Returning to Raiders is Patrick Graham's best path to be an NFL head coach

The Las Vegas Raiders defense finished in the top-10 last season, and it bolstered the resume of defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Las Vegas Raiders battled through another up-and-down season in 2023, failing to miss the playoffs, but playing solid football down the stretch. Throughout the season, we saw growth on both sides of the ball, but none more than what we saw from this Raiders defense.

Led by a possible future Hall of Famer in Maxx Crosby, the Raiders defense finished in the top-10 in the NFL this past season, way exceeding expectations going into the year. In his second season as defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham got numerous players to take a big step forward, solidifying himself as one of the best in the game at his position.

After two years in Las Vegas, the stock is way up on Graham, and other teams have noticed the job he has done. Team owner Mark Davis has shot down an opportunity for Graham to interview with another franchise as a defensive coordinator, but he will interview with the Los Angeles Chargers for their vacant head coaching job.

Graham came to the Raiders from New York, where he was an assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Giants. Though he will yield interviews for head coaching spots this offseason, he may be a year away from getting a job, and staying in Las Vegas is his best path to lock down a head coaching gig in 2025.

Raiders defense should bolster Graham's resume even more in 2024

There is no doubt that Graham is a defensive genius, and I would not be shocked at all if a team was blown away by him and gave him a head coaching job even this offseason. If that were the case, it would be a no-brainer for him to take the job, but if he will be a defensive coordinator in 2024, Las Vegas is the place to be.

Las Vegas will name a new full-time head coach this offseason, and whether or not that is Antonio Pierce should not deter Graham from staying with the Raiders. He has built this defense up on all three levels with his players, and going to a new franchise would mean new players, and probably another year to get things right.

The defense has most of their elite talent coming back in 2024, making it the perfect spot for Graham to continue to bolster his head coaching resume. If he places these Raiders back in the top-10 on defense in 2024, you have to think numerous teams will be looking to him as a head coach candidate, and I believe he is ready to take on that kind of responsibility.