eluded the Raiders for quite some time. There have definitely been some bright spots, but it’ll be a tall task for defensive coordinator Patrick Graham to bring it all together this year as well. Adding Epps to the mix gives Graham a dependable run-stopper that’ll help get things going again.

*Top Photo: Giants Official YouTube Channel

Mock Madness: Las Vegas Raiders 7-Round Draft 4.0 Nets Impact Prospects

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