The Las Vegas Raiders 2022 NFL Draft class weighs a total of 1,685 lbs., with no player below 200 lbs; and only the two running backs selected weigh close to 200 lbs. The Raiders spent four of the six draft picks taking players at the line of scrimmage – two offensive, two defensive. Las Vegas clearly wants to dominate the line of scrimmage in the competitive AFC West while pounding other teams with an improved running game.
Josh McDaniels’ 2022 NFL Draft, his first as the Las Vegas Raiders head coach, set a philosophical tone for the direction he will improve the team on. The passing game should be electric with Derrick Carr throwing to former college teammate Davante Adams. The draft aimed to improve the battle at the line of scrimmage, and they accomplished just that.
- Third round, 90th overall: Dylan Parham, Offensive Guard, Memphis
- Fourth round, 122nd overall: Zamir White, Running Back, Georgia
- Fourth round, 126th overall: Neil Farrell, Defensive Tackle, LSU
- Fifth round, 175th overall: Matthew Butler, Defensive Tackle, Tennessee
- Seventh round, 238th overall: Thayer Munford Jr., Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
- Seventh round, 250th overall: Brittain Brown, Running Back, UCLA
Las Vegas Raiders 2022 NFL Draft Grade: 9/10
READ MORE: Falcons NFL Draft Review
Las Vegas Raiders 2022 NFL Draft Review
The Best Player: Dylan Parham
Dylan Parham might be a smaller guard (311 lbs.), but plays like a big one. He has incredible muscle mass and punches defenders into linebackers. He has the intelligence to work against defenders if he gets beat and understands the flow of the pocket. Parham creates running lanes for his backs and uses his hips to direct defenders. While defenders fighting from the gap may re-direct him on occasion, he has all the attributes the Raiders could ask for.
Parham will learn quickly in the NFL, originally signing onto Memphis as a blocking tight-end. He proved good enough in blocking to move to the offensive line and bulk up. His ‘smaller-size’ may not be that big of a problem considering he knows how to unlock and leverage defenders. If he continues to improve in the fundamentals, Parham can help re-create the Raiders offensive line in the 2022 season.
The Head-Scratcher: Two Running backs
The Raiders draft addressed their position of needs. Two running backs, however, is a slight surprise considering they could have addressed some secondary concerns or taken a flier on a speed receiver in round seven. Regardless, the Raiders deemed their ground attack of paramount importance, and selected Zamir White and Brittain Brown to help. This head-scratcher may not be so head-scratching if McDaniels shows how much the team has improved on the ground in week one.
The Surprise: Thayer Munford Jr.
Munford is not as much as a ‘surprise’ for the Raiders selecting him – the theme was line of scrimmage – but that he was still available at pick 238. While he started for all four-years, he struggles in some fundamentals and developed bad habits with his feet. Yet, he started at Ohio State and some teams passing over him is more damning of what they think of their offensive line coaching, not Munford.
The new Raiders staff will need to help Munford secure his fundamentals and grow into NFL techniques. He has the non-teachable traits, so his success may largely depend on how much he absorbs from coaches, and how much coaches can help him. He could easily be the steal of the draft if he needs to start in a backup role, or as a starter in the 2023 season.
The Steal: Neil Farrell
Neil Farrell may grow into a defensive tackle who can reset the line of scrimmage. If he does, the Las Vegas Raiders acquired a steal of the 2022 NFL Draft class. Farrell can play as a violent run defender, and unexpectedly pop running backs. He is a massive human being, although some of that ‘mass’ could be converted to more muscle (‘easily’ done in the NFL with the willingness to work in the weight room).
He is too slow and unathletic to be a pass rusher, but that does not mean re-working him in the weight room could not lead to him developing those traits. Farrell has plenty of upside even if he simply maintains his role as a rush defender. The Raiders boosted their line of scrimmage by adding him in round four.
Most Likely to Turn Heads in Training Camp: Zamir White
Zamir “Zeus” White runs a 4.4’ 40-yard dash, has a 33.5 vertical, and runs at 214 lbs. He worked in a committee back at Georgia, but some are comparing him to Maurice Jones-Drew. White has two big knocks. First, he suffered two ACL tears. Second, he does not move too creatively and has a hard time getting around defenders. That is, he might just opt to move through them.
White is a daring and passionate runner. Defenders struggle to get a hand on him and he cuts swiftly. He is a leader in the locker room and has a passion for challenging anyone in the game of football. If the Raiders asked him to play offensive line, he would probably lose, but would be one of the nastiest on the team. His physicality could make for a shorter-career due to the wear and tear. Yet, with new age medical care and trainers who understand how to rehabilitate, White could become the Raiders best player from the 2022 NFL Draft and help to redefine the line of scrimmage with his physicality.
Matthew Butler (Pick 175) from Tennessee is the other defensive tackle the Raiders selected. His skills likely slot him as a rotational player on the Raiders front. He brings enough effort to athletically engage guards and has the frame to add additional weight and strength.
Brittain Brown (Pick 250) stands at 6’1”, 205 lbs. as another runner who loves contact. He loves the game of football and works exceptionally hard per teammates at UCLA. While his running does not have the technique for a solid NFL prospect, his initial burst and dedication to the game deserve a chance to showcase in an NFL training camp and pre-season.