I’m back to answer your Las Vegas Raiders post-NFL Draft questions!
It was a long weekend for myself and the team at Silver and Black Pride as the Raiders added about 20 players between the draft and undrafted free agents.
So before I get started I just want to give a quick shoutout to Bill, Marcus and Ray for crushing it last weekend and to you guys for checking out our work as we had a very successful draft weekend! I hope you all enjoyed the work we put out.
Without further ado, onto this week’s questions...
Question: Do you believe McDaniel’s narrow-minded QB fit view will be a hurdle for the Raiders to improve upon the position in the 2024 draft? With Jimmy G signing and O’Connell’s draft choice, it sure seems that way. I’m happy we moved on from DC but at some point, the Raiders have to nail the future QB.
Answer: I’m going to have to push back a little bit on that Josh McDaniels is narrow-minded at quarterback. Obviously, he’s had success with Tom Brady and Mac Jones, but after Brady left McDaniels did a solid job of adapting his offense to fit what Cam Newton could do. Newton’s passing stats weren’t great, but he did have success as a runner and that was partially because McDaniels was flexible with his system and adapted. And let’s be honest, Cam was kind of cooked at that point...
Also, during the NFL Combine, the coach talked about how he’s had to change the way he looks at the position because of the way quarterbacks are used in the college game now, and it was reported that his top choice this year was Bryce Young. Young doesn’t exactly fit McDaniels’ typical size thresholds for a passer, as you can imagine.
So, no, I don’t think that will be an issue when it comes to next year’s draft. Both of the top guys, USC’s Caleb Williams and Drake Maye from North Carolina, use their legs and are mobile, and the Raiders will likely go all-out for one around this time next year.
Q: Which draft pick do you think will make the biggest impact as a rookie?
A: Michael Mayer.
Between the foot injury and playing behind Chandler Jones, I think Tyree Wilson will probably get off to a slower start whereas Mayer could easily be the Week 1 starting tight end, if not sooner. If he can continue to grow as a blocker, he won’t have to come off the field and shouldn’t have much of an issue winning as a receiver.
Mayer also is excellent in the red zone which has been an issue for the Raiders for what feels like forever, and I broke down how he can help earlier this week.
Q: What was your best value pick that the Raiders made?
A: Christopher Smith II in the fifth round.
Had Smith II not tested poorly at the combine (and I mean like 2.93 RAS bad), he definitely would have been drafted higher. He was ranked 35th overall on Bleacher Report’s big board and in the 50s for The Draft Network.
From what I’ve watched so far, Smith II has great instincts that will help him overcome a lack of speed, especially in coverage, and he’s a physical run defender who has pop for someone of his size (about 5’11” and 192 pounds). I think he can be a really good player and could contribute in year one which is rare for a fifth-rounder. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up starting at one point. Maybe not this season but further down the line.
That’ll do it for this week’s mailbag. Thank you all for submitting questions and, as your weekly reminder, if you’d like to have your questions answered in a future column, tweet them at me, @MHolder95, or email them to SBPQuestions1@gmail.com.