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Las Vegas Raiders 2023 NFL Draft Review

Las Vegas Raiders 2023 NFL Draft featured top draft talent early, and an excellent late-draft building up their defensive depth.
Las Vegas Raiders 2023 NFL Draft

The Las Vegas Raiders 2023 NFL Draft is now complete. Over the next weeks and months their rookie class will report to camps and workouts, each hoping to make the team and turn around a fledgling franchise. Here is where the Las Vegas Raiders 2023 NFL Draft class fits into their immediate and long-term future.

Las Vegas Raiders 2023 NFL Draft Review Grade: 8.2/10

Las Vegas Raiders 2023 NFL Draft Review: Early Talent, Late Depth

The Best Player: Tyree Wilson

Tyree Wilson might be one of the best players in the NFL Draft, a foot injury aside. He will make an immediate impact and can become a face of the Las Vegas defence for seasons to come. Wilson is an attacking, vicious defensive end who the Raiders desperately need to sack Mahomes, Wilson, and Herbert. Wilson will immediately upgrade the Raiders defence. At number seven overall, this is one of the best picks in the NFL Draft – he fits a need, was the best player available, and is one of the few definitive impact-edge rushers in the draft.

The Head-Scratcher: Byron Young

The Raiders needed a Byron Young player, but at number 70, Young went too early. He is a rather average defensive lineman who would be a fine pick for round five. He simply lacks the athletic traits that a defensive lineman needs, and those are traits hard to coach. Young will struggle to make an immediate impact for the Raiders, which is frustrating for the Raiders considering more impactful defensive lineman were on the board at pick 70.

The Surprise: Tre Tucker

Tucker is a small receiver (5’9”, 185 lbs) and does not fit the mould of the Las Vegas, prototypical wide receiver. However, that does not mean he cannot excel. Tucker should add a new and exciting wrinkle to the Raiders offence, allowing Jimmy Garoppolo to tap into a thrilling slot receiver. Tucker runs a 4.4’ 40-yard dash, which is astonishing speed. Tucker immediately improves the offensive versatility and might feature on jet sweeps too.

The Steal: Michael Mayer

Michael Mayer at pick 35 is not the traditional “steal”; pundits projected him right around this slot. However, Mayer on the board was likely to go in the first round to the Dallas Cowboys or another tight end-needy team. Instead, he fell right into round two and the Las Vegas Raiders 2023 NFL Draft got the best Y-tight end to enter the NFL in a few seasons. Mayer will immediately improve Garoppolo’s performance and add a dynamic option to the Raiders offence. This is an immediate improvement to the Raiders and fans should be excited to see him in week one.

Most Likely to Turn Heads in Training Camp: Jakorian Bennett

Any of the aforementioned players could earn this slot. Wilson will dominate offensive lineman on the field, Tucker will run around on the field with insane speed, and Mayer will have fans feeling great about Garoppolo. However, Jakorian Bennett’s speed and athleticism will impress at training camp. At a 4.3’ 40-yard dash, he is one of the few players in the 2023 NFL Draft faster than Tre Tucker. He flocks to wide receivers and matches his speed and athleticism with precise secondary skills. Bennett is not merely an athlete, but a full package cornerback.

The Rest

Aidan O’Connell might be another candidate for the surprise of the Las Vegas Raiders 2023 NFL Draft. While the Raiders were likely to draft a quarterback, O’Connell is an unrefined passer whose upside is a backup. He went a touch early at 135th overall. O’Connell needs to improve his decision making by a convincing margin to become an adequate backup for Las Vegas.

The last three selections of the Las Vegas Raiders 2023 NFL Draft were all defenders at different levels. While not outstanding selections, they added much needed depth. Christopher Smith is a refined safety who lacks some needed athletic traits to play at the NFL level. However, his intangibles are top-form, making him very likely to become a surprise of the 2023 NFL Draft if the strength and conditioning staff give him an assist. Amari Burney is a developmental linebacker, capable of learning how to be an NFL rotational player. He is an excellent player for the Raiders depth. Nesta Jade Silvera is an excellent pass-rusher, but stands at only 6’2” with a 315 lbs body. Silvera is likely to make the Raiders squad, ensuring he will have some rotational impact on the season. This is an excellent backend of the draft for the Raiders depth chart.

Main Image: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


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