Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels might have just arrived in Las Vegas, but the Raiders’ new general manager and head coach likely won’t have much time to scope out the local neighborhoods and casinos as the Senior Bowl kicks off this week.
Between the hirings and the start of the All-Star game, a new era of Las Vegas Raiders football is upon us. There are over 100 NFL Draft prospects to keep track of this week, but the guys below are the ones Raiders fans should pay the most attention to as they could be the first wave of players under the new regimen.
Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
Las Vegas needs a wide receiver who can stretch the field and some people have already been linking the Silver and Black to Dotson in the first round. To me, I think he has some work to do to prove worthy of being a Day 1 pick, and winning some one-on-ones in Mobile will help with that. I’d especially like to see how the Penn State product does on his intermediate routes, as that’s one of my biggest questions about him heading into the draft.
UPDATE: Jahan Dotson was a late opt-out for the Senior Bowl and will not be participating in practice this week. However, he’s still someone Raider fans should certainly keep tabs on over the next couple of months.
It happens every year with a handful of players that opt-out at the Senior Bowl for a variety of reasons. For this year:— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) February 1, 2022
DB, Jaquan Brisker
DL, Josh Paschal
RB, James Cook
RB, Hassan Haskins
WR, Reggie Roberson
WR, Jahan Dotson
LB, Devin Lloyd
LB, Mike Rose
LB, Quay Walker
Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
Another speedy wideout that could help stretch the field for the Raiders. Doubs is more of a mid-round prospect at the moment, but he does bring some YAC ability that could help him move up draft boards. He has questionable hands so his primary goal should be to have a drop-free week, or as close to it as possible.
Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
Being from Mobile and going to South Alabama for college, Tolbert will have a “home-field advantage” and is bound to be the talk of the town all week. On the field, he’ll be looking to prove himself against top competition since he didn’t get to do that much playing in the Sun Belt Conference. The local product is my early pick to be one of the Senior Bowl’s biggest risers this draft season.
Darian Kinnard, OT, Kentucky
A lot of people are split on whether Kinnard is better suited to play guard or tackle at the next level. I think that’s because he has questionable footspeed on his pass sets, so there’s some concern about how he’ll be able to hold down the edge at the next level. Winning some one-on-ones this week will help kill that narrative.
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Much like Tolbert, the Senior Bowl is all about Penning proving he can hang with the big boys. He watched two teammates – Spencer Brown and Elerson Smith – make names for themselves last year so hopefully, he picked their brains before heading down south. Penning is a nasty run blocker who should be fun to watch on some Oklahoma drills and offensive line/defensive line pods.
Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
You’re probably already now the National Champion’s name by now, but the Raiders desperately need defensive tackles this offseason and Wyatt has a chance to become the top dog at the position with a strong performance in Mobile. He’s currently behind teammate Jordan Davis on most big boards, however, the former is the far superior pass rusher of the two and could make some more noise with a strong performance this week.
Logan Hall, DT, Houston
Hall is an interesting defensive tackle prospect because he’s a late bloomer and has done a lot of growing this past year, literally and figuratively. He put on 15 pounds before the start of his senior year and that did wonders for his ability to hold up against the run. Continuing to show that growth this week will be crucial for the former Cougar as I feel confident his pass rush skills will transfer over to the next level.
Logan Hall weighing in above 275 is great to see https://t.co/i1SXVXF6AI— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) January 31, 2022
Travis Jones, DT, UConn
Not very many people know about Jones because he played for arguably the worst program in the FBS. However, he’s massive – measured in at 6’4” 326 pounds – and hard to move against the run. He did have some success using that mass to help collapse the pocket as a bull rusher in college, but he’ll need to show that against stiffer competition this week.
Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
This cornerback class is loaded and while it might not be the Raiders’ top need, drafting someone at the position with the 22nd pick should definitely be on the table. McCreary is projected to be available in that range and is one of my early favorites of this year’s draft class. He has the speed to cover deep routes and makes plays on the ball, it’s just a matter of if his change of direction can improve to cover the sharp route runners in the NFL.
Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia
Kendrick is an interesting prospect for me. As a converted wide receiver, his athleticism is evident on tape and allows him to mirror receivers well, however, he lacks the ball skills one would expect for someone with this background/athletic profile. Seeming him improve his timing to bat some passes down in Mobile will help sell me on him as a Day 2 prospect Las Vegas should target.