The 2023 Las Vegas Raiders may have not been a playoff team, but there is no denying that they helped push the franchise in the right direction. Starting slow with Josh McDaniels as head coach, the Silver and Black kicked it into a new gear once Antonio Pierce took over, and were not eliminated from playoff contention until Week 17.
While not making the playoffs was disappointing, some players gave Raiders fans reason to believe that the arrow is pointed in the right direction. Here, we look at four guys who improved the most in 2023, and who should be a big part of the future going forward.
4 Las Vegas Raiders who improved the most in the 2023 season
When the Raiders drafted Tyree Wilson at No. 7 overall, he was supposed to help Maxx Crosby in the pass rush game. However, it was a third-year defensive end who ended up filling out that role, and becoming a real star under Pierce towards the end of the season.
Malcolm Koonce would rack up all eight of his sacks after Pierce took over the team, as Patrick Graham was allowed to cook once the change was made. Going into 2024, the Raiders have to seriously consider extending Koonce, as he could be a star in the making.
Divine Deablo was another player from that 2021 NFL Draft class that stood out in 2023, and he is going to be a long-term answer for the Raiders at linebacker. Finally healthy, Deablo showed why he was given the green dot during the summer, as he and Robert Spillane helped turn around a position group that was considered a weakness going into the season.
Deablo is another player that I would like the Raiders to extend this offseason, as they continue to build this defense for the future. If 2023 was any indication, he should be a 100-tackle linebacker for the foreseeable future.
Staying with the defense, we finally got to see Trevon Moehrig go back to his rookie form in 2023, as he flourished alongside free agent signing Marcus Epps. Moehrig is going to be a starting safety for the Raiders for a long time, and like Deablo and Koonce, he is a guy that the Raiders should consider extending this offseason.
Finally, the Raiders secondary is starting to bring in talented pieces, and Moehrig is someone who should be patrolling a deep half for the long haul. If he continues to progress like he did in 2023, then the Raiders have a guy that should be a playmaker in their defensive backfield for years.
When Josh Jacobs was injured during the Minnesota Vikings game, Pierce turned to second-year running back Zamir White, and he flourished as the starting running back. Across the final four games of the season, White posted two 100-yard games, including nearly rushing for over 150 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs on the road.
White is a guy who showed he could handle the load in 2023, and if the Raiders decide to move on from Jacobs this offseason, he will be the RB1 going into the 2024 NFL season. If the 2023 season is any indication of his potential, he is a guy who the team could lean on in a big way going forward.
Overall, there was a lot to like about the 2023 Las Vegas Raiders, and hopefully, these four players will continue to blossom into long-term solutions for the Silver and Black.