The Las Vegas Raiders’ desire to have offensive lineman capable of playing multiple positions is without doubt. The team rotated the front five often last season before settling on a consistent group.
Needing more competition and depth in the trenches, the Silver & Black are likely to fortify the front lines via the 2023 NFL Draft. And Utah’s Braeden Daniels certainly fits the Raiders’ desired mold.
With double-digit starts at left guard and the left and right tackle spots, the 6-4, 294-pound senior has the position versatility, athleticism, and intelligence to grow into a starter or, at worst, being a solid swing option at both tackle and guard spots.
Tale of the Tape: Braeden Daniels
- School: Utah
- Position: Guard/Tackle
- Height: 6-foot-4
- Weight: 294
- 2022 Stats: 14 starts at left tackle, zero sacks allowed
- Career Stats: 17 starts at left guard, 14 at left tackle, 12 at right tackle; 5 sacks allowed
When everything is clicking for Daniels, he’s a very stout blocker in pass protection and in the run game. His natural athleticism allows him to seamlessly slide and move laterally. His strong hands latch on to defenders and he can redirect them. And his footwork allows it all to thrive as his football IQ puts it all together.
He wasn’t charted with allowing a single sack this past season for Utah and was a vocal lead-by-example type along the Utes’ offensive line. He’s able to plug in at both tackle spots and in the interior and even practiced at the pivot snapping the ball, giving Daniels a supremely impressive toolkit to play at all five positions up front.
But like every prospect in the 2023 draft class, there’s areas of opportunity to Daniels’ game. As mentioned above, when everything is in alignment, Daniels size, lateral movement and intelligence is in full display. But he’s displayed issues with footwork and when he becomes a plodder instead of an in-sync mover, his game deteriorates. His lack of natural power comes to the forefront when that happens and he’s unable to set an anchor. He’ll get pushed back by power rushers or beaten around the edge by speed rushers.
But Daniels did showcase his ability to learn game-to-game and his mistakes, mistimed moments, and footwork errors improved as the season went on. He’ll have his miscues, but he shows a penchant not to be a habitual error-maker.
Utah LT Braeden Daniels isn't going first round but I bet he goes much higher than currently projected. Really good tape, elite athlete (9.56 RAS), and can play all 5 positions on the OL so if he doesn't work out at LT he should be a really good G. I love his tenacity https://t.co/tY6HIqLhdz pic.twitter.com/75UHorEZa4— Chicago Football Connection (@CFCBears) April 10, 2023
For a Raiders team that needs competition and depth across it’s offensive line — mainly at right guard and right tackle — a prospect like Daniels is an ideal-type as his experience and high upside gives him the opportunity to fight for starting snaps.
While the Raiders are set at left tackle, Daniels can come on and make the fight for the starting gigs at right guard and right tackle much more interesting while having the ability to slide inside across the line, too.
Projection-wise, Daniels is earmarked as a Day 3 prospect that can go as high as the fourth round. He’s put quality snaps on film at all three positions he’s played while exclusively manning the Utes’ left tackle spot this past season. So Daniels can go higher than the projected Day 3 designation.
Las Vegas isn’t the only NFL team seeking position-versatile offensive lineman and Daniels could go higher than his projection.