It’s no secret the Las Vegas Raiders are in the market for defensive linemen in the upcoming NFL Draft. Between the NFL Combine meetings and Top 30 visits, the Raiders have reportedly met with six prospects in the trenches so far. Below are a few cliff notes on what each player can bring to the table.
Jalen Carter, Georgia (per ESPN’s Adam Schefter)
An argument could be made that Carter is the most talented player in this draft class. He’s quick and strong, can make plays against the run and as a pass-rusher, and has great size at 6’3” and 315 pounds. He’s everything you’re looking for in a defensive tackle, he just failed the pre-draft process. Carter’s visit was likely centered on figuring out if the team’s brass can trust him to stay out of trouble and stay in shape, which will be the ultimate deciding factor if the Raiders are going to draft him at No. 7 or not, if available.
Wilson’s length and power are pretty much unmatched in this draft class as he stands at nearly 6’6” with 35 3/8-inch arms and was physically dominant in the trenches. He can put offensive tackles on skates and then there isn’t much they can do to fight back when he locks them out and has the versatility to take some reps inside. However, the former Red Raider isn’t an elite athlete for a Top 10 pick and he’s coming off a foot injury that required surgery.
Myles Murphy, Clemson (per Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore)
Murphy is one of “my guys” in this draft class as I’m higher on him than most with a Top 10 grade. He could use some polishing but can set the edge against the run and is really good at turning speed to power when rushing the quarterback. Adding to his pass-rush arsenal will be key and I’ll bet on the freak athlete who runs a 4.53-second 40-yard dash time and the short shuttle in 4.29 seconds at nearly 270 pounds being able to put it together.
As a former tight end at Old Dominion, White is another high-level athlete on the defensive line. He posted a 9.92 RAS Score as a defensive tackle and at 285 pounds, he has some position versatility to play defensive end and maybe some 3-technique if he were to add a few pounds.
However, The Georgia Tech product basically missed two years of football after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 and suffering an ankle injury in 2021, and this was after the position switch. Likely due to the lack of experience playing on the defensive line, White’s technique is a work in progress but he could be a good second-round target.
Byron Young, Tennessee (per CBS Sports)
Young is an excellent pass-rusher who has as finesse few moves he can win with and sets up his moves well during the stem phase of the rush, showing nuance as a rusher. He also tested through the roof with a 4.4 40-time and 38-inch vertical to earn a 9.23 RAS Score. The Tennessee product needs to improve as a run defender to be an every-down player and he turned 25 years old in March. Still, Young is a good third-round target and he kind of reminds me of former Raider, Arden Key who has had success elsewhere.
DJ Johnson, Oregon (per Fowler)
It’s pretty clear that Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler are targeting athletic edge defenders as Johnson also falls into that category, too. Johnson is similar to White in that they’ve both played tight end and switched sides of the ball—a few times for the former Duck—transferred schools, and need work on their technique given the lack of experience at the position. Johnson just isn’t quite as big or as quite as good of an athlete at 260 pounds with an 8.30 RAS Score, making him more of a fourth- or fifth-round guy.