As a result of the blockbuster trade the Raiders made for Davante Adams, this year’s draft is going to look a little different for the team. The Raiders no longer have a first or second-round pick, so many of the players they will be able to draft are rather obscure talents. That being said, this draft class is filled with several talented and skillful players in every round.
Round 3, Pick 86: Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana (6’6, 307 lbs)
Max Mitchell is one of my favorite pass blockers in the entire draft class. He has elite technique at the position and is wildly underrated. The value he has as a potential third-rounder is extremely high. In 2018, the Raiders drafted another offensive tackle in the third-round, Brandon Parker, who started 14 games for the Raiders in 2021, including playoffs.
Parker is currently the starter, but Mitchell is an immediate upgrade if the Raiders select him with their first draft pick. With all the star power the Raiders have, Derek Carr needs adequate time to deliver the ball downfield. Max Mitchell will be able to give Carr that time.
While the Louisiana prospect has tremendous pass blocking capability, his downfall is his run blocking and tenacity. Mitchell isn’t particularly aggressive when it comes to run blocking and finishing blocks. The aggressive mindset isn’t an easy thing to coach, so it’s unlikely he’ll develop that attitude. However, his technique is just too good to pass up on.
Round 4, Pick 126: Kyle Phillips, WR, UCLA (5’11, 189 lbs)
Kyle Phillips possesses tremendous skill at the slot receiver position. While the Raiders already have one of the best slots in the league in Hunter Renfrow, Josh McDaniels’ history suggests he’s more than okay with multiple elite slot guys. Phillips says he models his game after Keenan Allen, Cole Beasley, and two Raiders: Davante Adams and the aforementioned Hunter Renfrow.
While this prospect plays very similar to Renfrow, his speed is much better. In addition to his quickness and twitchiness, his straight-line speed makes him a dangerous player after the catch.
I am super excited to see how Phillips does in the league, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him as successful as Renfrow or Rams WR Cooper Kupp. This dude seriously has the tools to become a star. If the Raiders get the chance to draft Phillips, they could coach him into being an elite receiver in the NFL.
Round 5, Pick 164: D’Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian State (6’1, 233 lbs)
This linebacker is insanely athletic and versatile. He is a quality weapon to rush the passer, and I see his role being similar to that of Cowboys LB Micah Parsons, the 2021 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Jackson isn’t quite the athlete Parsons is, but that’s why he’s going in the fifth round. He can 100% still be a major factor in the Raiders’ defense. Patrick Graham is a creative defensive coordinator that would love a beast like D’Marco Jackson.
In addition to his defensive capabilities, Jackson offers big-time production on special teams. He is the perfect guy to fly down the field and lay huge hits on returners. His speed and aggressiveness will be huge assets in all phases of play.
Round 5, Pick 165: Thomas Booker, IDL, Stanford (6’3 301)
Booker was one of the biggest late-round risers at the NFL Combine. Before the Combine, he was typically projected as a UDFA. However, Thomas was able to show off his intelligence and athletic ability at the Combine. Based on his interviews, Booker is an exceptionally smart prospect that possesses high character and leadership capability.
At Stanford, Booker was a three-year team captain and held very high academics standards for himself; he was a finalist for the academic Heisman and the Senior CLASS Award for excellence on and off the field.
Including all of his academic and leadership prowess, Booker is a tremendous athlete. He is over 300 pounds but moves like he’s 270. He has great twitchiness and explosiveness which are highly coveted traits on the defensive line. I would see him mainly playing a 3-technique, but that’s great because Patrick Graham has no problem mixing things up between 4-3, 3-4, 5-2, and any other defensive formations in the book. There is no doubt in my mind that Thomas Booker could find a role here in Las Vegas.
Round 7, Pick 227: Chamarri Conner, DB, Virginia Tech (6’0 211)
If Chammari Conner falls to the 7th round, it would be a fantastic move to draft him. He is another versatile weapon that can play multiple positions. He can be over the top as a safety, or he can come down to play in the slot as a corner. That is a big need for the Raiders, as Johnathan Abram isn’t exactly great in coverage.
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