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Raiders 2023: Looking at defensive tackle depth

Las Vegas added to the position during draft

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Las Vegas Raiders
Jerry Tillery
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders continued to add to the defensive tackle position in the draft as they selected Alabama’s Byron Young at No. 70 and then Arizona State nose tackle Nesta Jade Silvera with their final pick in the seventh round.

It was the second time in as many years as he has been the Raiders’ general manager that Dave Ziegler has taken players at the position. In 2022, he took defensive tackle Neil Farrell Jr. in the fourth round and Matthew Butler in the fifth round.

The Raiders have a crowded group at the position going into 2023. Asked what the message was to the group after drafting two players at the position, Ziegler said “buckle up.”

In addition to Young, Silvera, Farrell and Butler, the Raiders have veterans holdovers Bilal Nichols and Jerry Tillery and free-agent addition John Jenkins and Adam Butler. They will likely keep five at the position.

Adam Butler is a longshot.

There will be a lot of competition at the position. There are no dominant players in this group. Young will get a chance to play rotationally this year, but asking third-round picks to play huge roles as a rookie at defensive tackle is asking a lot. He is a stout run stopper, but he needs to get better as a pass-rusher. Silvera has some spunk and he has a chance to make the roster if he impresses in the preseason.

So, expect a lot of rotation with this group with Nichols and Tillery getting a lot of play with the hope that both Farrell and Butler take the next step after quiet rookie seasons.