Predicting Raiders' Starters After 2022 NFL Draft
The 2022 NFL draft was just the latest step in the dawn of the Dave Ziegler-Josh McDaniels era in Las Vegas.
The new tandem in charge of the Raiders' direction as a football team has wasted no time in putting their mark on the roster. The draft wasn't a big part of the remodel this offseason. They traded away their first two selections for Davante Adams and didn't pick until the third round.
Still, right after the draft is a good time to start thinking about what the starting lineup might look like come Week 1.
It offers a look into where they might want to look at late-addition free agents and what might be interesting to track come camp time.
Here's a look at what the offensive and defensive starting lineups could look like and one position battle to watch.
Starting Lineup: QB Derek Carr, RB Josh Jacobs, WR Davante Adams, WR Bryan Edwards, WR Hunter Renfrow, TE Darren Waller, LT Kolton Miller, LG Jermaine Eluemunor, C Andre James, RG Dylan Parham, RT Brandon Parker
At the skill positions, the Raiders can compete with just about anyone. The only thing missing last year was a true No. 1 receiver, and the new front office addressed that in the best way possible.
Jacobs, Kenyan Drake and rookie Zamir White is a potent three-headed beast at running back. Bryan Edwards and Demarcus Robinson will likely duke it out to be the outside receiver opposite Adams while Renfrow is a great slot receiver.
The problem is going to be making sure that Carr has some time to throw to all of these weapons and that there will be daylight for the backs. The offensive line was a concern going into the offseason, and it's hard to feel like there's much improvement.
At this point, this projection is just one of about 20 permutations you can arrive at with the talent on the roster.
Starting Lineup: DE Maxx Crosby, DT Bilal Nichols, DT Jonathan Hankins, DE Chandler Jones, LB Denzel Perryman, LB Divine Deablo, NB Nate Hobbs, CB Trayvon Mullen Jr., CB Rock Ya-Sin, S Johnathan Abram, S Tre'von Moehrig
Many names will be familiar among the starting 11 on the defensive side of the ball. Chandler Jones is a notable exception, and he will replace Yannick Ngakoue opposite Maxx Crosby to once again give the Raiders an elite rushing tandem.
However, signing Jones allowed the team to also trade Ngakoue for Rock Ya-Sin, which is an upgrade for the team at corner. The soon-to-be 26-year-old allowed just 53.3 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed last year, per Pro Football Reference.
The most interesting positions to watch as we get closer to the season will be both defensive tackle spots, along with Johnathan Abram's safety spot and linebacker.
Given the relative lack of options at defensive tackle, it wouldn't be surprising to see one of Matthew Butler or Neil Farrell Jr. work their way into the rotation.
Position Battle to Watch: The Whole Offensive Line
There are too many positions that should have open competitions during camp that it's hard to boil it down to just one on the offensive line.
The Raiders finished 28th in PFF's final offensive line rankings. After that performance, Kolton Miller is the only one who should have job security. He carried a grade of 84.2 and only surrendered 34 pressures all season according to PFF analysts.
The rest of the line was a mess, and many familiar faces are back this year to compete for jobs. What the coaching staff does with Alex Leatherwood will be interesting to follow. The 2021 first-round pick played both as the right tackle and right guard but struggled at both spots.
The team drafted Dylan Parham in the third round, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the Memphis product compete right away at either of the guard spots or even center. He is a little undersized at 6'2" and 311 pounds. However, he scored an 8.80 relative athletic score in the pre-draft process, per Kent Lee Platte of Pro Football Network.
His presence on the interior could kick Leatherwood back out to tackle to compete with Brandon Parker.