The Las Vegas Raiders entered the 2022 NFL offseason on the heels of a strong showing last season. The team finished 10-7, was second in the AFC West and came up short on Wild Card Weekend against the eventual AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals. It was a heck of showing for a team that saw their head coach Jon Gruden resign in the second month of the season.
While the team made some noise last season, they have been banging the offseason drum loudly over the past couple months and made a real ruckus with some notable additions. First, they hired long-time Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to be their next head coach. Then they signed free-agent pass rusher, and four-time Pro Bowler, Chandler Jones and traded for superstar wide receiver Davante Adams.
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The team could start the season today and feel pretty good about their chances of winning the division title. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t still have some needs to fill. It may be a bit difficult to do in this draft after trading their first and second-round picks to the Green Bay Packers for Adams.
Let’s take a look at the picks the team still does have in this year’s draft.
2022 Las Vegas Raiders draft picks
- Round 3: 86 overall
- Round 4: 126 overall
- Round 5: 164 overall
- Round 5: 165 overall
- Round 7: 227 overall
Las Vegas Raiders mock draft: Adding depth to the offensive line is a primary goal
Despite the serious talent, the Raiders brought in over the last month, the offensive line remains one of the weakest units on the team. It is a bit surprising that they didn’t end up going after an upgrade on the free-agent market, but you can’t knock the team for the star power it did add.
With their cash drained by their big-money acquisitions, the 2022 NFL Draft is the only option the Las Vegas Raiders have to make worthwhile moves to improve the O-line and other areas. However, they gave up both their first and second-round picks in the Adams trade.
Let’s take a look at the best possible options for the franchise’s five draft picks, starting with selection No. 86 in the third round.
3rd round, 86th overall: Cole Strange, OG, Chattanooga
Chatanooga’s Cole Strange impressed at this year’s combine when he posted the seventh-highest athletic score for a guard since 1987. The 6-foot-4, 307-pounder is a little smaller than most NFL players at the position but his athleticism makes up for his smaller size. He is a plus blocker in the run game and has the agility to improve his pass blocking even more in time.
Strange could certainly improve technically when it comes to hand placement as blocks progress and in his footwork, but he is a very solid option for the 86th pick in the third round.
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4th round, 126th overall: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada
At 6-foot-3 and 226 pounds, Carson Strong has the body frame NFL scouts are looking for at the next level. He also improved every year at Nevada with his final season being his best by far. In 2021, he threw for 4,186 yards, 36 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions. Strong has a strong — no pun intended — pocket presence can competently make all the throws needed in the NFL.
Strong isn’t among the top prospects in the draft because he lacks the athleticism to extend plays, which is a must in today’s NFL. He also needs to improve working through his reads and progression. Nevertheless, as a fourth-round pick and a player who projects to be a backup QB, he perfectly fills a need the team has for 2022.
5th round, 164th overall: Zyon McCollum, CB, Sam Houston State
Sam Houston State cornerback Zyon McCollum is a bonafide ballhawk. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound DB has good size for the position as he pulled in three interceptions each year from 2017-to 2019. An injury cost him his 2020 year, but he returned last season with a vengeance. Getting 50 tackles, another three INTs, and eight passes defended.
In the NFL, his future may likely be at safety — and he will need to add more strength if that move is made — but he has great height and a nose for the ball that is a perfect base to build a talented NFL contributor off of.
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Round 5, 165: Brian Asamoah, ILB, Oklahoma
Oklahoma Sooner Brian Asamoah is a rock-solid linebacker who improved each year in Norman. Going from 66 tackles in 2020 to 80 last season. He is skilled in run defense and has upside in pass coverage — even on deep plays. Similar to Waller, size and strength are his biggest problem. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound native of Ohio needs to work on his upper body strength if he wants to be a meaningful contributor at the next level, but the skills are already there to build real-deal pro talent off of.
The final pick in the Raiders’ 2022 NFL draft
Just like the first and second rounds, the Raiders lack a pick in the sixth round. However, they do get one last selection in the final round of the draft. With the 227th pick, the team should look at the offensive line again and see if they can find a late rounder that can be a long-term project and add depth in the interim.
- Round 7, 227 overall: Luke Wattenberg, G, Washington