Simply put, Las Vegas Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler isn’t about to let anyone know what he’s really thinking. However, he did recently provide some insight into what he and his scouting department are looking for. Essentially, they’re looking to take the “best player available” at the 2023 NFL Draft, but what does that mean? Is Georgia’s Jalen Carter in play for the Raiders?
Ziegler didn’t exactly mince words on Friday; he made it known that he needs to select an impact starter in the first round. Well, all things considered, that’s not breaking news. If Ziegler were to say anything else, Raiders fans would likely not be having any of it. The team needs to bounce back in Year 2 and picking up a “reach” or “project” in the first round isn’t going to do Ziegler or head coach Josh McDaniels any favors.
“This is a monster process, when you talk about getting ready for the NFL draft. You want to find a starting-level player at that spot.”
Of course, Ziegler knows better than to reveal too much. Taking the “BPA” could include any positional player, which makes sense when you take into account that the Raiders need talent at all positions save for wide receiver and defensive end. Speaking of which, where does that leave Jalen Carter as a possibility?
2023 NFL Draft: Jalen Carter might very well be the “BPA” for Raiders GM Dave Ziegler
One thing’s for sure: Ziegler and Co. did their due diligence, and despite a “report” that Carter was off the board for the Raiders, the defensive tackle remains a possibility. As Heidi Fang of the Las Vegas Review-Journal put it, “in short, Ziegler says they didn’t treat Jalen Carter any differently through the process of evaluation than any other prospect they looked at.”
As far as the draft goes, a trending topic revolves around the Seattle Seahawks. If they’re indeed seriously considering Carter, the Raiders would be out of luck. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell recently proposed a trade in which the Raiders and Seahawks swap first-round picks, a move that would also include second-round picks for both teams.
Looking at it from the outside, Carter makes too much sense. He’d be the key to finally unlocking next-level greatness for Maxx Crosby; a disruptive force inside creates so many opportunities for No. 98. If Ziegler isn’t concerned with any “issues” surrounding Carter, a trade is possible after all. Thankfully, Raiders fans won’t have to wait too long.
*Top Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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