Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels are still only 15 months into their tenure, but it’s no exaggeration to say the system has already reached an inflection point. After acquiring receiver Davante Adams and edge snob Chandler Jones last season and bringing most of the key contributors from the 2021 round back to the playoffs, they expected to compete in 2022. Instead, the team was massively disappointing and finished just 6-11.
In response, Ziegler and McDaniels made a change at top position when they released quarterback Derek Carr in February. They traded him to a competent starter in Jimmy Garoppolo in March, but their calculated moves in free agency made it clear that their view of the Raiders’ situation had changed dramatically.
The Raiders are unequivocally in the midst of a rebuilding process, making drafting crucial to seeing if Ziegler and McDaniels can recover from their slow start. They got a mulligan for last year’s draft – they didn’t pick until the third round after trading their first and second round picks to the Packers for Adams – but that’s no longer the case. They will own the No. 7 first-round pick — along with 11 other picks — when the NFL Draft begins Thursday.
There’s a massive first-round focus for almost every team, but it’s been exaggerated for the Raiders because of their recent history. One of the main reasons for not making their roster is the almost unimaginably poor run of first-round draft picks the franchise has endured. Of the seven first-round picks they’ve made since 2018, only two Left tackle Kolton Miller and running back Josh Jacobs remain on the active list. Moreover, their drafting in subsequent innings since then hasn’t been much better aside from home runs on Maxx Crosby and Hunter Renfrow. This isn’t Ziegler and McDaniels’ fault, but it remains a trend they just can’t let continue.
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Unsurprisingly, a large section of Raiders fans want them to start by landing a future quarterback in the first round. The general consensus among draft media analysts is that there are no fewer than four first-caliber quarterbacks: Bryce Young of Alabama, C.J. Stroud of Ohio State, Anthony Richardson of Florida, and Will Levis of Kentucky. It is important to keep in mind, however, that each team has its own grading system for odds and will have players in varying rankings based on their talent ratings, plans and needs.
Obviously, the Raiders are no different. They’ll continue their preparations until the start of the draft on Thursday — Ziegler said Friday — but they have a strong feeling for what they think about prospects. And the feeling I gathered is that they are no I think there are four quarterbacks that are guaranteed first-round picks, let alone top 10 picks.
Young is expected to go to the Panthers’ first base. And while the assumption since the end of the season has been that Texas was guaranteed to take the next-best second quarterback, the final hum may not be the case. If Young goes to the Panthers, Houston could take a second-ranked defensive position or fall back. And although Alabama rushing Will Anderson Jr. is widely regarded as the best defensive player in the draft, Terry Wilson is said to be gaining traction.
If the Texans remain to draft Wilson or Anderson, that would put the Cardinals in an interesting position. They could take a third-ranked person, but they could also take calls from teams interested in trading for the quarterback. It would seem logical that the Raiders would be one of those teams, but then again, the impression I gather is that they are not as high on the quarterback class as the others. Given the price it would take for them to move up one of their remaining quarterbacks, it seems like an unlikely outcome.
However, the Raiders should at least explore the possibility. Stroud is a typical size at 6-foot-3, 214 pounds and has shown good arm strength, touch, accuracy, and poise in college. He doesn’t create much out of the hull, but he has the athleticism, pace and pocket presence essential to extending plays to the next level. Despite questions regarding its processing ability that stem from It is said low grade In the S2 Cognition Test, his bar shows he can make checks at the line of scrimmage, handle advanced passing concepts and read defenses quickly after a snap. Plus, the Raiders aren’t a team that uses the S2 Cognition test to evaluate prospects anyway. Ziegler said the Raiders are not against facing Garoppolo in contention for the starting quarterback job this season, and would be able to push him right away in the first year.
However, it’s easy to see a more desperate team like the Colts take on the Raiders and trade fourth to third for Stroud’s services. Garoppolo may not be the long term answer, but it is a short term answer. Part of the reason he added his services this season was to avoid having to over-draft a quarterback early on. If Stroud somehow slips to the bottom five, maybe the math will change because the Seahawks are open to being traded again.
If Young and Stroud come off the plate in the first three picks as expected, it’s easy for the Raiders to justify turning their attention to another positioning group. Right tackle, edge rushing, defensive lineman and running back all make sense as alternatives. They’ll consider positions on both sides of the ball if they stay in the top 10, but likely won’t be a quarterback if Young and Stroud are gone. In a best available player approach, there may be few players ahead of them before Richardson and Levis.
Outside of Anderson and Wilson, other linebackers expected to go somewhere around that range include offensive linemen Peter Skowronski and Paris Johnson Jr., defensive tackle Jalen Carter, edge forwards Lucas Van Ness and Nolan Smith, and Christian Gonzalez and Devon Witherspoon. . Among that group, Carter, who ranks third, has the highest ranking the athlete Project analyst Dane Brugler panel. And although there were concerns inside Raiders headquarters about Carter after he pleaded no contest last month to two counts of misdemeanor racing and reckless driving after a car crash that killed teammate Devin Willock and Georgia recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy — the significance of former Raiders future Henry Ruggs doesn’t. The arrest of the third on criminal charges including a DUI resulting in death after a 2021 car crash that claimed the life of local resident Tina Tintor could be ignored – league sources said. the athlete He is still on their draft board.
The Raiders could consider moving from the seventh position to make sure they get one of the players listed above – or someone else they deem worthy – and seriously consider both offensive and defensive possibilities. In a perfect world, they’d stay at number seven and draft their desired forecast there, but that might not be realistic. This begs a follow-up question: what if they don’t trade And Are the players they’d rather be drafted into seventh off the board? The natural line of thinking for them would be to trade back and collect more draft assets this year, but the Raiders won’t trade just to do it. They have 12 picks, which already has them in line to recruit more starters than they can make to their final roster, and eight of those picks are on day three. The Raiders won’t discriminate when it comes to second-day picks, but they will. Would rather add third day picks that might be offered in future years than stock up on more late picks this year.
It should also be kept in mind that there aren’t any teams that really want to replace the seventh spot, which was the case in 2019 when the Raiders had to stay put and take Clelin Ferrell for fourth. If this were the case again, the invaders would have no choice but to choose. The good news for them is that there should be a few quality opportunities available.
If it wasn’t already obvious, this is a fluid operation for the Raiders which, obviously, is not entirely under their control as it depends on decision making by other teams. What He is It’s in their control, though, to get any first-round pick they make right.
“We put that pressure on ourselves,” Ziegler said. “I think it’s that pressure, that drive to do it right, that drive to improve the team, that’s the pressure that keeps us pushing and keeps us focused and connected.”
(Top photo of Galen Carter and Anthony Richardson: Kim Clement/USA Today)
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