While new Las Vegas Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce comes from a defensive background, the fact is that the offense needs some addressing this offseason. Luckily, the Silver and Black could come away with some cornerstone pieces for whoever takes over the offense.
This year’s draft class in particular could help alleviate some of the deficiencies that the Raiders battled this past season. Whether it’s Champ Kelly or Ed Dodds (or both), fixing the offensive side of the team should be the priority. Let’s face it, the offense was anemic at times. Maybe it’s time to draft a quarterback early? Let’s look at one scenario—the first two rounds in particular.
Raiders Mock Draft: Fixing The Offense
Round 1: J.C. Latham, OT, Alabama
Picking outside the “Top 10” puts the Raiders in a difficult spot. Barring a blockbuster trade involving multiple picks, the team will miss out on several quarterback prospects. Trading for Justin Fields is another option. However, the organization appears to be supporting Aidan O’Connell; if that’s the case, this gives the Raiders some flexibility. By the time it’s time for the Silver and Black to pick, addressing the offensive line would be one way to go. Enter Alabama’s J.C. Latham.
Alabama right tackle JC Latham is a SUPERSTAR.
A #NFL team is about to get a cornerstone player for the next decade+
— MLFootball (@_MLFootball) January 1, 2024
As Nick Saban’s right tackle, Latham surrendered a grand total of zero sacks. In terms of technique and effectiveness in pass-blocking, there’s arguably no one better than Latham. From a physical standpoint, this kid is a behemoth, standing at six-foot-six and weighing nearly 350 pounds. You won’t find any “size” concerns with Latham; the Raiders could plug him in from Day 1 opposite of Kolton Miller, giving themselves a formidable duo.
Of course, Latham is not a pushover in the run game. He’s your classic monster—mauling opposing blockers and collapsing the edge; his strength is simply opposing as he opens up running lanes with ease. With the right coaching and usage by the Raiders, Latham could finally shore up the right side for the next decade.
Round 2: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
Sorry folks, I know this isn’t what you want to hear. Raiders fans might need to temper their expectations. Of course, the chance always exists that whoever is running the team on draft day might want to make a splash. A realistic scenario would involve Bo Nix hearing his name called in the second round.
Unlike the names everyone knows, such as Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, Nix has been somewhat of an afterthought. However, he’s a special athlete in his own right. The former Oregon Duck possesses sufficient arm strength that’ll translate to the NFL while also having solid accuracy. Unlike O’Connell, the Raiders could have a signal-caller in Nix that doesn’t shy away from making plays outside the pocket—this won’t be Josh McDaniels’ offense anymore.
A combination of being able to escape the pocket and making tight throws while also threatening to throw it deep downfield would be a refreshing sight for Raiders fans. Surrounding Nix with Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, and Michael Mayer could be an interesting recipe, depending on which playcaller gets the keys.