Raiders HC Josh McDaniels On Darren Waller and "Jimmy G"

Raiders NFL Draft: Looking At 3 Day 1 Scenarios For Dave Ziegler

Thursday afternoon can’t get here fast enough for Las Vegas Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler or the fans of the Silver and Black. While the entire 2023 NFL Draft is monumental for this current regime, nailing Day 1 is going to be of the utmost importance. Obviously, Ziegler knows this, but still, anything can happen, the draft itself is a crapshoot.

The recent rumors surrounding Will Levis, for example, would throw the entire first round off course. Needless to say, there are probably quite a few ways this can all play out for Ziegler and the Raiders during the event’s opening festivities.

Scenario No. 1: Raiders trade up, Dave Ziegler gets his… quarterback?

Trading up is something that you do if you’re absolutely sure that the prospect you’re selecting is altering your franchise’s fortunes. More so if we’re talking about within the first ten picks. For Ziegler and the Raiders, it only makes sense to do this if you’re taking a quarterback. A top-tier defensive player can be had at No. 7. Moving up isn’t necessary for this, not when you’re giving up draft capital. Let’s face it, the Raiders need every single one of those selections this year.

If either C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, or even Anthony Richardson are available when the Arizona Cardinals are due up, does Ziegler make the call? Picking up Jimmy Garoppolo gives Ziegler some time to figure out the quarterback position in the long run. At the same time, he’s been vocal about the notion that drafting a quarterback isn’t out of the question. Those first two selections could very well decide how things play out this year for the Raiders.

Scenario No. 2: Patrick Graham gets some help for his defensive backfield

If the draft shakes out as many are predicting (three to four quarterbacks off the board by No. 7), Ziegler’s process becomes easier. At least in theory, it does. Going after the “best player available” is something that Ziegler and the rest of the Raiders’ brain trust have been adamant about. Picking up an offensive lineman certainly makes sense; if nothing else, it’s a safe route, but Patrick Graham’s defense desperately needs reinforcements.

Why not reunite two college teammates, Nate Hobbs and Devon Witherspoon, and let them wreak havoc in the backfield? Or let’s say Jalen Carter is passed over by the Seattle Seahawks, then becomes available by the time that the Raiders are up; you can’t pass him up, right? Even Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez gives Graham an instant starting outside cornerback with explosive playmaking ability. You can’t really go wrong with any of these defensive stars.

Scenario No. 3: Raiders pile up more picks…

A third scenario, one that’s generated a lot of conversation this offseason, sees Ziegler trading back. It’s not the “sexiest” outcome, at least for some fans, but it certainly makes sense. Not to harp on the same notion here, but the roster has a litany of holes.

The possibility exists that the Raiders could trade out of the top 10, acquire more draft capital, and still land an impact-caliber player. Calijah Kancey, Brian Branch, and Joey Porter Jr. could fall out of that particular range, giving Ziegler a golden opportunity.

In many ways, Ziegler really can’t go wrong with trading down or selecting the “BPA” on defense. However, Raiders fans need to prepare for the inevitable: not everyone’s going to be happy.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

Outsiders Edge: No Zieg-Zagging, Raiders GM Dave Ziegler More Comfortable Heading Into Second Draft

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