Assessing Raiders GM Dave Ziegler’s First NFL Draft Class In Vegas

Assessing Raiders GM Dave Ziegler’s First NFL Draft Class In Vegas

The Las Vegas Raiders have trimmed their roster down to 53 men for the start of the 2023 regular season. Despite being drafted only 18 months ago, half of the 2022 NFL Draft class did not make the initial roster. For a refresher, here is what general manager Dave Ziegler did with his first draft class:

-Rounds 1 And 2: Picks traded to Packers for WR Davante Adams

-Round 3: Dylan Parham (set to be the team’s starting left guard)

-Round 4: Zamir White (backup running back) and Neil Farrell (traded to the Chiefs for a sixth-round pick)

-Round 5: Matthew Butler (waived; re-signed to the practice squad)

-Round 7: Thayer Munford Jr. (backup right tackle) and Brittain Brown (inactive for most of 2022; out for this year after being placed on season-ending injured reserve)

While there are some potential contributors on the list, on paper, it is not a great look for the inaugural draft class of the Ziegler regime. Raider Nation is left wondering if it is already time to hit the panic button and call the 2022 class a disaster.

What Makes a “Good” NFL Draft Class?

One thing that we must accept is that the NFL Draft is, by and large, a crapshoot. “Winning” a draft doesn’t mean that all—or even most—of your picks pan out. I like to define a good draft as one that nets you at least three players who make it to a second contract.

If you can do that consistently for a decade, you will have a locker room full of veterans who have spent their entire careers with the team. This type of culture building is the ideal way to develop and create continuity, a vital aspect of a successful franchise in any sport.

Obviously, consistency and continuity have not been strengths for the Silver and Black over the last 20 years. Let’s look closer at the 2022 class. Will it buck the trend or continue to be part of the problem?

Outsiders Edge: Where There’s A “Wilson,” There’s A Way For The Las Vegas Raiders

How Does the Raiders 2022 Class Measure Up?

The Adams trade makes it difficult to judge this class by the metric that I laid out above. It is hard for any general manager to find quality players when you give up your two highest draft picks. Nevertheless, we can still factor in the Adams trade when deciding whether or not the Raiders had a good draft.

It is a win if the star wideout spends the rest of his career in Vegas while playing at a high level. One could argue that Adams’ contributions are worth two solid players. So, if the trade goes down as a success, the Raiders only need one of their draftees to make it to a second contract.

The Silver and Black originally came out of that draft with six players. Given that Farrell is gone, and Butler got waived before being brought back to the practice squad, the Raiders are essentially down to four candidates to salvage this draft class. Of those four players, we can likely rule out Brown, as he has yet to contribute anything and will have to rebound from a major injury next offseason. The odds are not in his favor.

Looking at the remaining three names, the Raiders have a good shot at getting a productive player that can stick around for a while. Parham has the best chance, as he is already an entrenched starter. Further along the offensive line, Munford appears to be pushing for a starting spot at right tackle sooner than later.

In the backfield, White has proven to be a capable rotational back. Keep in mind, all three of these guys are day two and day three picks. It is still early; they are only entering their second year in the league after all. Are we really writing them off already?

Verdict: Are We Being Too Harsh On Dave Ziegler?

The jury is still out on this NFL Draft class. Still, there is a strong chance it works out following the events of the most recent offseason. For that to happen, Adams has to stick around for the remainder of his prime years. And not only that, but he must also continue to be an All-Pro talent. Plus, at least one of these sophomores has to grow into a reliable contributor.

Both of those things are entirely plausible, if not probable, for Dave Ziegler and Co. As of now, the Raiders 2022 draft class looks more promising than the narrative surrounding it would have you believe.

*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal

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