2023 NFL Draft grades: Las Vegas Raiders put together a smart draft outside of one head-scratching pick
Overall Las Vegas Raiders grade: B+
The only real blemish on this class was O’Connell. However, they got an impact defensive lineman in Texas Tech's Tyree Wilson, a stud tight end at the top of the second, defensive line depth in Alabama's Byron Young and an athletic dice roll at cornerback with Maryland's Jakorian Bennett. The Raiders needed to have a strong draft to take advantage of the elite players at the top of their roster and they really raised the floor of their roster with this draft class. Nice job by the Raiders here.
Favorite pick: Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame (35th overall)
Getting Mayer at the top of the second round is unbelievable value compared to how he was thought of pre-draft. He’s a young, talented tight end who doesn’t have any holes in his game while being an extremely talented receiver. Getting Mayer on the roster in the same offseason when they traded away Darren Waller to the Giants is a big-time acquisition. Transitioning toward being an NFL tight end is difficult, but Mayer has the talent to make a serious impact as a rookie. This is a great investment by the Raiders in a position that has been heavily used by Josh McDaniels throughout his coaching career.
Least favorite pick: Aidan O’Connell, QB, Purdue (135th overall)
This was a bit of a head-scratching pick at the end of Round 4. O’Connell never really flashed NFL skills at Purdue, but had just enough arm talent to have teams interested in drafting him this offseason. It remains to be seen if O’Connell has the talent to be a legitimate backup QB in the NFL. The Raiders could have found someone to at least get on the field in special teams at this spot.
Full Raiders draft
Texas Tech edge Tyree Wilson (R1, 7th overall)
Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer (R2, 35th)
Alabama DT Byron Young (R3, 70th)
Cincinnati WR Tre Tucker (R3, 100th)
Maryland DB Jakorian Bennett (R4, 104th)
Purdue QB Aidan O'Connell (R4, 135th)
Georgia S Christopher Smith II (R5, 170th)
Florida LB Amari Burney (R6, 203rd)
Arizona State DT Nesta Jade Silvera (R7, 231st)