Facebook Pixel

    Las Vegas Raiders 2023 Draft Prospects To Target at NFL Combine Include Anthony Richardson, Dawand Jones, and Marvin Mims

    The Las Vegas Raiders must target these 2023 NFL Draft prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine this week as they reshape their roster for next season.

    The Las Vegas Raiders have been aggressively filling roster needs through both the draft and free agency over the last two years. We’re breaking down the top 2023 NFL Draft prospects for the Raiders to target at the NFL Combine.

    Raiders 2023 Draft Prospects To Target at NFL Combine

    The Raiders have a high-stakes offseason coming up. The player they counted on performing well in 2022 with a new extension, quarterback Derek Carr, is already off the roster. The player who they held off on paying, running back Josh Jacobs, broke out in a contract year.

    While Jacobs told Pro Football Talk that he’s willing to play on the franchise tag if the Raiders load up on offense around him, he’ll also play the “villain” as he chases a new contract if the team fails. Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels will have a hard time improving their roster if they have to replace Carr and Jacobs.

    MORE: Las Vegas Raiders Offseason Preview

    Ziegler, who committed over $440 million in new contracts last offseason, has already shifted his roster-building philosophy as he enters Year 2. “The overarching goal is improving the homegrown talent”, he told The Athletic’s Tashan Reed. The best way to do that is to add talent in the draft.

    Currently, the Raiders have a total of nine draft picks. Here are 10 draft prospects Las Vegas should monitor closely at the NFL Combine as they form their draft board.

    QB Anthony Richardson, Florida

    Though McDaniels has reportedly shown a preference for a “strong veteran” at quarterback next season instead of a rookie, the Raiders may not have much of a pool to select from. If Aaron Rodgers, Geno Smith, and Lamar Jackson stay where they are, that leaves Jimmy Garoppolo as the top unrestricted free agent quarterback. While it’d be a nice reunion story, Garoppolo isn’t an upgrade on Carr.

    Adding a developmental rookie along with a veteran makes sense for the future of the franchise. Florida’s Anthony Richardson is a divisive prospect as box score scouts pick apart his 54.7% completion rate and one year of starting experience. However, a closer analysis of Richardson revealed an instinctual passer who has all of the tools needed to become a terrific NFL QB in time.

    McDaniels hasn’t previously worked with someone as physically gifted as Richardson is, but he could fall in love with his explosive skill set. If Richardson can improve his accuracy and continue building on his strengths, he has the ability to be a top-five NFL difference-maker.

    QB Will Levis, Kentucky

    Like Richardson, Kentucky’s Will Levis won’t blow you away statistically. He’s another tools-based prospect who needs more refinement and consistency. But his peaks are so intriguing that if he can be developed, Levis can be a very good starter.

    It seems more likely that McDaniels would want to coach Levis based on their experiences in play-action-heavy offenses that ask the quarterback to reset his eyes and feet often. Spread quarterbacks have to adjust to being under center, costing time and reps in practice. That may not work for a staff and front office concerned about their job status in future years.

    A strong combine from Levis would require his accuracy and touch to be improved from a down 2022 season and show the ability to take to coaching. If he can prove those things in front of McDaniels, the Raiders may prioritize Levis if they get the chance to draft him.

    EDGE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa

    The Raiders don’t have an immediate need for an edge defender since they’re locked into Chandler Jones’ $19.3 million cap hit in 2023. However, with Jones massively underperforming last year, there’s room for a rookie to split reps with him this season if Jones doesn’t bounce back. Considering he’s 33, the Raiders need a replacement plan sooner than later anyway.

    The most interesting EDGE the Raiders have to watch is Lukas Van Ness. The Iowa product has strong, heavy hands that jar blockers back into the lap of quarterbacks. The 6’5″, 246-pounder produced 13 sacks and 19 tackles for loss over the last two years.

    Van Ness has to show the quickness and first step that successful NFL EDGEs have. Winning with power is acceptable for role players, but the plus starters can threaten offenses with multiple approaches, and the jury is out on whether Van Ness can do that.

    LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas

    Denzel Perryman was able to give the Raiders solid production over his two seasons with the franchise considering his career was on life alert before he arrived. But the team can upgrade on the run-thumper with a more dynamic presence. One player who can vault up is Arkansas’ Drew Sanders.

    Sanders had only one year of significant playing time in college, as he barely saw the field for Alabama before transferring to Arkansas in 2022. He was an immediate star for the Razorbacks, as his 6’5″, 230-pound frame flew around the field. His stat line was absurd, producing 103 tackles, 9.5 sacks, five pass deflections, and three forced fumbles.

    A good Combine should put Sanders firmly into the mix for the Raiders’ second-round pick. A great showing could lock him into the first round.

    LB Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama

    If Sanders is off the board, the Raiders need a backup plan. Another former Alabama linebacker, Henry To’oTo’o, should also be on their radar. He put together two solid seasons with Nick Saban after transferring from Tennessee, totaling 205 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

    MORE: Top Storylines To Watch Ahead of the 2023 NFL Combine

    Unlike Sanders, To’oTo’o must prove his speed and range for coverage viability. He’s a hammer against the run and can be a long-term starter in the right scheme, but he’s also not too different from Perryman in that regard. To’oTo’o has to show he can be a plus starter and not just a guy who every team would prefer to upgrade eventually.

    OT Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland

    If the Raiders continue to run a passing game that relies heavily on deeper attempts, they have to properly invest in the offensive line. Left tackle Kolton Miller is a star, and 2022 third-round guard Dylan Parham has developmental promise. But the right side of the line needs addressing.

    Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan is enormous, standing 6’6″ and 330 pounds. He’s heavily experienced and has solid athleticism on film, but it’s clear his hand usage and reaction to pass-rush moves are lacking. Miller entered the NFL with similar concerns but still blossomed with hard work and coaching.

    Duncan would have to flip to the ride side for the Raiders, but I love how his road-grading skill set can help his transition in Year 1. A solid Combine can push Duncan into the top-50 mix — if he’s not there already.

    OT Dawand Jones, Ohio State

    The best pure right tackle in the class is Dawand Jones. Jones is a massive 6’8″, 375-pounder who dominated at Ohio State. He’s a surprisingly good athlete considering his size. His ability to bulldoze defenders in the run game was expected, but he effectively uses his wingspan to protect the edge of the pocket from speed rushes.

    The NFL generally doesn’t value right tackles extremely high, otherwise Jones would be a consensus top-15 pick in this class. The Raiders might need to get lucky to land him in the second round.

    WR Marvin Mims, Oklahoma

    There’s no question this Raiders team is top-heavy. Ziegler has to address the lack of depth at receiver behind Davante Adams after seeing Mack Hollins start and Hunter Renfrow miss extended time with injuries throughout 2022. The unit couldn’t withstand the lack of a solid second receiver.

    Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims is smaller, standing 5’11” and 177 pounds, but he was productive throughout his collegiate career thanks to his quickness. He caught 123 passes for 2,398 yards and 20 touchdowns. Most notable was his incredible 19.5 yards-per-reception average.

    His explosive first steps create separation within seconds, which is something Hollins and Keelan Cole couldn’t do. His size may cause him to be available late Day 2 or Day 3, which would be a strong value for a rotational receiver.

    CB Garrett Williams, Syracuse

    Though Syracuse hasn’t been known for churning out NFL prospects, especially on defense, in quite some time, cornerback Garrett Williams is a legitimate one. He tore his ACL midseason, though, meaning his Combine is more of a medical check. The 5’10”, 188-pounder appeared to be a mid-round prospect before the injury.

    The Raiders already have a solid slot defender in Nate Hobbs, but Williams can bring value as a late-rounder who can play as a slot safety or corner against quicker playmakers. You want to find future contributors and role players on Day 3 of the draft, and Williams can be a value if the Raiders are willing to be patient and have foresight for his role.

    CB Cameron Mitchell, Northwestern

    The Raiders could easily draft multiple cornerbacks, as both of their 2022 starters are free agents. Northwestern’s Cameron Mitchell is quicker than fast, allowing him to play the ball effectively and stay in position with explosive receivers on short routes. The 6’0″, 195-pounder can blanket receivers and deter targets effectively.

    MORE: Is Patrick Graham up to the Job of Fixing Raiders Defense?

    The big question for Mitchell at the Combine is his speed and fluidity to be in man-heavy schemes. Most NFL teams vary their coverage tendencies enough to hide speed limitations, but defensive coordinator Patrick Graham may not want to be pigeonholed to more zone.

    Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast

    Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.

    Related Stories

    Related Articles