Like most of former head coach Jon Gruden‘s tenure, the Raiders started last season strong. Following their 3-2 start, though, Gruden stepped down due to revelations he made racist remarks in past emails.
Shortly after the Gruden debacle, WR Henry Ruggs III was released from the club after his decision to drink and drive, which unfortunately took someone’s life.
While the Raiders’ season appeared lost, the team rallied under interim HC Rich Bisaccia. They went a respectable 7-5 under Bisaccia, managing to win their final four games and sneak into the playoffs, where they were bounced by the eventual AFC champion Bengals.
Heading into 2022, Raiders fans have hope, especially after trading for WR Davante Adams and signing DE Chandler Jones in free agency.
The AFC West has emerged as the best division in the NFL on paper. And while it seemed like the Raiders would be left for dead, they have made personnel moves on both the player and coaching fronts to compete this upcoming season.
Raiders NFL Draft Picks 2022
- Round 3, Pick 26 (90th Overall): Dylan Parham, G, Memphis
- Round 4, Pick 17 (122nd Overall): Zamir White, RB, Georgia
- Round 4, Pick 21 (126th Overall): Neil Farrell, DT, LSU
- Round 5, Pick 32 (175th Overall): Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee
- Round 7, Pick 17 (238th Overall): Thayer Munford Jr., OT, Ohio State
- Round 7, Pick 29 (250th Overall): Brittain Brown, RB, UCLA
The 2022 Raiders draft can be summed up in one name: Davante Adams. Las Vegas traded their first-round pick (No. 22 overall) and a second-rounder (No. 53 overall ) to get arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL.
The Raiders also made a splash on the defensive line, adding pass rusher Chandler Jones and DT Bilal Nichols. Additionally, the team added depth on both sides of the football in free agency.
Still, they needed help on their offensive line and addressed this with their first pick, taking Dylan Parham out of Memphis in the third round.
Zamir White was their next pick in the fourth round, which I wasn’t thrilled about, but it makes sense. Josh Jacobs is a talented, versatile running back, but the Raiders declined to pick up his fifth-year option. With just six picks and so many other glaring needs, using two selections on running backs is fairly significant.
In the later rounds, the Raiders drafted a pair of defensive tackles in LSU’s Neil Farrell and Tennessee’s Matthew Butler. Adding some youth to their star pass-rushing duo of Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones could help this defense improve even more than it already has in the last 12 months.
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Note: The Raiders NFL Draft predictions below were published before the 2022 NFL Draft.
Pre-Draft Raiders NFL Mock Draft Predictions 2022
- Round 3, Pick 22 (86th Overall): Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska
- Round 4, Pick 21 (126th Overall): Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana
- Round 5, Pick 21 (164th Overall): Matt Henningsen, DL, Wisconsin
- Round 5, Pick 22 (165th Overall): Cade Hall, EDGE, San Jose State
More Possible Raiders Draft Targets: Mykael Wright, CB, Oregon; Andrew Stueber, OT, Michigan; Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama; Jack Coan, QB, Notre Dame
Pre-Draft Raiders Team Needs 2022
1. Defensive Line
The Raiders signed Chandler Jones, but in a corresponding move, they also traded away DE Yannick Ngakoue. With Maxx Crosby and Jones on either side, Las Vegas will pack a menacing punch for enemy quarterbacks.
While the Raiders also inked Bilal Nichols and Vernon Butler in free agency to sure up the inside of their defensive front, they could stand to get younger as veterans Jonathan Hankins, Gerald McCoy, and Solomon Thomas are all unsigned free agents.
The Raiders already traded for Rock Ya-Sin and signed Darius Phillips and Anthony Averett, but look for the team to also add a cornerback prospect in the draft.
Cornerback is one of Las Vegas’ biggest positions of need, and they failed to make a splash signing early in free agency. They could look to find a diamond-in-the-rough value piece on Day 3.
3. Offensive Tackle
Last year, the Raiders selected OT Alex Leatherwood, who didn’t live up to form in his rookie campaign. However, Leatherwood was the 17th overall pick in last year’s draft for a reason. He is raw, talented, and can still develop.
I don’t see the Raiders in panic mode just yet, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Raiders took a tackle at some point in this year’s draft, especially if one falls to a can’t-miss value.
Raiders May Also Consider Drafting: QB, LB, Safety
Although the Raiders recently signed QB Nick Mullens and DE Tashawn Bower while also re-signing DT Jonathan Hankins, I still expect them to explore draft additions at quarterback and along their defensive front.
Mullens is a quality backup, but adding a young prospect late in the draft could be wise as their No. 3 quarterback is Garrett Gilbert, who probably couldn’t cut it in the Fan Controlled Football League from what we have seen in his small stints of playing time in the NFL.
And despite the fact that the Raiders signed four defensive tackles this offseason, they can use an injection of youth at the position. With no early picks, look for the Raiders to attack the best players available in the draft.