Let’s look at how the Las Vegas Raiders’ rookie class performed in a 23-20 Week 17 road loss at the Indianapolis Colts and ahead of Sunday’s season finale at home against the Denver Broncos.
Two of the team’s nine draft picks were inactive for the game. They were second-round pick Michael Mayer (he had a toe injury that has kept him out of the past two games) and defensive tackle, third-round pick Byron Young, who hasn’t played since October. The Raiders waived defensive tackle, seventh-round pick Nesta Jade Silvera in December. He is now on the Las Vegas practice squad.
Wilson was on the field for just 20 snaps, his fewest in five weeks. the No. 7 overall draft pick didn’t have any stats against the Colts. He had been making some good strides until this game.
The speedster third-round pick from Cincinnati was on the field for 69 percent of the snaps, a season high. His five targets was the second most of the season. He had two catches for 36 yards, including a 16-yard catch on fourth and 10. Tucker was wide open for a possible touchdown early in the game, but quarterback Aidan O’Connell didn’t see him. Overall, Tucker is a work in progress, but he’s exciting.
The fourth-round pick from Maryland didn’t play any defensive snaps for the second straight game. He did play three snaps on special teams. This is a big fall for the early-season starter. Part of the reason, of course, is the emergence of recent addition Jack Jones.
O’Connell’s final numbers don’t look bad as he finished completing 30 of 47 passes for 299 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. But there was some garbage time success and the Raiders’ offense couldn’t get moving much for long stretches. The fourth-round pick from Purdue also missed some open receivers or didn’t see them. The best part of O’Connell is he hasn’t thrown any interceptions in the past three games (a Pick Six was nullified by a penalty Sunday). He was better in this game that he was a week earlier at Kansas City. O’Connell must produce against Denver to give the franchise confidence he can be the answer in 2024.
In Week 15, the fifth-round pick from Georgia played 22 snaps at safety, his first action on defense. In Week 16, Smith played no defensive snaps the past two weeks and was on the field for 13 snaps on special teams.
Burney was active for the third straight game. He had no defensive snaps and played 14 on special teams. The sixth-round pick from Miami has been active in six games and it was the second straight game he didn’t play on defense.
There’s one more chance for this group (which has had some nice moments this season) to stand out before the offseason starts.