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  • Tarrian Rodgers

Las Vegas Raiders makes huge statement following the 2023 NFL draft

The word of the offseason for the Las Vegas Raiders brass has been patience! A lot of their fans and supporters may have not understood the front office's vision after trading some fan favorites. The Raiders have also had a rather frugal off-season adding bargain free agents but the feeling from Raider Nation is Raiders needed to add stars via the draft. Raiders hit certified home runs with their first two draft picks and were able to round out a solid first two picks with some decent value with their later picks.

The Raiders really got out of the starting gates fast, nailing their first and second round picks. Raiders selected Tyree Wilson at No. 7 and then traded up to No. 35 to get Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer. The Raiders got two quality players and two first-round talents. Tyree Wilson has long arms comparable to that of a NBA player he stands tall at 6’6 270 pounds. He should be a tremendous running mate with Maxx Crosby for years to come. As for Mayer he draws comparison to future HOF tight end Jason Witten any time you are compared to a NFL hall of famer that's never a bad thing.

The Raiders had a direct theme in this draft and that was adding more to their defense which they needed to do. They ended up with nine picks: Six defense, 3 offense, but offense all came in the top four rounds. There were some other notable themes within this draft for the Raiders as well. Two of which was prioritizing speed which seems to always follow the Raiders everywhere they go picking two of the fastest players in the draft in Maryland CB Jakorian Bennett who ran a 4.30 at the NFL combine and Cincinnati WR Tre Tucker who ran a 4.37. Bennett has the reputation as a certified lockdown corner with 27 batted balls the last two years. Tucker was one of the better return men in all of college football so Raiders prioritized special teams.

The second theme the Raiders seemed to follow was familiarity. Sixth-round pick, Florida linebacker Amari Burney is cousins with Raiders’ cornerback Brandon Facyson. Also,their coaching staff, mainly their defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, was the head coach of the senior bowl. The Raiders picked four players who played in the game. Jakorian Bennett, Nesta Jade Silvera and Tre Tucker were on his squad. Third-round pick, defensive tackle Byron Young of Alabama, and fifth-round pick, Georgia safety Christopher Smith were on the other team and Wilson was also in Mobile even though he didn’t play because of a foot injury.

Another important draft pick for the Raiders was Purdue quarterback Aiden O”Connell. O”Connell fits the mode of QB that Josh McDaniels loves: a straight pocket passer with limited speed. O’Connell offers the Raiders good height at 6”3. O'Connell owns excellent accuracy and timing, completing 66.7% of his passes with Purdue. He set a single-season school record with a 71.6% completion rate in 2021.

With the draft concluding Raiders fans should be happy with how it went I don’t however believe they are done. Their linebacker room could use some veteran leadership. Raiders could also use some veteran leadership in the secondary as well. They also didn’t address their offensive line in the draft. A prime target could be former Patriot RT Isiah Wynn.

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