Starting with the No. 7 overall pick this past April, the Las Vegas Raiders went into the 2023 NFL Draft with a purpose. The goal was to not only improve the roster at positions of need, but take the best player available when possible, and not just sit around and wait for their turn to pick.
Moving up and down on Days 2 and 3, the Raiders swung for the fences, adding a draft haul that ended with nine new members of the Raiders organization. From an elite edge rusher, to a potential game-breaking tight end, the early returns were outstanding, and overall, the team may have added at least four potential starters for the 2023 season.
Over the past few years, the Raiders have struggled to get anything of real substance from their draft classes. Last year, Dylan Parham was their first selection, a pick that did not happen until the third round, and he played well as a rookie, starting all 17 games.
Outside of Parham, the 2022 class did not do much in terms of production, but the 2023 class has a chance to be one of the best in football this season.
Las Vegas Raiders rookie class could be very special
Tyree Wilson is expected to come in and make an impact right away playing alongside Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones at defensive end, but he is not the only potential playmaker that was brought in on defense. Jakorian Bennett has turned heads this spring, and should be in a battle for a starting job, while Christopher Smith II will have every opportunity to make an impact at safety.
Byron Young was a third-round pick of the Raiders, and he joins a position group that needs an injection of talent at defensive tackle. Overall, the defense could have as many as four potential impact players from the 2023 NFL Draft in Year 1 alone.
On Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Raiders traded up for Michael Mayer, and he is likely going to be the No. 1 option at the tight end position this season. While Tre Tucker seems like a man without a home right now, you never know what will happen with Hunter Renfrow as we inch towards training camp, so he could be utilized at wide receiver or in the return game as a rookie.
Overall, this is a solid group of draft picks, which is huge for a general manager in his second season, and looking to reshape the roster the way he wants it. Of course, the coaching staff has to put the pieces together, but when you look at this draft class as a whole, you have to like the direction Dave Ziegler went this draft season.