Predicting Raiders' Early 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2022

Predicting Raiders' Early 2023 NFL Draft Big Board

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    John McCoy/Associated Press

    The Las Vegas Raiders had a relatively quiet NFL draft this year. They leveraged their top two picks in the event to get Davante Adams in the Silver and Black, but they'll have more stake in the 2023 event. 

    The Raiders' 2022 draft class was headlined by third-round pick Dylan Parham, who should factor into the competition on the interior of the offensive line. 

    One benefit of the Adams trade was that Las Vegas was able to bring in the wideout without committing any picks beyond 2022. That means the team will have its full arsenal of picks to improve the roster next year. 

    While we still have a whole season left to play and things can change drastically, it's a great time to look ahead to the next draft class.

    Based on the Raiders' projected needs, the 2023 draft class and assuming the team will be too competitive to pick inside the top 10, here's a look at three prospects who could form a way-too-early Las Vegas big board right now. 

3. S Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M

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    The new Raiders regime tipped their hand on how they feel about Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram when they didn't pick up the fifth-year option on any of them. 

    That doesn't mean they won't eventually sign an extension, but it also doesn't mean the Raiders are committed to any of them moving forward. 

    That includes Abram, who has been strong at times as a box safety against the run but a liability in coverage. He has given up a passer rating of 109 or higher in each of the last three seasons when targeted and gave up five touchdowns in 2021 alone. 

    So while a safety in the first round is a bit of a luxury, the Raiders could be interested in a replacement here. Antonio Johnson came in at No. 14 on PFF's initial 2023 draft board. At 6'3" and 200 pounds, he's a rangy safety who also has the coverage skills to play in the slot. 

    Paired with Tre'von Moehrig, the Raiders could have the best safety tandem in the league before their rookie contracts expire. 

2. CB Cam Smith, South Carolina

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    Cam Smith comes in just ahead of Antonio Johnson based on positional value. A shutdown corner is one of the most valuable commodities on defense, and he has the capability to become one. 

    Smith made huge strides in his second season with South Carolina. After allowing a passer rating of 101.5 when targeted in 2020, he had an elite campaign the following year. He gave up just one touchdown while picking off three passes and allowing a passer rating of 36.5, per PFF

    At 6'1" 187 pounds, he has the size you'd like to see in an NFL corner. With Rock Ya-Sin now on the roster, the Raiders could use another strong corner to team up with him and Trayvon Mullen. 

    Given the explosive collection of offenses in the AFC West, the Raiders have to continue investing in the secondary to be competitive. 

    Smith will be one to keep an eye on as the divisional arms race continues. 

1. OT Andrew Vorhees, USC

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    Things can always change but there's a good chance that fixing the offensive line is going to be priority No. 1 for Las Vegas next year. 

    The Raiders finished 28th in PFF's final offensive line rankings and did not do much to get better on paper. They drafted Dylan Parham and signed Alex Bars, but neither is a guaranteed upgrade in 2022. 

    Kolton Miller is a good starting left tackle, but the answers beyond him are much more ambiguous. Unless the new coaching staff is able to get a lot more out of the same personnel from last year, the Raiders will be on the hunt for offensive-line talent. 

    Andrew Vorhees is looking like a good fit for the USC Trojans heading into the college football season. The 6'6", 320-pounder started his career at left guard but has since bumped out to left tackle. 

    The transition was a smooth one. He only gave up one sack last season and played over 400 snaps at tackle, per PFF. This year, he'll have the opportunity to play a whole season on the outside in Lincoln Riley's explosive offense. 

    Whether Vorhees ends up as a guard or tackle in the league, the Raiders should be keeping a close eye on him throughout the season.