3 sleeper prospects for Raiders to target in 2023 NFL Draft

The Las Vegas Raiders are in the midst of a very busy off-season. As they approach the 2023 NFL Draft, they are preparing to make 12 selections to help completely remake their roster. They have been in the headlines quite often recently, starting with the release of now New Orleans Saints QB Derek Carr. However, this was just the first big splash, as a surprise trade of star TE Darren Waller to the New York Giants made waves across the NFL. There was apparent strife between Waller and head coach Josh McDaniels, which will certainly be a storyline to look out for if the Giants and Raiders face off next season.

For now, the Raiders are firmly focused on the draft. They most likely have a short-list for who they will be targeting in the early rounds, but once the draft gets going, some sleeper picks could start to arise across the board. Who the Raiders might have on their radar is anyone’s guess; regardless, who should they target that might be getting slept on?

Here are 3 sleeper prospects for the Oakland Raiders to target in the 2023 NFL Draft.

*Stats via Team Rankings

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA

The departure of Derek Carr and Jarrett Stidham left a void at the quarterback position in Las Vegas. With that being said, the Raiders went out and signed Jimmy Garoppolo to a 3-year, $72 million contract and he will be the starter for the Raiders as of now. However, there is no guarantee the Raiders don’t try to take a quarterback at the 7th overall pick, or trade up higher and get one. If they did their due diligence, they would see they could wait a few rounds and snag UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Thompson-Robinson is coming off of a prolific career at UCLA both rushing and passing the football. He made major improvements each season, leading UCLA to a top 25 finish in his final campaign. Then he declared for the draft, and he was not highly touted as a high pick. However, his status as a prospect has seen a climb in recent weeks.

The UCLA product was the fastest quarterback at the NFL combine, and boasted a much stronger arm than anticipated. He has all the intangibles to fit the mold of the current dual threat prototype like Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields, and will not have the pressure to come in and produce right away. The Raiders could draft him late and ensure he is coming in to develop, not go out there and win ball games.

If Dorian Thompson-Robinson is available in the mid-to-late rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Raiders should take him.

Nick Herbig, LB, Wisconsin

The next two sleepers the Raiders should target will come on the defensive side of the ball. The Raiders had one of the worst defenses across the NFL last year at all levels, and would be wise to spend most of their 2023 draft capital on defense. They essentially wasted all of Derek Carr’s pretty solid tenure because they never figured out how to stop letting the other team score. Targeting Wisconsin linebacker Nick Herbig in the draft could bode well for their future scoring defense prospects.

Herbig was considered to have some of the best range and change-of-direction skills of the entire linebacker class in this year’s draft. Unfortunately, he played on-ball linebacker at Wisconsin, and in the NFL he will have to play off-ball. This is the most likely reason his name isn’t generating much buzz in mock drafts.

At Wisconsin, Herbig displayed clean and effective hands and very smooth inside moves to get to the quarterback. Arguably the highlight of his game is his coverage skills, routinely locking down Big Ten skill players out of the backfield.

Herbig would be a welcomed addition to a Raiders defense that can take all the help they can get. A sleeper across NFL Draft pundits, Las Vegas will have a good opportunity to make Allegiant Stadium Herbig’s new home.

Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina

The Las Vegas Raiders ranked 30th in opposing completion percentage (67.6%) and 31st in opposing interception percentage (1.02%) last season. Simply put, their secondary could not stop anybody. In this year’s draft, they will most likely be targeting defensive back help in the early rounds. However, it wouldn’t hurt to target DB assets in the later rounds as well. A perfect sleeper for the Raiders to target is South Carolina cornerback Darius Rush.

Darius Rush was feared last season, as he only faced 31 total targets throughout the entire year. Out of those 31 targets, he broke up six passes and snagged two of them for interceptions. That’s a play on the ball on over 25% of targets coming his way.

Rush had solid performances at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, showing elite size at the latter. He measured in at 6’2, 200 pounds, a bigger body that we see in many of the top corners in today’s game.

While the Raiders are sure to spend picks at defensive back at some point in the draft, it would be a steal for Las Vegas if they could nab Darius Rush somewhere in the later rounds.

The post 3 sleeper prospects for Raiders to target in 2023 NFL Draft appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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