We’re mixing things up with our newest edition of the Las Vegas Raiders NFL Draft This or That series. Instead of just picking between two players in the first round, you have two scenarios with a few picks to consider.
Scenario one is a trade for Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson where the Raiders send picks seven and 70 (third round) and their 2024 second-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals, then draft Alabama cornerback Eli Ricks 100th overall. The second is Las Vegas stays put and drafts Texas Tech edge defender Tyree Wilson, Miami cornerback Tyrique Stevenson and Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee with the seventh, 70th and 100th overall picks.
Since the Raiders would be keeping the 38th overall pick (second round) in both scenarios, we’ll consider that one a wash and ignore it for the purpose of this exercise as they could take the same player in theory. To make it easier, we’ll assume they take the best linebacker available at that spot.
Trade for Richardson
Scenario: picks 7, 70 and a 2024 2nd-rounder for Richardson, Ricks with pick 100
Case for: Quarterback is the most important position in sports so not much else matters if the Raiders can’t get that right and everyone knows Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t the long-term answer in the desert. Sure, the immediate returns wouldn’t be high if Richardson sits for a year, but he has some elite traits and could make him a generational player.
Also, this cornerback class is deep and Ricks could easily become a starter despite being a third-round pick. His length—6’2” with 32 3/8” arms—can’t be taught and he uses his size well to get pass breakups.
Case against: A net loss of two premium picks is a lot to give up for a quarterback that is far from a sure thing, especially with how many needs Las Vegas has defensively. Richardson’s accuracy and sloppy mechanics are concerning and could be his undoing at the next level.
Ricks has plenty of potential, but he struggled to get playing time with Alabama at the beginning of this past season after transferring from LSU. Injuries have also kept him off the field over the last couple of years after tearing a labrum in his shoulder in 2021 and fighting through back and head injuries in 2022.
Richardson scouting report via Bleacher Report
Athletically, nobody in this class compares to Richardson. At 6’4” and 232 pounds, Richardson will walk into the league with top-five speed, explosiveness, and contact balance for the position. He is very effective as a designed runner, particularly on plays that get him on the perimeter. Richardson is also a terrifying and creative scrambler. Not only is he quick to react to pressure and explosive enough to free himself from their clutches, but he’s got a good eye for making plays both in congested areas or outside the pocket. When all of those athletic tools are paired with Richardson’s blistering arm strength, there’s no denying he is the most talented quarterback in the class.
Ricks scouting report via B/R
When playing against the pass, Ricks does a good job of disrupting routes from press. He moves his feet well while using his long arms to control receivers off the line. He can lose his position at times, but he does a good job of sinking his hips and breaking on short routes. His length and great timing allows him to blanket receivers on routes that he can stay square on.
Stay put at No. 7
Scenario: Wilson at #7, Stevenson at #70 and McKee at #100
Case for: As mentioned above, the Raiders have a lot of needs so hoarding all 12 picks this year isn’t a bad idea. Wilson is one of the most physically dominant defensive linemen in this draft class. He can bully offensive tackles and it’s hard to defend against his long-arm move with his 35 3/8” arms.
Stevenson made a name for himself at the Senior Bowl by shutting down some of the top wideouts in Mobile. His length and speed—6’ and 4.45-second 40-yard dash—are hard to replicate, and he could also develop into a quality starter.
Las Vegas still gets a quarterback in this scenario and McKee has the prototypical size for the position at 6’6 1/4” and 232 pounds. He’s also accurate and is better than his statistics would suggest as the situation at Stanford was about as bad as can be last season.
Case against: Wilson’s lingering foot injury is concerning, especially since the coaching staff might want to put some extra weight on him to increase his position versatility. He also lacks elite bend as a pass-rusher so he’ll struggle to win if he isn’t as physically dominant as he was in college.
While Stevenson’s testing numbers are mostly good, his change of direction and agility measurements were poor with a 4.41-second short shuttle time that received a 2.21 RAS score and a 7.09-second three-cone which produced a 4.33 RAS score. That could be a major red flag if Patrick Graham wants to continue running man coverage as much as he did last season.
The game may have passed McKee by as he’s not very mobile and doesn’t make a lot of plays out of structure. He also is still a project and doesn’t have the arm that Richardson has, so why not shoot for the moon and go after the quarterback with more upside?
Wilson scouting report via B/R
There were times this past season when Tyree Wilson looked like a man among boys, that’s how physically dominant he is. He uses his strength well both as a pass-rusher and run defender and is surprisingly good at gaining a leverage advantage at the point of attack for how tall he is.
Stevenson scouting report via The Draft Network
Stevenson is a big-time height/weight/speed athlete at the cornerback position. He’s big, physical, and effective most in his press coverage opportunities. Those reps are amplified by a lot of length, which offers Stevenson a large area of influence and the ability to re-route receivers early in the rep. I thought Stevenson took a step forward instinctually in 2022 as well, stacking positive years in coverage after making a leap in 2021 while playing more confidently in the Hurricanes’ defense than he was the previous season for the Georgia Bulldogs. His ball production leapt forward in 2022 with nearly twice the number of plays on the ball this year than his previous career high. He tracked one football especially well and drove on another high-low concept to challenge another throw up the field that nearly missed another interception.
McKee scouting report via B/R
The 22-year-old also has no fear in using that arm strength, regularly showing the willingness to rifle throws into tight windows or give his guys chances in one-on-one scenarios. Furthermore, McKee maximizes his arm talent through comprehending how to throw receivers open. He has a good understanding of how zone windows shift and how to throw away from defender leverage, which helps him complete some high-difficulty attempts.
You know what to do from here. Vote on your choice and share your thoughts in the comments section!
Which draft haul are you going with?
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Wilson at No. 7