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Raiders Rookie Watch: Spectacular Week 15 showing

The rookies played major role in historic victory

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Michael Mayer
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Let’s look at how the Las Vegas Raiders’ rookie class performed in a record-breaking 63-21 Week 15 home over the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night and ahead of Monday’s road game at the Kansas City Chiefs.

Two of the team’s nine draft picks were inactive for the game. They were defensive tackles, third-round pick Byron Young and seventh-round pick and Nesta Jade Silvera,

Tyree Wilson:

Wilson played the most of the season in terms of snap percentage (69) and plays (45) this season. A lot of it had to do with Maxx Crosby playing just 60 percent as he maintains an injured knee. Wilson had two tackles and recovered a fumble. It came after a strong performance against Minnesota. Let’s see him continue to make some more plays as the Raiders’ trust in him seems to be increasing.

Michael Mayer:

The second-round pick from Notre Dame played a huge role in the win. Las Vegas interim coach Antonio Pierce said Mayer’s big block against Khalil Mack set the tone for the dominant night. He only played 64 percent of the snaps (his lowest since Week 4), but he made them count. He had four catches for 39 yards and had a touchdown. He’s a factor.

Tre Tucker:

After playing a season-low three snaps against the Vikings, he played 29 snaps Thursday. He needs to keep being on the field after catching two touchdowns against the Chargers. Yes, Tucker needs to work on finishing catches, but his speed is a real threat and he can help this offense become more consistent.

Jakorian Bennett:

The fourth-round pick from Maryland had an increase in play time as he played 49 percent of the snaps after playing a total of 11 defensive snaps his past two games after being an early-season every-down player. He also played five snaps on special teams. Maybe Bennett is getting back in the good graces of the coaching staff.

Aidan O’Connell:

The fourth-round pick from Purdue deserves a lot of credit. Raiders’ interim coach Antonio Pierce wouldn’t even confirm he was the starter a day before the game and then O’Connell played a smart, clean game after being awful against the Vikings. Consistency is the key at quarterback. Let’s see what O’Connell can do against the Chiefs as he tries to show he should be the starter in 2024.

Chris Smith:

The fifth-round pick finally played defense in his ninth NFL game. he played 22 snaps at safety. It will be interesting to see if the fifth-round pick from Georgia will get more action on defense the rest of the season.

Amari Burney:

After being inactive the past three games, Burney played 25 total snaps with 11 on defense against the Chargers.


This was a tantalizing glimpse of what this class could provide for the rest of the season and into the future. It just has to show the consistency.