The Las Vegas Raiders did not get much from their 2022 NFL Draft class, but the expectations are higher for the 2023 class after the arrival of nine new members of the Silver and Black.
During the 2022 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders did not make a selection until the third round, adding Dylan Parham at No. 90 overall. Parham was outstanding for the team as a rookie, proving to be a key piece along their offensive line, and should go into Year 2 as a young anchor of the group going forward.
Outside of Parham, the 2022 class had no significant contributions, though many expect Zamir White to take a step forward in his second season as a backup running back.
The 2023 NFL Draft class for the Raiders has far bigger expectations, including multiple players who are expected to be starters in Year 1. Guys like Tyree Wilson, Michael Mayer, Byron Young, Christopher Smith II, and Jakorian Bennett are going to get long looks this summer, and the team's 2023 success will be decided by how much they contribute.
Raiders rookie class could be one of the best in football in 2023
Mayer was regarded as the best tight end in the draft class, so him falling into the second round made it almost impossible for the Raiders not to go up and get him. With Darren Waller being traded, the Raiders used free agency to fill that void with Austin Hooper and OJ Howard, but Mayer is not only the long-term solution, but someone who could slide into a starting role this summer.
The Raiders defensive backfield has also been atrocious in recent years, and with Bennett already shining in practice, and Smith coming off back-to-back national titles with Georgia, you have to think they are in the plans in 2023 as well. Up front along the defensive line, the defensive tackle spot needed to improve this offseason, so taking Young at pick No. 70 made a lot of sense.
Then there is No. 7 overall pick Tyree Wilson, a dominating edge rusher who joins a group headlined by one of the best in the game in Maxx Crosby. The addition of Wilson gives the Raiders a three-headed monster coming off the edge, which is more than most other NFL teams can say.
All told, nine new Raiders will enter the fray in 2023, and a solid group of them will be expected to make an immediate impact. If they can live up to expectations, the Raiders should not only be better than the media experts think this upcoming season, but could be setting themselves up for long-term success.