Las Vegas Raiders NFL Draft Grades 2023: Raiders Trade Up for Jakorian Bennett and Aidan O’Connell on Day 3

    What are the Las Vegas Raiders' grades for their selections in the 2023 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

    There’s been wholesale changes to the Las Vegas Raiders roster — including at the quarterback position — and the 2023 NFL Draft allowed Josh McDaniels to fill several significant roster holes. Did they succeed? The Raiders’ draft grades tell the story of how Las Vegas’ 2023 NFL Draft unfolded.

    Las Vegas Raiders NFL Draft Grades

    Round 1, Pick 7: Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

    When you play in an AFC West division that contains Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes, you better be able to impact the passing game either with your pass rush or a ball-hawking cornerback. Both options were on the table for the Raiders when on the clock at No. 7 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

    MORE: 100% FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator

    Once considered a potential second-overall selection in a late process ascent reminiscent of Travon Walker in last year’s cycle, the Raiders snag Tyree Wilson to form a formidable pass-rush duo with Maxx “The Condor” Crosby. The Texas Tech EDGE is a built-in-a-lab physical specimen, with the size, length, power, and speed profile making Wilson a mouth-watering prospect.

    Grade: A-

    Round 2, Pick 35: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

    The Raiders swapped second-round picks with the Colts and shipped No. 141 overall to Indianapolis to snag a falling star. Michael Mayer was the top-rated tight end on my personal big board, offering a complete package at the tight end position. While he didn’t test anything like an elite athlete, the Notre Dame playmaker has enough straight-line speed and lateral agility from his impressive frame to be a mismatch nightmare in the passing game.

    Mayer’s catch-point prowess formed of body control and advanced technique makes him a dangerous weapon as a receiving option. Meanwhile, he’s a willing and able blocker who routinely squares up and walls off pass rushers as a protector and plays with a nasty demeanor in the ground game.

    Grade: A-

    Round 3, Pick 70: Byron Young, DT, Alabama

    The Raiders continue to build their defensive front. After snagging Tyree Wilson with their first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, they turn their attention to the interior with the selection of Alabama defensive tackle Byron Young. While he’s not the biggest DT in the class at 6’3” and under 300 pounds, Young is blessed with impressive length that allows him to win on the interior in a multitude of ways.

    When he extends, he’s able to use the length and power to manipulate offensive linemen out of the way. Powerful and explosive, he can impact the game as a pass rusher — important in the AFC West — but is already a refined component in the run game.

    Grade: B

    Round 3, Pick 100: Tre Tucker, WR, Cincinnati

    Calling Tre Tucker a wide receiver is a disservice to the impact he’s had for the Cincinnati Bearcats. He’s an all-around weapon — a 5’9″ pocket rocket who ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at the 2023 NFL Combine. Meanwhile, he possesses the explosive vertical athleticism that helps him elevate himself above his diminutive frame.

    While his ability to win with speed and twitchy route running out of the slot will excite, he also adds significant special-teams excellence as a kick returner. That will likely be his early role for the Raiders, but his magic with the ball in his hands should soon see him expand his usage.

    Grade: B+

    Round 4, Pick 104: Jakorian Bennett, CB, Maryland

    The Raiders traded up to the top of the fourth round to address their cornerback need with Jakorian Bennett. A little shorter at 5’10” but an incredible athlete, the Maryland CB boasts the physicality you expect from the Raiders.

    Grade: B

    Round 4, Pick 135: Aidan O’Connell, QB, Purdue

    With a run of quarterbacks in the fourth round, the Las Vegas Raiders traded up to snag Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell. A player who was heavily touted by the Shrine Bowl during the process, O’Connell has gone from walk-on to productive college football player to NFL player.

    MORE: Overall Team Grades for the 2023 NFL Draft

    He’s a smart quarterback who showcases a decent arm, with the ability to get the ball out with a quick release. He’ll learn under Jimmy G before challenging for the starting role down the line.

    Grade: B

    Round 5, Pick 170: Christopher Smith II, S, Georgia

    The Raiders sent the 204th and 220th picks in the 2023 NFL Draft to the New York Jets, jumping up to snag Georgia safety Christopher Smith II. Smith has plenty of enticing athletic upside. He’s a fluid mover with the play speed to patrol the deep third. Smith has also flashed impressive play diagnosis skills as an important part of the Georgia defense.

    Grade: B+

    Round 6, Pick 203: Amari Burney, LB, Florida

    Amari Burney earned a sixth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft after the most productive season of his five years with the Florida Gators. His nine tackles for loss and four sacks last year showcased his ability to utilize his straight-line speed and lateral agility to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.

    Burney also offers some coverage ability. He’ll likely be a special teams contributor for the Raiders.

    Grade: C+

    Round 7, Pick 231: Nesta Jade Silvera, DT, Arizona State

    The Raiders double up at a position of need late in the 2023 NFL Draft, landing Arizona State defensive tackle Nesta Jade Silvera in Round 7 The 6’2”, 308-pound former Miami Hurricane is as tough as they come, making him a character fit for the interior of the Raiders’ defensive front.

    Silvera’s short, stout, stature gives him a leverage advantage in the trenches. However, he’ll need to find some pass-rush refinement to be an impact-maker as a pass rusher due to below-average arm length for a DT.

    Grade: C+

    What Were the Raiders’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?

    • C, DT, G, CB

    If Jimmy Garoppolo survives in Las Vegas, it’ll be because the Raiders fixed their offensive line this offseason. Brandon Parker gives Vegas depth at offensive tackle, but center and right guard could use upgrades.

    Maybe Thayer Munford develops into a starter, and maybe Netane Muti finally figures it out, but because Garoppolo is the furthest thing in the NFL to a creator, they must protect him well. The Raiders’ need at cornerback never seems to cease as well.

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