This is a key season for several Las Vegas Raiders players.
We are looking at five players who need to have a big season in 2023 or their time with the franchise could be coming to an end:
Deablo has ability and he has a chance to make an impact on this defense. Do not give up on him. The 2021 third-round pick flashed as a rookie and then was a leader on defense last season. He had 74 tackles (among the league leaders) when he was injured last season after playing eight games. The forearm injury kept him out for the rest of the season. Yet, Diablo is expected to be ready for the start of this season. Las Vegas needs linebacker help and Deablo has a chance to be a leader. If he takes a step back, the team will likely look to replace him. But you should have high hopes for this guy. The coaching staff loves him and he is wearing the green dot. So, there’s big plans for him.
The starting center is the only offensive player on this list. He was highly touted by the previous regime as he was given a contract extension before his first season taking over for Rodney Hudson. James has been just OK. He is entering the final season of his contract and the Raiders could move Dylan Parham to center in 2024. So, the odds are James is entering his final season with the Raiders. But a strong 2023 season could change the Raiders’ front office’s plans.
Like Deablo, Koonce was a third-round pick in 2021. He has done very little in two seasons and is now buried among Las Vegas’ pass-rushers. Koonce, who has drawn praise from coaches this training camp, has just two career sacks and he had none in 2022. It would be a bit of a surprise if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster this year. But he would need a major turnaround to secure a long-term future with the franchise.
It may be a stretch to say this may be the safety’s final season in Las Vegas after being a highly-touted second-round pick in 2021 and after a strong start to this training camp. But if Moehrig doesn’t quickly adjust to the system of defensive coordinator Patrick Graham in 2023, the team will probably not look at him as a piece for the future. He had a strong rookie season under former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. But he regressed in his second season. This is a huge year for Moehrig, who entered last season a player many thought could become a Pro Bowl performer. It’s not too late, but he has to come through in 2023.
The cornerback is yet another defensive draft pick from the previous regime. He was a fourth-round pick in 2020. Robertson came in with high hopes and he has had his moments, but he hasn’t beenn a top-of-the-rotation player. There is opportunities a plenty in the Raiders’ cornerback room in 2023. So, he has a chance, but he has to become more consistent or the 2024 free agent will be entering his final season in the Silver and Black.
All of these players were highly valued by the previous regime. Now, they all have a second season with this front office and coaching staff to secure their futures in Las Vegas. It’s all up to them.