An impressive NFL draft was the start Dave Ziegler’s regime needed to begin the next phase of the offseason. The Las Vegas Raiders’ front office executed their plan well, securing draft prospects that fill holes on the roster. Tyree Wilson and Byron Young are expected to improve Patrick Graham’s defense but will require time to develop into professionals.
Ranking Some Current NFL Free Agents For Dave Ziegler And Co.
Raiders Target No. 5 – Frank Clark, Defensive Lineman
Padding the line of scrimmage with talented defensive linemen is a great way to improve the roster. An increase in quarterback production forces defensive coordinators to develop schemes that add pressure to the pocket. Ziegler invested two of their draft picks to solidify a presence on the defensive line. In 2022, Las Vegas finished the season with a paltry 30 sacks and allowed one of the worst passing defenses in the league (4,129 passing yards allowed). A veteran defensive lineman like Frank Clark would add value to the team on the field and in the locker room. He’s recorded 58.5 sacks in an eight-year career, including his 13-sack contribution in 2018 with the Seattle Seahawks.
Raiders Target No. 4 – Marcus Peters, Cornerback
Defending aerial attacks is a headache for franchises in the AFC West. The division is home to the league’s best gunslingers, causing turmoil for opposing coaching staffs. An improved pass rush will help the Raiders’ secondary in coverage, but do they have a defensive back that will take advantage of potential interceptions? A lack of turnovers resulted in a poor turnover differential last season (-8).
Nate Hobbs and Jakorian Bennett are tasked with changing the narrative this season. Assistance from Marcus Peters would take Graham’s defense to the next level. His experience will help Bennett and Hobbs develop as they work to make an impact. Peters is one of the few free-agent corners who has earned an interception in every season he’s played. He can play man-to-man coverage, which is a plus for a developing defense.
Raiders Target No. 3 – Jarvis Landry, Wide Receiver
Davante Adams is the best receiver in the NFL, simply put. In 2022, he ranked third in receiving yards (1,516) and finished first in receiving touchdowns (14). DeAndre Carter and Phillip Dorsett complement Adams well, but what if Las Vegas rostered a vertical threat? If we asked Jimmy Garoppolo, he would enjoy the possibility. Weapons on the outside make it hard for opponents to double-team. It also opens running lanes for Josh Jacobs and Zamir White.
Jarvis Landry would make a great additional option for Las Vegas’ newest quarterback. He’s recorded 80 receptions for six consecutive seasons leading up to 2019. Injuries limited his time on the field recently, but his impact in the locker room is worth considering a deal. Landry is a skilled route runner and can find the end zone. He’ll add depth to an offense yearning to expand this season.
Raiders Target No. 2 – Isaiah Wynn, Offensive Tackle
Protecting the quarterback will help the Raiders develop their passing game. They’ve committed to Jimmy Garoppolo and should focus on easing his transition into his new role. Investing in an offensive tackle after the draft isn’t flashy, but the Raiders could use the help. If Las Vegas experiences injuries this season, an experienced tackle will come in clutch. Isaiah Wynn should be considered for a free agency flyer. Yes, we know that revisiting the Patriots’ pipeline is drawing a collective sigh from Raider Nation.
Wynn will have five years of experience once this season commences and he maintains his youth (27). His experience in New England is exciting, and fans should expect him to add value to the rotation. At the right price, Wynn will make a nice addition to a roster designed to help Garoppolo thrive. Should Dave Ziegler pull the trigger on another Patriot?
Raiders Target No. 1 – Myles Jack, Linebacker
Filling the hole at linebacker was not a priority for the front office during the draft. Tyree Wilson cost the franchise its first-round pick and made drafting a field general impossible. There is still time to find a man for the job. Las Vegas must dip into the free agency pool, but the pickings are limited. Linebackers must play a hybrid role in most schemes, requiring athletes to play sideline to sideline. Myles Jack is worth a free agency signing and will help the team build an identity. In 2020, he led Jacksonville’s defense in tackles (118) and recorded an interception. His stint with the Steelers shouldn’t blemish his reputation. Myles is a workhorse willing to fight for his team.
A free agency signing before training camp will help Dave Ziegler’s franchise develop chemistry before a long season. Las Vegas is a work in progress but can develop into a threat in the AFC. Las Vegas has some cap room to play around with. So, signing a role player to strengthen their roster is possible.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images