Raiders 2023 NFL Draft: Trading down for an elite DT on Day 1
By Brad Weiss
The Las Vegas Raiders have a few big needs heading into the 2023 NFL Draft, and they won’t have to use the No. 7 overall pick to fill one.
The 2023 NFL Draft is a few weeks away, and as we inch closer to the first round, we are seeing all of the moves made by general manager David Ziegler. Coming off a six-win season in 2022, we knew the roster was going to go through quite an overhaul, and it started at the top with them replacing Derek Carr with Jimmy Garoppolo.
Since then, the Raiders have been adding some quality pieces, while also bringing back some familiar faces, like offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor. With the Main Show returning, the offensive tackle spot may not be such a big need in this draft season, but help is needed at offensive guard.
Looking at the other side of the trenches, Las Vegas has an elite edge rusher in Maxx Crosby, but the interior leaves much to be desired. Defensive tackle has to be a big priority for the Silver and Black this draft season, and to get an instant starter, as well as an elite player, they may not have to use the No. 7 overall pick.
In fact, Las Vegas should think about trading out of No. 7 if they do not have a quarterback in mind, and move back to the middle of the first round to get an elite defensive tackle.
Raiders could find gold at DT in the middle of the first round
Jalen Carter is widely considered the top defensive tackle in this draft class, but he does not come without baggage. He has had issues off the field during the draft process, and in his workouts, he has looked overweight and out of shape.
After Carter, a few big names still remain, and most of them should be available outside of the first ten picks this April. Clemson’s Bryan Bresee, Pitt’s Calijah Kancey, and Michigan’s Mazi Smith are all guys who could come in and significantly upgrade the Raiders’ defensive tackle spot in Year 1, and all could be had in the second half of the first round.
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Of course, if Carter is still available at No. 7, and the team has done their research and feels comfortable picking him, they would be getting the best player in the position group. However, if there are defensive tackles they like more, and can move down in the first to grab another Day 2 pick, that may be the right way to build this roster back up.