The 2021 NFL season was a tumultuous one for the Las Vegas Raiders. There was the Jon Gruden controversy that engulfed the team. Then there was the unspeakably horrible incident that involved Henry Ruggs. Despite all that, the Raiders navigated through the troubles and found their way to the NFL Playoffs, where they got eliminated right away by eventual Super Bowl runner-ups, Cincinnati Bengals.
With some sort of a fresh start under new head coach Josh McDaniels, the Raiders are looking to sustain and surpass what they have accomplished in 2021. They have already made a ton of noise in the offseason with head-turning front office moves, including the signing of pass-rushing stud Chandler Jones to a three-year deal, the extension of defensive end Maxx Crosby, and of course, the trade acquisition of wide receiver Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers.
Indeed, the Raiders are having quite an offseason, and they could add more to the success in the 2022 NFL Draft, where they will get the chance to address some of their remaining needs. Having said all of that, here’s a complete 2022 NFL mock draft for the Raiders, who have five picks to make.
Raiders 2022 NFL Mock Draft
Round 3 – 86th Pick Overall: Kellen Diesch (OT)
Landing Adams must have felt like heaven for Raiders fans, as it gives their team a bona fide no. 1 receiver that definitely elevates the ceiling of Las Vegas’ offense that managed to rank inside the top 10 of passing yards per game and pass completion percentage even with only Hunter Renfrow as Derek Carr’s top receiving option. Renfrow was amazing in 2021, and he should continue to be a productive member of the Raiders’ air attack, as he capitalizes on the expected heavy attraction Adams will generate downfield, but before all of that, the question should be: how safe is Carr in the backfield?
The Raiders still have some issues to address on their offensive line, especially after a season in which they allowed their quarterback to get sacked 5.93 percent of the time – just 16th in the NFL overall. Enter Kellen Diesch, who is a great target in the third round for Las Vegas. Diesch, a 6-7 giant product of the Arizona State Sun Devils, who was a shining presence in the school’s pass protection unit in his senior year in Tempe, allowing multiple pressures just once all year, and showed up in the Las Vegas Bowl with only one pressure surrendered against the Wisconsin Badgers.
Round 4 – 126th Pick Overall: Zach Tom (OT)
It wouldn’t hurt the Raiders to add more depth to their offensive line. They can shoot for another piece for Carr’s protection unit by taking Zach Tom. The former Wake Forest Demon Deacons offensive tackle is said to be among the most athletic in his position. He has extensive collegiate experience playing left tackle in college, and while the right tackle is the bigger need for Las Vegas, Tom’s athleticism and positional versatility should come in handy in the pros. At the 2022 Shrine Bowl, Tom played both tackle and center positions and had a split of 23 and 14 starts between left tackle and center, respectively, in 37 career starts.
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Round 5 – 164th Pick Overall: Carson Strong (QB)
The Raiders obviously have no immediate need to get a quarterback, as they still have Carr. However, 2022 is a contract year for Carr, who is bound to become a free agent in 2023 if he and the Raiders won’t be able to have an extension in place before the end of the upcoming campaign. This is also why it could be a good time for the Raiders to take a chance on getting Carson Strong out of the Nevada Wolf Pack program.
Strong isn’t mentioned a lot in discussions about the best quarterbacks in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, so there’s a good chance that he remains available in the fifth round, where he could be a high-value pick for the Raiders. Strong’s frame is already NFL-ready, as he stands 6-3 (226 pounds) and is purely a pocket passer with not much athleticism to bring to the table. And with the expectations that Las Vegas is going to make its offensive line even better for the future, Strong could mature right along with that pass protection into becoming a viable Carr insurance.
Round 5 – 165th Pick Overall: ZaQuandre White (HB)
Like the quarterback position, the Raiders are pretty much set in 2022 at the running back slot, with Josh Jacobs undeniably the no. 1 hand-off option. But White can be a tempting asset in the fifth round. He is quite big for the running back position, standing 6-0 (206 pounds) but is still nifty with his footwork. He could also be an exciting piece in the passing plays for Las Vegas. White, who first played for the Florida State Seminoles in college, had 202 receiving yards and three touchdown catches on 19 receptions during his senior year with the South Carolina Gamecocks in 2021.
Round 7 – 227th Pick Overall: Jeremiah Moon (LB)
Moon is a raw prospect, but since the Raiders are stacked on defense, he will have plenty of time to learn as an understudy. The Florida Gators product possesses great length and size, as he stands 6-6 (250 pounds) and comes with an 83 5/8’ wingspan. It’s all about getting better in making quicker correct reads for Moon, which he can definitely work on in the NFL. As a seventh-round pick, Moon can be a diamond in the rough for the Raiders, who have the capacity to develop him into a potentially disruptive force.