Underrated Prospects Raiders Must Prioritize in 2022 NFL Draft

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2022

Underrated Prospects Raiders Must Prioritize in 2022 NFL Draft

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    The 2022 NFL draft has already been pretty successful for the Las Vegas Raiders

    After all, they got one of the top five wide receivers in football using picks from this year's talent grab, when they sent their first- and second-round picks to Green Bay to get Davante Adams. 

    Now the Raiders can sit back and watch the first two rounds with a guaranteed asset already on their roster. 

    As for the rest of the draft, new general manager Dave Ziegler is going to have to uncover some diamonds in the rough to get the most out of the draft. Barring any trades, they won't be on the clock until pick No. 86 in the third round. 

    In total, they have five selections to work with. Here are some names they should be looking to target with those picks, and each selection is rated below 85th on Bleacher Report's latest big board

OG Cole Strange, Chattanooga

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    The good news for the Raiders is that there are plenty of starting guards in the NFL who were taken in the third round or later. 

    Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason and Wyatt Teller are all examples of interior offensive linemen who were drafted in Round 3 or later and went on to become elite at the position. Finding a starting-caliber tackle in the third round could be a tall task, but finding a future Pro Bowler at guard is a real possibility.

    Among the intriguing options that could be there is Cole Strange (scouting report) from Chattanooga.

    The 23-year-old is a small school prospect who has done well for himself in the pre-draft process. He posted a 9.95 out of 10 relative athletic score, giving him the seventh-highest score for a guard since 1987, per Kent Lee Platte

    Despite being just 307 pounds, Strange is a mauler in the run game and has the athleticism to continue developing as a pass-blocker. 

    The vast majority of his starts came at left guard in college where he would immediately challenge John Simpson for the starting job in Las Vegas and allow Denzelle Good to move back to tackle.

Edge Dominique Robinson, Miami (OH)

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    The Raiders made their pass rush a priority when they signed Chandler Jones to upgrade from Yannick Ngakoue. However, it would still be worth looking at a developmental pass-rusher to become the No. 3 guy given the general results of Clelin Ferrell. 

    The 2019 No. 4 overall pick is in the fourth year of his rookie contract, so even if he shows some success, it would be wise to trade him before giving him a contract extension. 

    Taking a late-round flier on Dominique Robinson (scouting report) makes a lot of sense to replace him. 

    He is a converted wide receiver who has only been playing as a defensive end since 2020. He made an immediate impact, earning All-MAC honors in 2021. 

    The Miami RedHawk star had a good showing at the Senior Bowl before posting a 9.73 relative athletic score with a 1.61-second 10-yard split on his 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. 

    Robinson has a great first step and played at Canton McKinley High School, which happens to be Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels' alma mater. 

DT Noah Elliss, Idaho

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    The new Raiders front office has already made significant changes to the interior of the defensive line.

    Bilal Nichols, Vernon Butler and Kyle Peko are in, but Quinton Jefferson is out after signing with the Seattle Seahawks. Johnathan Hankins remains unsigned. 

    The Raiders could opt to continue their overhaul at the position with a hulking nose tackle in Noah Elliss.

    He's definitely a project, but it's hard to find many 6'4" 346-pound defensive linemen with his potential.

    Elliss is not an elite athlete, though. He ran a 5.6-second 40-yard dash at the combine. However, he is a powerful lineman at the point of attack and has the potential to become a run-stuffing nose tackle. 

    He comes from an NFL bloodline. His father is Luther Elliss, who is the defensive line coach at Idaho and played in the NFL for 10 years, primarily with the Detroit Lions

    Elliss will likely need a year to develop and get his body NFL-ready. But, with the Raiders hoping to be more multiple up front, such a player could be a two-gap player and be transformed into an asset. 

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