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AFC West mix tape: Breaking down Raiders thoughts

Explaining my choices

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Divine Deablo
Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

The four editors of the SB Nation AFC West teams held our first “AFC West Mixed Tape” podcast and we will do so each month.

As part of the show, we broke down a few areas for each team. Let me explain each of my Raiders’ choices:

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
Zamir White
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Raiders’ offensive under the radar player:

I wanted to pick players who I think will contribute a lot this season and not just be bottom-of-the-roster types who flashed in the preseason, but who might not play much in the regular season. With that in mind, my offensive pick is rookie running back Zamir White. Yes, the fourth-round pick had an excellent preseason, but I do see it translating to the regular season. Josh McDaniels likes using multiple running backs and it’s clear he thinks White is ready for the big time. I’m not saying he’s stealing Josh Jacobs’ job this year, but I expect White to have a role on the offense. Fantasy sleeper, anyone?

Raiders’ defensive under the radar player:

I went with second-year linebacker Divine Deablo here. The 2021 third-round pick flashed as a rookie. and I think his game translates to Patrick Graham’s system. Graham likes to be multiple in his alignments and I think that means Deablo can have a role. I’m not sure how much, but the college safety does have a chance to be a big part of the new defensive mix in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Raiders v Miami Dolphins
Dylan Parham
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

My player to watch in 2022:

I’m saying it right now, rookie Dylan Parham will have a big role in the offense as a rookie. He could be a long-term center, but I can see Parham taking a starting guard spot early in the season. He was very fluid in the preseason and he fits this offense. I see a reliable long-term starting offensive lineman beginning his career on the big stage.

Raiders’ overall record/AFC West record:

OK, here we go, it’s the bottom line. We had to give our season predictions and I said the Raiders will go 11-6 and finish second in the AFC West (behind Kansas City) and make the playoffs. Though, I could easily see Las Vegas finishing 12-5 and atop of the division. I said the Raiders will finish 4-2 in the strong division. The key for all four teams in this division is to win as many non-AFC West games as possible, because the intra-divisional games are going to be brutal. But, in the end, I see the Raiders having a strong season.