Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

New FSM Feature: Raiders 2022 Draft Preview

Franchise Sports Media


Already having a busy offseason, the Raiders will look to the draft to continue to build a talented roster to make a Super Bowl run. Here is a look at the Silver and Black’s biggest needs and some names to watch.


Raiders Free Agency 2022
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

It has been quite an eventful offseason for the Las Vegas Raiders. Raider Nation knows all the moves GM Dave Ziegler has managed in his first offseason. The three most significant transactions so far were locking in Derek Carr to a 3-year extension, signing sack specialist Chandler Jones as a free agent to add to the pass rush, and trading their first and second-round picks in this year’s NFL Draft to Green Bay for the NFL’s best receiver, Davante Adams.

Even with all the moves to improve the Raiders, they still have work to do. With the NFL Draft happening this week in Las Vegas, the Raiders will look to add some more key pieces to their roster. New Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels has explained the Raiders will likely draft for the best player available and not necessarily draft for need. But still, there are plenty of needs for Dave Ziegler to address. I will tell you what to expect for their biggest needs and give you some names to watch out for.

First, let us look at how the Raiders will most likely build upon their roster during the draft, why picking late may not be bad, and the type of player Dave Ziegler looks for.


The Raiders will have to do more with less in this draft.


Photo Credit: NFL/Getty Images

The Raiders have the fewest draft picks in the draft (five) and don’t pick until the 86th overall pick (third round). Las Vegas also has a 4th round, two 5th round picks, and a 7th round pick.

Ziegler, while in New England, has done well in the later rounds. Since 2013 in the scouting department of the New England Patriots, he has assisted in drafting the likes of consistent NFL starters such as Duron Harmon, Damien Harris, Jacoby Brissett, Ted Karras, Elandon Roberts, and Shaq Mason. All of them were drafted in the third round or lower.

During his press conference last Tuesday, Ziegler wasn’t shy about expressing the joy he gets out of landing a gem in the later rounds.

When you find players in the mid-rounds that ultimately develop into core contributors for your team, there’s a level of pride in finding those guys,” he said. “There’s always the kind of players that have risen to the top for one reason or another. Not that all of those players pan out, we know that they don’t. There’s a level of pride in finding those players in the mid-rounds who can contribute for your team.”

Ziegler is in a position where he’s looking to make the team better in any way possible and sees every position as a potential team need. If anything, he’s taking more time to evaluate what a player can provide on and off the field than what position they play.

For us, a lot of it starts with – it’s the person. … Good people, good character traits, people who are willing to work with others, people who are selfless, people who are team-oriented, those are really important things to us,” the general manager said. “People that love football, people that are good teammates, people that have football intelligence – those all calculate into low-maintenance individuals. And the more low maintenance individuals you have, you’re not expounding energy into different areas, and you can just focus on getting better and winning.

Those are really some of the core criteria when we start to talk about a player. Whether that player is going to be a fit for the Raiders or not – forget about the talent and all those types of things – those areas have to make sense first, and then you graduate on to skillset and the value.”


What are the Raiders’ most significant needs?



Photo Credit: George Walker IV/AP

This is the most significant need for Las Vegas. I could see the Raiders using their first pick on a cornerback. There may be good value at pick No. 86. Roc Ya-Sin and Trayvon Mullen will be the starting tandem as the roster currently sits. But after them, the Raiders are thin, and cornerback play will be critical in the new AFC West with gunslingers around every corner.

A name to watch is Kaiir Elam, the cornerback from the University of Florida.

If Ziegler is looking for the right player to fall before moving up, that player may just be Elam.

With both Ya-Sin and Mullen now on the roster, Raider Nation may be questioning if trading up for a corner is the smartest move. Here’s the deal, both Mullen and Ya-Sin are on the last year of their rookie contracts, and as neither were a first-round pick, neither have a fifth-year option. The chances of Las Vegas throwing money at both remain to be seen, so grabbing Elam for the future makes sense.

Of course, a logical response would be, “Why not wait until next season instead of trading up?” I’ll fill you in on that too.

As the draft creeps closer, Elam continues to fall in various mocks. A large part of this is a product of draft circumstances, specifically, the deepness of the draft.

In most years, it isn’t a stretch to say a corner with Elam’s skillset is a sure-fire first-round pick. There was a period when this applied to Elam. As others rise, the Florida corner falls victim to most mocks. This is where the Raiders can come in and take advantage of a first-round talent who may find himself falling due to all the other talent in this year’s draft.

If Elam is still sitting around in the mid-to-late stages of the second round, one team is going to be very lucky. Hopefully, that team is the Raiders, and they can have a young stud who’s now had a year of NFL experience and is ready to take on the role of a starting corner.

Elam is a skilled coverage corner who brings excellent ball skills to a secondary, reflected in his five interceptions and 20 pass breakups over his three years at Florida. This is a lockdown coverage-type corner; the Raiders haven’t had a player-type since Nnamdi Asomugha.

Offensive line:

Photo Credit: Texas A&M Athletics

The Raiders need help at right tackle or right guard, depending on where the new staff plays 2021 first-round pick, Alex Leatherwood. Expect the Raiders to draft at least one offensive lineman, but they might find their 2022 starter is still available in free agency, being a veteran on a short-term deal.

A name to watch is Kenyon Green, the offensive lineman from Texas A&M.

Green could be the potential ideal fit for the Raiders. Like Elam, Green is becoming a victim of deepness in the draft, being interchangeable with so many players. Ultimately, Green’s chances of slipping are high, and if you’re the Raiders, you love that.

This is an excellent blocker with a surprising burst and can quickly get into the second level. At Texas A&M, there were many times when Green was used as the lead blocker, producing satisfying results often. At 323lbs, Green knows how to use his size for leverage. He’s hard to move and well disciplined.

More impressive than his strength and surprising quickness is his versatility. Green’s experience at both guard and tackle is something to note and means wherever Josh McDaniels wishes to insert the 323lb offensive lineman, he can do so. This is important because Leatherwood, who played both [right] guard and tackle last season, has no set future at a position.

McDaniels answered questions about wanting to keep Eluemunor and Parker around, stating their versatility was the most significant thing with the two. Eluemunor was unique because he had both guard and tackle experience, while Parker had swing tackle ability. Kenyon Green is both of those combined, sprinkled with Alex Bars’ experience at every position on the line, minus center.


Defensive tackle:

Photo Credit: University of Idaho Athletics

The Raiders have signed four defensive tackles, including newcomer Bilal Nichols and incumbent Johnathan Hankins. Still, the Raiders could use some youth at the position, and they have studied many defensive tackles during the draft process.

A name to watch is a defensive tackle from the University of Idaho, Noah Elliss.

The Raiders could opt to continue their overhaul at the position with a hulking nose tackle in Elliss. He’s 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, the defensive line coach at Idaho who played in the NFL for ten 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.



Photo Credit: Baylor University Athletics

Tre’Von Moehrig is an upward trajectory young free safety, but the strong safety spot in Vegas is murky. Jonathan Abram has the look of a one-dimensional punishing hitman safety, while veteran Duron Harmon is a better deep cover man but is 31. If the Raiders were inclined, they could draft another rangy safety to play alongside Moehrig in the two-deep safety set expected to be deployed by new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

Baylor safety JT Woods is a name to watch, and the Raiders had him in for a visit just a week out of the NFL Draft.

Woods is projected to be selected in the fourth or fifth round in this year’s draft, and the Raiders have picks in both rounds. The Bears‘ 6-2, 195-pounder started all 14 games last season, collecting six interceptions and eight pass breakups. He returned one of them for a touchdown as well as a fumble recovery which he returned a school-record 97 yards for the score.

An athletic freak, Woods ran a 4.36 forty-yard dash at the NFL Combine. His length and speed could make Woods a weapon on the defensive side of the ball. Where he’ll need attention to detail is discipline, both in coverage and tackling/run support. He isn’t the type to be trusted in the single-high safety alignment, but he can thump in the box. And Woods has the jets to recover when beat; that’s a hard thing to teach.



Photo Credit: Wyoming University Athletics

They could use some youth here to develop along with second-year player Divine Deablo. Drafting a linebacker isn’t a must, but if the right piece is there for Patrick Graham’s defense, I can see the Raiders making that move.

Chad Muma from Wyoming is a player to watch for the Raiders.

The two things that stand out about Muma when you watch tape is his ability to always be around the football and that he has exceptional hands for a linebacker. The former Cowboys linebacker recorded 142 total tackles and three interceptions last season – two of which he returned to the end zone. His stellar senior season landed him on the first-team All-Mountain West Conference team and the third team AP All-American.

A high-cut linebacker, Muma has a nose for the football. … He has a see-ball, get-ball mentality and hunts runners with good build-up speed and an aggressive demeanor,” according to Lance Zierlein from

Muma could headline the non-Power five linebackers in this year’s draft. He would be an intriguing prospect for the Raiders to look at on Day 3 of the draft.


The Raiders will look to get more athletic and deep with the league’s least amount of draft picks, so Raider Nation has to hope that less truly means more. The NFL Draft is happening Thursday through Saturday here in Las Vegas and can be seen on ESPN and the NFL Network. Check local listings.

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-Joe Arrigo– Franchise Sports Media

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