The Las Vegas Raiders draft No. 7 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. At this point, the team has several options for what they can do. The team can take the best available players, select a QB for the future, or even trade back. Here are three bold Raiders draft predictions that include the team taking Kentucky quarterback Will Levis.
3. Defense is the focus of (most of) the Raiders’ draft
The Raiders draft this year includes 12 picks over the course of the seven-round festivities. The first-round pick holds the most intrigue, but for the Raiders to improve on their disappointing 5-12 record last season, they’ll need to make the most of their late-round picks.
The first-round pick will be an offensive selection for the franchise (more on that below), but after that, the team will go defense-heavy in hopes of improving their 26th-ranked scoring defense.
While there may be the stray offensive lineman of running back with the Raiders’ late-round picks, the 2023 NFL Draft will be a defensive one for the Raiders. The team needs interior defensive line help, another edge rusher, cornerbacks, and even a linebacker, and safety late wouldn’t be a shock.
Look for players like Miami CB Tyrique Stevenson, Florida DT Gervon Dexter, and Ohio State Edge Zach Harrison to be targets as the draft goes along.
2. Las Vegas trades back
As per usual, quarterbacks at the top of the draft will dictate how the first round plays out. When the draft process started in the late winter, it looked like four QBs — Bryce Young from Alabama, CJ Stroud from Ohio State, Will Levis from Kentucky, and Anthony Richardson from Florida — could all be off the board before Las Vegas made its pick.
However, that landscape is changing, and now it seems as though Bryce Young at No. 1 is the only sure thing. That means that the Raiders may be able to trade back and still get their man.
The No. 7 slot could be a desirable one, as it may represent a team’s last chance to get one of the top prospects, like Jalen Carter or Tyree Wilson. It could also be the first chance to take the top player at a position group, like Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez or either Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr. or Northwestern OT Peter Skowronski.
With teams’ coveting the Raiders draft slot, look for the team to trade back. The most likely landing spots are No. 9 from the Chicago Bears, No. 11 from the Tennessee Titans, or No. 13 from the New York Jets.
If the draft plays out a certain way where Anthony Richardson goes higher than expected and CJ Stroud falls in a somewhat surprising fashion, this could leave the Raiders with a chance to get the best QB in this draft at pick Nos. 9 to 13, Will Levis.
1. The Raiders take Kentucky QB Will Levis
The NFL draft almost never goes exactly like Todd McShay, Mel Kiper Jr., or [insert favorite NFL draft analyst here] says it will. Things often go haywire, and the 2023 edition is no exception.
After the 2022 NFL Draft where only one QB went in the first round, draft pundits have been salivating over the prospect of four or even five first-round signal-callers in 2023. And while this may still happen, the bold Raiders draft prediction here is that only two QBs will come off the board by the time the Raiders pick, either at No. 7 or later.
Young is gone, and there is some momentum that hints at Anthony Richardson and his incredible NFL Scouting Combine numbers will go after him.
If that’s the case, it means CJ Stroud and Will Levis could take a tumble down draft boards.
That would be a huge coup for the Raiders.
Will Levis has a real chance to be the best QB of this draft. Everything from his size to his style of play to his arm are reminiscent of Josh Allen. The fact that draft analysts dinged him because he didn’t look good playing with non-NFL talent in college is similar, too.
In 2018, that meant Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold going before Allen going at, you guessed it, No. 7. This year, Levis may not even go at No. 7 if these bold Raiders draft predictions come true and they trade down, but he will slide more than he should.
This would be a huge get for the Raiders, especially because the team doesn’t have to play him right away after the acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo. With Jimmy G in the mix, the team can slow play the Levis development and get him ready for 2024 or even 2025.
That said, if Levis is as good as some (yours truly included) think he is, they might not have to wait that long.
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