Raiders GM Dave Ziegler takes the "safe" route in latest three-round NFL mock draft

NFL Mock Draft: Dave Ziegler Takes The “Safe Route” In Final 3-Round Scenario

Las Vegas Raiders fans are well aware of the culture shift taking place within the Silver and Black. Whether they like it or not, general manager Dave Ziegler is taking some influence from his days with the New England Patriots and infusing some of that philosophy into his current team. Even so, is that such a bad thing? Last time anyone checked, the Raiders haven’t won much over the last generation. While almost every NFL mock draft you read right now links a quarterback to Ziegler’s squad, that’s not set in stone. No one knows what this regime has up its sleeves.

With Jimmy Garoppolo in place as the starter, keeping him upright is a priority. While building a talented defense will help Garoppolo as well, an elite unit isn’t built in one offseason. By contrast, the Raiders had a solid O-line last year, flying under the radar and quietly putting together notable performances. Still, the trenches can always use more reinforcements.

A “safe” route for the Raiders will involve a name that’s been floated around a lot lately.

Raiders 3 Rd. NFL Mock Draft: Dave Ziegler opts for a “safer” route in Year 2

Rd. 1, No. 7: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern

Despite Raiders fans taking to Twitter to point out Skoronski’s arm length, Ziegler has done his homework. While some project him as more of a guard at the next level, taking a surefire player—a possible perennial Pro Bowl lineman—isn’t the worst thing. Yes, positional values certainly come into play. If there are a few defensive standouts available, why use such a high pick on a position that could be had in rounds 3 or 4? Well, because the Raiders haven’t had too much luck with selecting anything “surefire” the last few years.

Ziegler has nothing to do with the past failures of Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock; this is true. At the same time, the Raiders need to get this pick right, even if it means going the opposite direction of “flashy” or “sexy.” Draft a stalwart that will join the likes of Kolton Miller, Thayer Munford, and Dylan Parham as a promising unit that’ll protect Garoppolo and beyond.

Rd. 2, No. 38: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

The 38th overall pick is just as important this year for the Raiders as their first-round pick. Picking up a defensive leader that’ll help lead Patrick Graham’s unit alongside Maxx Crosby would be a home run here. Iowa’s Jack Campbell is exactly that.

There’s a tale as old as time when it comes to the Raiders and the linebacker position. You can count on them getting torched every season. Well, that stops with Campbell. He’s arguably one of the best defenders for his position in coverage, sporting an impressive 92.9 grade in that department, per Pro Football Focus. Simply put, Campbell makes plays. More importantly, his physical profile is one that surely has Graham salivating. This pick just makes too much sense.

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

A trait that most Raiders fans know Graham covets for his defense is versatility. Picking up a safety that can line up all over the field would be a nice addition. Sydney Brown, by way of Illinois, gives Graham just that. More importantly, Brown was one of the defensive standouts during the Senior Bowl, which means Graham got a closer look at what he can do.

Getting Trevon Moehrig a running mate is certainly on Ziegler’s to-do list, and Brown gives the Raiders a reliable defender in coverage. Thanks to his notable athleticism, Brown has remarkable range, and on top of that, he’s not afraid of contact and will make plays while stopping the run. It’s a well-rounded win-win to pick up Brown with the 70th pick.

Rd. 3, No. 100: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State

For years, Raiders fans have clamored for a linebacker group to be built through the draft. With Ziegler at the helm and having come from the Patriots’ school of thought, he’ll deliver on these wishes. With Campbell secured, Dave Ziegler selects Washington State’s Daiyan Henley.

The Raiders’ new linebacker corps will be spearheaded by a youth movement made up of speedy, intelligent, and hungry playmakers. Henley will be relied upon to chase down whatever is in front of him, from sideline to sideline, all while looking to cause a turnover (three forced fumbles in 2022). With Campbell and Henley in place, the days of opposing tight ends such as Travis Kelce lighting up the backfield will draw to a close.

So, that rounds off our three-round NFL mock drafts this year. Thanks for keeping it here at the Raider Ramble.

*Top Photo: Savannah Blake/The Gazette

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