The 2023 Las Vegas Raiders may not have reached their ultimate goal of reaching the playoffs, but you have to think they are set up for some long-term success. It is likely that Antonio Pierce and Champ Kelly shed the interim labels this offseason, and are named head coach and general manager, respectively, but those are just the first two big decisions Mark Davis has to make.
While Kelly and Pierce thrived in their interim roles last season, Bo Hardegree struggled in a big way at times, and may not be ready to take on offensive coordinator duties full time. He has a bright future in the NFL, but the Raiders should look at other options for 2024, and there are some exciting candidate available.
When it comes to defensive coordinator, that answer is an easy one, as the Raiders should do everything they can to bring back Patrick Graham. The veteran coordinator took the Raiders defense to new heights last season, and with most of his starting lineup returning, making sure that Graham stays with the Silver and Black has to be priority No. 1.
Las Vegas will have to work hard to keep him, as he is getting head coaching interviews around the league, and they could be wise to make him an Assistant Head Coach to go along with his defensive coordinator role. He was an Assistant Head Coach in his previous stop with the New York Giants, and at only 44-years old, his time is coming for a full-time head coaching job.
Raiders defense in a strong position going into 2024
As we stated earlier, Graham's near entire defense will be returning next season, though there are some names we would like seen brought back in free agency. Adam Butler played extremely well down the stretch for Las Vegas, and should be a key defensive tackle next season, while the team could also bring back Bilal Nichols at the position group.
Amik Robertson is the only key defensive back hitting free agency, and the linebacker group is likely to all return in 2024. Of course, the defense is led by Maxx Crosby, who seems to have a strong relationship with both Pierce and Graham, and keeping Madd Maxx happy has become a priority in Las Vegas.
The Raiders have holes to fill on the roster, and a coaching staff to fill out, so one thing they cannot afford is a proven coordinator to leave for another job. If Graham gets a head coaching job, then he is gone, but if he is going to be a defensive coordinator next season, the Raiders losing him to another franchise would be an absolute nightmare.