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Raiders 2022 draft: Early thoughts

Digesting the weekend in Las Vegas

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Tennessee
Matthew Butler
Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

With the Las Vegas Raiders’ picks in the books, here are some early thoughts:

The trenches: The Raiders went to work on both the offensive and defensive lines. They took two players at both spots. They took Memphis’ Dylan Parham (third round) and Ohio State’s Thayer Munford (seventh round) on the offensive line and defensive tackles Neal Farrell (LSU, fourth round) and Matthew Butler (Tennessee, fifth round). Parham and Munford are both versatile. Farrell is a good run stuffer and Butler can provide some inside pass-rush. So, the Raiders gave themselves some trench flexibility with two thirds of their six-player draft class.

Aggressive: New Las Vegas general manager Dave Ziegler swung four trades, including trading and getting back No. 126 with two trades with the Minnesota Vikings. Ziegler, of course, came from New England, which has led the NFL in draft trades this century. So, his aggressive ways is not surprising.

Favorite pick: I have a feeling Butler is going to be a nice player for the Raiders. He’s played against top competition and he is a leader with a good head on his shoulders. He could be around for a while.

Message to Jacobs: While the Raiders concentrated on the trenches, they also worked on their offensive backfield, adding running backs Zamir White (Georgia, fourth round) and Brittain Brown (UCLA, seventh round). The running back additions came a day after the Raiders announced they are letting 2019 first-round pick Josh Jacobs become a free agent next year. At the moment, it’s hard to envision Jacobs in Las Vegas in 2023.

Getting champs: The White pick extended a streak in which the Raiders have drafted a player from the national championship team to three straight years.

What’s next? I could see the Raiders adding a veteran cornerback. It was a position they studied hard in the draft. The available free-agent cornerbacks include Joe Haden, Trae Waynes, Chris Harris, Kevin King, Kyle Fuller, Xavier Rhodes, Bryce Callahan and Jason Verrett. Safety could be a position where the Raiders look to add to as well.