As the dust settles on a season of almosts and what-ifs, the Las Vegas Raiders find themselves at a pivotal crossroads. With the 2024 NFL Draft looming, the Raiders have a golden opportunity to reset and reinforce. This mock draft peels back the curtain on potential rookie prospects that could don the famed Black and Silver. The right picks could transform the team's trajectory from near-misses to playoff contenders.

Las Vegas Raiders' 2023 Season Recap

The 2023 season for the Raiders was a rollercoaster that unfortunately veered off course. It culminated in an 8-9 record and a missed playoff berth. The team's journey was marred by inconsistencies, especially in critical game moments that could have flipped several close losses into wins. The Raiders often found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreboard when it mattered most. It also hurt that Jimmy Garoppolo was out of commission for most of their campaign. This outcome has set the stage for a crucial offseason. Of course, the draft remains a significant part of their strategy to address key areas needing improvement.

Reflecting on the past season, it's evident that the Raiders' needs span both sides of the ball. Offensively, the team lacked the firepower to consistently challenge the top-tier defenses. Defensively, the squad showed grit but struggled to close out games. These highlight a need for impactful players who can turn tight games in their favor.

Photo: Aidan O’Connell in action, Jimmy Garoppolo, Brian Hoyer in background, all in Raiders jerseys““““

Draft Context

Aidan O’Connell showed promise at quarterback last season. Now, having Gardner Minshew provides depth, but the Raiders would do well to secure a potential franchise quarterback. Unfortunately, their position in the draft order may not be ideal. They could consider some strategic trades or settle for a candidate like Michael Penix Jr.

Beyond the quarterback dilemma, the Raiders urgently need to bolster their offensive and defensive lines. There are current vacancies at right guard and right tackle. Sure, there's a possibility of reconnecting with Greg Van Roten from the 2023 lineup. That said, more depth is clearly needed. Christian Wilkins remains a key player at defensive tackle. However, additional support in this area is crucial for future success.

Here we will look at the rookie prospects that the Las Vegas Raiders might pick up in our 7-round 2024 Mock Draft.

Pick No. 13: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Arnold has primarily served as an outside cornerback at Alabama for the last two seasons. He did have some experience in the slot during 2023. He showcases excellent long and recovery speed, along with notable agility and acceleration. Arnold's impressive ball skills and solid on-ball production make him a standout. Despite being a full-time starter for only one year, Arnold possesses the raw talent to neutralize a wide array of receivers when properly aligned. His relatively limited total snaps reveal a burgeoning understanding of post-snap adjustments and man-match concepts.

Pick No. 44: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Over the past two years, Michael Penix has thrived as a quarterback in Washington’s Air Raid system. He has demonstrated NFL-level arm strength and reach on various throws. However, Penix’s tendency to overpower his throws occasionally hampers his timing. In addition, he generally struggles with ball placement due to favoring force over finesse. Yes, his ability to exploit the intermediate middle field needs refinement. That said, his strong arm is undeniable.

Washington quarterback Michael Penix (QB08) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pick No. 77: Jalen McMillan, WR, Washington

Coming into Washington as a highly-touted four-star recruit, Jalen McMillan has developed into a sophisticated wide receiver. He exhibits a deep understanding of route running, a keen sense of how to exploit zone coverages, and a strategic approach to leveraging defenders. His reliable hands and knack for big plays complement his wide-ranging capabilities as both a flanker and slot receiver.

Pick No. 112: Hunter Nourzad, C, Penn State

In the fourth round, the Raiders might enhance their interior line depth with Hunter Nourzad. He excels in both run and pass blocking, particularly within zone-blocking schemes. Nourzad could provide the much-needed stability and versatility the Raiders’ offensive line requires.

Pick No. 148: Isaiah Adams, OL, Illinois

Isaiah Adams spent 2023 at right tackle. However, he should return to his more familiar position at guard. His robust build and athleticism make him a valuable addition to the Raiders' offensive front. That is especially true when he’s leading the charge on pulls or delivering powerful drive blocks.

Pick No. 208: Curtis Jacobs, LB, Penn State

Curtis Jacobs offers potential as a coverage linebacker at the professional level. He brings notable athleticism and proficiency in man coverage against tight ends. His awareness of zone coverage further enhances his adaptability to various defensive schemes.

Pick No. 223: Fabien Lovett, DL, Florida State

Fabien Lovett stands out as a run defender thanks to his strength and long arms. These allow him to control offensive linemen at the point of attack. Yes, his pass-rushing capabilities are limited due to lackluster explosion and movement skills. However, his effectiveness against the run is invaluable.

Pick No. 229: Ryan Watts, CB, Texas

Ryan Watts participated in 11 games during his senior year, taking part in 422 snaps. He recorded 30 tackles and assisted on nine, proving his physicality. Despite his ability to break up passes, his coverage stats showed room for improvement, with a notably high quarterback rating against him.

This mock draft is strategically tailored to bolster critical areas within the Raiders' roster, aiming to lay a robust foundation for enduring success and ongoing development in the competitive NFL environment.