Should Nesta Jade Silvera Start As A Rookie For The Raiders?

Should Nesta Jade Silvera Start As A Rookie For The Raiders?

The seventh round of an NFL Draft is typically where NFL front offices make some dart throws. The strategy that late in the event is to bet on singular high-end traits to find rotational players. Las Vegas Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler is no stranger to looking in obscure places to find talent. Nesta Jade Silvera is already making Ziegs look brilliant for taking the chance on him at No. 231 overall.

Nesta Jade Silvera: A Sleeper To Start In Year 1?

Full disclosure: I didn’t watch much tape of Silvera at Arizona State. And what I did watch was less than spectacular, to put it mildly. While his strength jumped off the screen, the raw product lacked the polish and refinement necessary to be a starting NFL lineman.

Evidently, NFL teams agreed with that assessment, as the Sun Devil alum fell all the way to Round 7 at April’s NFL Draft. Still, the Raiders saw enough upside to take a chance on Silvera, and to the youngster’s credit, he has made the most of the opportunity.

From the minute Silvera arrived at Raiders training camp, his fiery demeanor and impressive motor commanded the respect of his peers. Often, the first-year player would abuse his assignment, pulverizing them into the ground or blowing by them from the interior.

Beat writers began taking notice immediately. Some even said it was likely that Silvera would earn a roster spot based on his training camp play. In the preseason, the 315-pound bowling ball continued wrecking opponents with ease. The most promising aspect I watched was his improved hand usage and consistency at the point of attack.

The Raiders Coaching Staff Deserves Credit

In college, Silvera succeeded by outmuscling the other offensive line. In the NFL, it will require more nuance. Luckily, the Raiders coaching staff has seemingly made substantial progress in this area, so much so that it became a forgone conclusion that Silvera would make the 53-man roster.

When news of Neil Farrell’s trade to the Chiefs broke early on Tuesday, the writing was on the wall. To the surprise of no one in the Raiders’ building, Silvera did, indeed, seize a roster spot.

Now that he has gotten his foot in the door, it is up to the rookie to continue his ascension. Vegas currently lists Bilal Nichols and Jerry Tillery as the starters at defensive tackle. However, anyone who watched Nichols and Tillery in 2022 knows that either spot is ripe for the picking.

Silvera, after a strong offseason, could force Patrick Graham’s hand early in the year. With fellow rookie Byron Young regaining health and returning to practice, there’s a strong possibility that both first-year players crack the starting lineup by the season’s end. When you factor in Tyree Wilson as an inside-out threat, the Raiders have the pieces to be a dominant defensive front. Maxx Crosby is licking his chops as we speak.

Should Silvera Start? Not Yet, But Soon Enough

It is time to prove that this success from the preseason can carry over to the “games that actually matter”. Nesta Jade Silvera is laying a strong foundation for a breakout rookie campaign. He may not open the season as a starter, but Nicols and Tillery better have eyes in the back of their heads. Silvera is a man on a mission.

*Top Photo: via Nesta Jade Silvera’s official X account (@NJS_ERA)

Join The Ramble Email List

error: Nice Try!
Subscribe to RaiderRamble

Get updates from RaiderRamble via email:

Join 6,247 other subscribers