The 2023 NFL Draft only ended a couple of weeks ago, and the Las Vegas Raiders came away with some potential defensive playmakers. That said, it’s never too early to look at the next season’s draft class and who could potentially be a fit for the Silver and Black. The Raiders will roll into next season with some pretty clear-cut needs, and, depending on the play of some players this year, could add to that list. So, here it is, a way way way too early mock draft (Picks based on Super Bowl Odds)
Round 1, Pick 11: Defensive Tackle- Jer’Zhan Newton, Illinois
- We know about Jartavius Martin, Kerby Joseph and Devon Witherspoon for the Illinois defense, but Jer’Zhan Newton is another notable name that deserves attention. The 6-4, 300 pound defensive tackle racked up an immense 61 tackles, 15 for loss, six sacks, 55 pressures and 34 stops last year in only 667 snaps. Newton is sheer power and imposes his will upon anyone on the interior line. He’s got a high motor and is simply stronger than almost every lineman. The Raiders have far too long needed interior pressure and Newton would give them that, adding to a defensive line with Maxx Crosby, Tyree Wilson, Chandler Jones, and Byron Young.
Round 2, Pick 43: Quarterback- J.J. McCarthy, Michigan
- The Raiders land their quarterback of the future in McCarthy. The 6-3, 200 pound gunslinger is slightly off from the typical Josh McDaniels quarterback prototype given his scrambling ability with a career 430 yards and seven touchdowns. McCarthy is an efficient passer who makes the big time play and has a strong arm with good accuracy. He can effectively run an offense, and give his weapons a chance. McCarthy has a career 63.5% completion rate and 106.4 QBR. He tossed 3,225 yards and 27 touchdowns with only seven interceptions in 242 attempts. He limits the turnovers and creates plays with his legs, at only 21 years old by draft, he’d be able to sit a year behind Jimmy Garoppolo. It’d be hard to fail with Davante Adams, Michael Mayer, Hunter Renfrow and Jakobi Meyers.
Round 3, Pick 75: Linebacker- Tommy Eichenberg, Ohio State
- The third straight Big Ten pick is a stout linebacker to give the Raiders a solidified starting linebacker. Eichenberg, the brother of Miami Dolphins guard Liam Eichenberg, posted 120 tackles, 13 for loss, three sacks, an interception, a touchdown, five breakups and two forced fumbles in 13 games last year. He also added 22 pressures, 65 stops and only allowed an 87.5 QBR and 160 yards on 29 targets. Eichenberg is a physical run defender with rangy tools, and he’s shown the ability to drop into zone coverage or flip his hips and run stride for stride with a tight end. He’s a physical player who fills the Raiders’ mentality of run defense and high effort.
Round 4, Pick 106: Cornerback- Cam Hart, Notre Dame
- The Raiders continue addressing the defense with the addition of a potential shutdown corner. Hart is 6-2, 210 with a potential high 4.4, low 4.3 40-yard dash, and it’s a shock if he’s on the board here. The 20-year-old only posted 25 tackles and four breakups in 2022 but allowed a 55.4 QBR in coverage with just 22 receptions for 240 yards, and a touchdown allowed on 44 targets. Hart is a physical man press corner who has the ball skills you want (four career interceptions and 13 breakups). He’s consistently showing fluid hips and the ability to bump and run, he can defend the run and has all the traits of a starting outside corner in the NFL.
Round 5, Pick 138: Cornerback- Aydan White, NC State
- Another defender, this time from the ACC. If you don’t know Aydan White’s name, you should keep an eye on him this year. White had a career year in 2022, posting 46 tackles, five for loss, four interceptions, nine breakups and a touchdown. In coverage, he allowed 38 receptions for 418 yards, zero touchdowns and a 47.7 QBR off an outstanding 77 targets. White is a fluid corner who has speed to run deep and can work both the slot and nickel. He plays the ball in the air and has an incredibly physical skill set. White loves to jam receivers and get aggressive at the point of attack. The Raiders can slide him between both outside and inside corner, and with all but one corner under contract for 2024, it’s not hard to see the Raiders adding more than two in the draft.
Round 7, Pick 200: Linebacker- Jason Henderson, Old Dominion
- Adding defensive talent is never a bad thing, and Henderson adds another body to the linebacker core. Last year, Henderson recorded 16 tackles in a single game six different times, posting an FBS leading 186 tackles with 11 for loss and four breakups along with 63 stops in 12 games. Henderson is a pure run defender and has a strong frame at 6-2, 220 with sideline to sideline speed. He closes gaps well and doesn’t miss a tackle. In coverage, he struggled in man but excelled in zone. Over his career he’s allowed 37 receptions for 382 yards, two touchdowns and a 110.1 QBR off 49 targets. The coverage can be fixed, but it’s rare to find a run defender of that level, the Raiders add another guy to their linebacker room and hope to finally find a solidified unit.
Round 7, Pick 205: Running Back- Nate Noel, Appalachian State
- I’m tapping into my Sun Belt roots, taking another conference star in Nate Noel. The 5-10 running back is likely to run a 4.3 40-yard dash, which could propel him higher. Noel has posted a career 368 rushes for 2,242 yards and 13 touchdowns, while adding 34 receptions for 186 yards. Noel has been a breakaway threat with 60 10-plus yard rushes and 29 for more than 15 yards. He’s forced 110 missed tackles and is shifty in space with elite vision and speed. The Raiders are going to run a committee even with Josh Jacobs, and Noel adds another big play threat to the room with receiving upside.
Round 7, Pick 207: Interior Offensive Lineman- Willie Lampkin, UNC
- Lampkin was a force for Coastal Carolina before transferring to UNC, where he will likely continue making games stressful for the interior. At 6-2, 275 he’s undersized, but it hasn’t stopped him in his career. Lampking has posted 1,025 career pass blocking snaps allowing just three sacks and 21 pressures with 1442 snaps at left guard and 750 at center. He’s a pure power center with a wide base, fluid footwork and violent hands. Lampkin knows how to use leverage, and he keeps his pads at a good level to drive defenders back. The Raiders at worst can use versatile interior depth and have a chance to find a developmental starter down the board in Lampkin.
Round 7, Pick 220: Safety- Ja’Had Carter, Ohio State
- The final pick is spent on, no surprise here, defense and again from the Big Ten. Carter transferred from Syracuse after a career year which saw him post 36 tackles, three interceptions, nine breakups, and a ninety yard scoop and score. In coverage, the 6-3, 200 pound safety allowed 22 receptions for 169 yards, a touchdown and 51.2 QBR off 34 targets. Carter is a box safety who can slide around, playing 650 snaps at dime linebacker, 471 at true safety, and 526 in the slot. The Raiders are looking for versatility on defense along with a natural cover player. Carter likes to hit hard and fits the Raider mentality. At worst, he’s more depth.
For more NFL content, check out the links below!
–Ranking the Las Vegas Raiders 2023 UDFAs Roster Odds
–Top Five 2024 NFL Draft Eligible Wide Receivers