The Las Vegas Raiders have experienced a lot of change over the past year. The Raiders have moved on from their former franchise quarterback, replaced their head coach, and begun another retooling of their roster. Las Vegas has added a key veteran on the offensive line ahead of next week’s 2024 NFL Draft.

Ari Meirov posted on social media that the Raiders have signed former Bears offensive lineman Cody Whitehair. It is a one-year deal that is worth up to $3 million.

Whitehair is a former Pro Bowler who boasts guard/center versatility. At worst, he provides solid depth and could compete for a starting spot come training camp.

The Raiders retained starting center Andre James on a three-year contract during free agency. Other offensive lineman on the Raiders include left tackle Kolton Miller, guards Dylan Parham and Jordan Meredith, and right tackle Thayer Munford Jr. At this point in the offseason, Whitehair projects as the starting left guard for the Raiders in 2024.

Starting quarterback is a question mark for the Raiders. The team cut last year’s starter Jimmy Garoppolo and now have second-year player Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew as their top guys. It seems likely that the team will draft a quarterback at some point in the 2024 NFL Draft, so reinforcing the offensive line could be a smart investment to insulate a theoretical new young signal caller.

Other key offseason additions by the Raiders include a one-year contract for running back Alexander Mattison and a monster four-year, $110 million contract for disruptive defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.

Will the Raiders continue to bolster their offensive line in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Chicago Bears offensive lineman Cody Whitehair (65) blocks against the Houston Texans at Soldier Field. Chicago defeated Houston 23-20.
© Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders offensive line was ranked in the top half of the league per PFF for both run blocking and pass protection in 2023. The addition of Whitehair, and possibly adding a rookie to the mix, could help Las Vegas reinforce a current strength and give the team some identity moving forward.

The top draft needs for the Raiders include offensive line (specifically tackle), cornerback, and quarterback. This aligns well with the strengths of the 2024 draft class. All three positions feature both elite talent at the top of the draft and plenty of depth in the middle rounds.

The Raiders hold the following draft picks:

  • First round pick (#13 overall)
  • Second round pick (#44 overall)
  • Third round pick (#77 overall)
  • Fourth round pick (#112 overall)
  • Fifth round pick (#148 overall)
  • Sixth round pick (#208 overall) via Kansas City
  • Seventh round pick (#223 overall) via New England
  • Seventh round pick (#229 overall) via Minnesota

Las Vegas is positioned well with the 13th overall and can realistically deploy any strategy they want in next week’s draft. They could net some great talent simply by sticking and picking. Trading up from 13 for an elite prospect would be relatively easy, or Las Vegas could trade down and recoup more value for future offseasons.

The Las Vegas Raiders finished the 2023 season second in the AFC West with a record of 8-9. Raiders fans are hopeful that a full season under head coach Antonio Pierce, and a strong crop of rookies, could give the team reasons for optimism in a highly competitive AFC.