The Las Vegas Raiders are quiet on the free-agent market during this slow period. The draft creeps closer, and the focus has turned to finding young players who can develop late in the draft.
After the Davante Adams trade, there won't be a day one superstar as a selection. The Raiders will be looking for future starters who the team can use as depth pieces early on in their careers.
Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden were successful late in the draft during their Raiders tenure. Players such as Hunter Renfrow, Maxx Crosby, and Nate Hobbs became starters for the silver and black. Center Jimmy Morrissey was picked up from the practice squad and got a new contract from the Houston Texans.
One of the reasons this formula worked for Mayock and Gruden was selecting top athletes. Crosby has one of the most outstanding combined performances. It was historically comparable to Joey Bosa and Trey Hendrickson, and now we see Crosby becoming that caliber of player.
Hobbs's athletic profile is top 100 all-time, ranking 69th out of 1070 cornerbacks since 1987. His movement skills help him stay afloat while his mind adjusts to the league.
Nate Hobbs was drafted with pick 167 of round 5 in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.62 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 69 out of 1790 CB from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/Jq99xesKzY #RAS #Raiders pic.twitter.com/jvUK8PV4pM— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) May 1, 2021
The NFL is full of the best athletes globally with great minds for the game. If a player has athleticism, it can lead to success early while they develop.
A few players fit the profile similar to the Hobbs and Crosby. Damarri Mathis from Pittsburgh is a fit for the Graham system based on his traits and playing against the top competition. His pro day was impressive; putting up monster numbers, and he has feisty tape to match his athleticism.
Damarri Mathis (@Marri863) getting buzz after posting 43.5 VJ and 11-1 BJ at @Pitt_FB pro-day but his physicality is what originally got @seniorbowl’s attention. Plenty of examples on ‘21 . Personally haven’t seen 43.5 vert since Troy Polamalu in ‘03.#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/ulgxjImPu2— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 21, 2022
At the tackle position, there is Kellen Diesch from Arizona State. He is a transfer from Texas A&M who ran a 4.89 at the NFL Combine. While he has to work on his functional strength, his movement skills set him to grow into a starter at the next level.
If the #Bears take a shot on a developmental OT on Day 3, Kellen Diesch from Arizona State is a name to watch.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) April 2, 2022
Great athlete at LT with polished footwork in pass pro, and he had a 9.73 RAS. There’s obvious physical upside with him. pic.twitter.com/mIuPnlb9nE
It would be in the Raiders' best interest for them to use this strategy to land players in the later rounds. It has led to success for many franchises, and the same can be said for the silver and black.