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Raiders 2023: Rookie watch

Checking in on the Raiders’ who debuted Sunday

Las Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos
Tyree Wilson
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Four of the Las Vegas Raiders nine 2023 draft picks made their NFL debut in the team’s 17-16 victory at the Denver Broncos in Week 1.

Five of the team’s draft picks were inactive for the game. They were third-round pick, wide receiver/returner Tre Tucker, fourth-round pick, quarterback Aidan O’Connell, fifth-round pick, safety Christopher Smith, sixth-round pick, linebacker Amari Burney and seventh-round draft pick, defensive tackle Nesta Jade Silvera.

Here is a look at how the four rookies who played fared in their debuts:

Tyree Wilson:

The No. 7 overall pick has caught some criticism for his play in his NFL debut. He was called out for playing slow and was even called lethargic.

The Texas Tech product played 32 defensive snaps (half of the team’s defensive snaps) and five snaps on special teams. He had one assisted tackle and didn’t show much of the pass-rush burst that made him a top draft prospect.

I would give Wilson a break for a few reason. It was his first NFL game, he missed most of the preseason recovering from a foot injury and the air in Denver is rough.

Let’s give him some time to adjust.

However, if Wilson continues to look unenergetic that will be a problem. But again, let’s be a little patient with him.

Michael Mayer:

The second-round pick from Notre Dame started and played 29 snaps on offense. He didn’t have any catches. Veteran tight end Austin Hooper had one catch, the only catch by a player at the position for the Raiders on Sunday. Most of the Raiders’ passing game plan was centered around receivers Jakobi Meyers and Davante Adams. There will be games where Mayer will be more part of the plan and it will be vital he responds well.

Byron Young:

The third-round pick from Alabama played 20 defensive snaps and he had no tackles. So, it was a pretty quiet day for him. But it’s encouraging that the coaching staff felt comfortable playing him 31 percent of the snaps in his first game.

Los Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos
Jakorian Bennett
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Jakorian Bennett:

The fourth-round pick from Maryland started and had a mixed game. He was beaten often, but he also showed strong signs of tackling ability. Look, playing cornerback in the NFL is extremely challenging. For a fourth rounder to start his first game is impressive. The team feels there is something there. There will be growing pains, but the team should be excited about his potential.


In reality, the rookie class did not make a big impact Sunday and it is not great that Tucker was inactive. But, overall, there is potential for this class to contribute very soon.


Are you impressed with the rookie class so far?

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  • 12%
    (76 votes)
  • 87%
    Haven’t seen much to be impressed about yet
    (544 votes)
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