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FSM Essential Recap: Raiders 2024 Draft Class

Franchise Sports Media

The 2024 Raiders draft class is in the books. The Silver and Black’s draft class didn’t include a quarterback, but they added arguably the best offensive weapon, potential starters on the offensive line, and depth in the secondary. Let’s recap Tom Telesco’s first draft class as the Raiders general manager.

 

Raiders 2024 Draft | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

When the Raiders entered the NFL Draft weekend, they had very specific needs to be addressed. There were questions on the offensive line, the defensive backfield, wide receiver depth, and, of course, the quarterback.

Raiders General Manager Tom Telesco stayed true to his board after six quarterbacks were taken in the first 12 picks. When the Raiders were on the clock, he had the opportunity to select any defensive player he wanted since none had been taken before the Raiders‘ pick.

Telesco still had one of the best offensive tackles on the board, but instead, he trusted and stayed true to his board.

To the shock of Raider Nation, the first pick of the Tom Telesco era was University of Georgia tight end Brock Bowers, arguably the best offensive weapon in the draft. 

Yeah, we went through a lot of prep and scenarios, and just the way it worked out, we kind of figured there could be a lot of quarterbacks going early, too, just by looking at the needs of who was there,” Telesco said. “Because somebody may come down that maybe usually wouldn’t, didn’t know who it would be, but the fact that it was somebody that can really make some plays on the offensive side of the ball was helpful.

With his selection, it was clear that he was the top player remaining on Tom Telesco‘s board. Instead of reaching for need, he took the best player available because he has superstar potential. 

Yeah, I mean, and also, we’re looking to add more playmakers to the offense, and they come in all shapes and sizes, in all different positions. And we love Michael Mayer; I love Michael Mayer, and he’s a really good player. He’s going to take another big jump this year. But you get a chance to add just another dimension to the offensive, whether it’s a tight end, hybrid receiver, or whatever it is. You need more playmakers on that side of the ball,” Telesco said when selecting Bower.So, I think he’s really going to help us there, and I feel like he’s a high-level player in college; a true junior, he’s 21 years old, so he’s very young still, still developing. But he has some natural football skills, combined with some high-level athletic ability and speed, so yeah, I’m really happy to have him.

Bowers was the clearcut #1 player at his position with ability that could potentially lead him to being one of the best tight ends in the NFL. Bowers is big, strong, athletic, catches everything thrown his way, and is an excellent blocker in the running game. Simply put, he could be a transcending player.

 

Night two saw the Raiders emphasize the big boys.

 

Raiders 2024 Draft | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: University of Oregon Athletics

In the second round, the Raiders solidified their interior offensive line with the selection of Jackson Powers-Johnson. JPJ played center at the University of Oregon but was announced as a guard on draft night.

Yeah, we see him fitting in at guard. He’s played guard and center, but we see him as a guard for us. But another young kid, 21 years old, still has a lot of growth in his game,” Telesco said. “But he’s big, he’s tough, he plays a Raiders style of football, but he’s also a pretty good athlete to go along with that. So, love his versatility, love his energy and enthusiasm as a player, and to get him in the mix.

Powers-Johnson is a 6’3, 334-pound football player filled with piss and vinegar. He is a fierce competitor with a salty disposition that should fit perfectly with how Antonio Pierce wants his team to play.

Well, he might not be the greatest athlete, but he doesn’t seem to have any issues in pass protection, and because of his attitude and strength, he is a force in the run game, opening up huge holes.

That was one where we felt like the best talent there lined up with what we wanted to add to the offensive line, so that was the perfect combination. It doesn’t always work like that. We can’t manufacture players, so if you do have a specific need you’d love to fill, but if there’s nobody there on your board that kind of fits it, you just can’t go reaching around and manufacture somebody. Everybody’s boards are a little different. There’s no one big consensus board. If there was, I’d love to hear the GM of the consensus board,Telesco said. “Like the Brock Bowers of the world, you can get some consensus, but after that, I mean, you put football people in a room, there’s no way everyone’s going to see someone the same way; it just doesn’t work like that. Just like with my three kids, there’s no way I get consensus with those three, so it’s no different. But since we all see it differently, you’ve got to work it. But it was really nice with Jackson that, ‘Hey, look, we’d love to add to the offensive line if we could,’ and he was a high-level player for us, and we got lucky that we kind of – the second round was a frenzy. There was a lot of trade action and a lot of work. The third round was much more quiet, but we got lucky in the second to get where we were.

 

Raiders 2024 Draft | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

In the third round, the Raiders continued to add to their offensive line with the University of Maryland offensive tackle DJ Glaze.

Another young guy, 21 years old, but a lot of versatility, and we see him as a tackle right now. He’s played both left and right. Probably will see him more on the right side at tackle right now. He’s got some possible guard in the future, maybe, but the flexibility is really nice for all these guys. Typically, you’re dressing eight offensive linemen; the more they can do, the better because we know there’s going to be injuries during the year,” Telesco said. “But no, we see him more as a right tackle. Big frame, long arms, really productive college player. I mean, he’d just block the guy in front of him very consistently. To keep it real general, guy over him, run game, pass game, blocked his man. Balanced body control and strength, and again, we think there’s a lot of future upside with him, too.

At 6’4, 323 pounds, Glaze has started 17 games at left tackle and 17 at right tackle, so he provides tackle versatility and the ability to come in and play swing tackle right away for the Raiders.

Glaze has good hand strength and could potentially move to guard if need be. He has struggled in the past with speed rushers, but he has good hand strength and should improve as he gets stronger, along with the Raiders coaching staff. 

“Yeah, I mean, the Senior Bowl always helps. Same with Jackson [Powers-Johnson], it’s nice that they put him at guard a little bit at the Senior Bowl even though he had played it at Oregon. But with DJ [Glaze], the great thing about the Senior Bowl is you’re practicing every day against somebody who’s an NFL player. A regular college game, no matter what conference, the player you’re playing against the next year, he may be an accountant somewhere,Telesco said. “Maybe a great college player, but maybe not a pro prospect. If you’re in the Senior Bowl, they’re all pro prospects. They’re all going to play in the league. So, if you do well there like DJ did, yeah it certainly helps him. But his college tape was really good, too, so it’s really more of a confirmation of what we think he can do at this level. And again, we’re projecting all these guys from Brock [Bowers] all the way down. These guys are really good college players. We’re projecting them to be good pro players. But the Senior Bowl is always a great evaluation tool for us.

 

Day 3 saw the Raiders add depth on the other side of the ball, as well as add a weapon and overall speed to the team

 

Raiders 2024 Draft | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Kevin Snyder/MSU Athletics

Day three saw the Raiders finally address the secondary when they took Mississippi State cornerback DeCamerion Richardson. The 6’2/188 corner runs the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds. He also has a wingspan of over 32” long. 

He was a two-year starter for the Bulldogs and has shown enough awareness, versatility, and range that could make him a weapon for the Raiders. 

Yeah, I mean, he’s got a lot of potential. I wouldn’t call him necessarily a project because he was a two-year starter in the SEC, but he does have some work to do at the position. But he also fits as far as he can make an impact on special teams with his size and his speed, and he’s an excellent tackler. Usually hard to find bigger corners that can really run that are actually really good tacklers as well,Telesco said. “So, the fact that we get those three things with him, he’s a really good athlete, so keep developing his game. He was relatively new to the position; he was a running back and mostly a safety in high school. He then went to safety and corner in college and is now playing corner. So, just a lot to work with there. But those are the type of guys we want to work with.

In round 5, the Raiders selected a tough-as-nails linebacker who loves football in, Tommy Eichenberg from Ohio State.  Eichenberg is an outstanding run defender who plays the game with an old-school mentality.

He is highly disciplined with his responsibilities, reads, and does an outstanding containment job. He also is a reliable and well-timed blitzer who can get sideline-to-sideline despite not having elite speed. 

Yeah, some of those qualities. I mean, he’s big, he’s really smart and plays aware, hustle, motor, likes to hit, but he’s all ball all the time. He runs very well straight line for a bigger linebacker, and he’s been well-coached through high school. St. Ignatius is a powerhouse in Cleveland, Ohio,Telesco said. “Well coached in high school, played against the top high school players in his area when he was there, and then obviously at Ohio State. So, we think he has big special teams value as well. That’s important for all these guys, as young players, you’ve got to come in and make a mark on special teams with Tom McMahon to come get a jersey on Sunday. And then keep working at your craft or whatever that position is to try and earn a starting job at some point.

 

Raiders 2024 Draft | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: YouTube

In round 6, the Raiders landed an offensive weapon, who can also return kicks and punts in the University of New Hampshire running back Dylan Laube. 

Laube is outstanding as a pass catcher. Some scouts say he reminds them of James White or Austin Ekeler. He could be a weapon on third down for the Raiders out of the backfield.

Everyone always said, Danny Woodhead. We’re always looking for comps, but as far as the concept of style and how they play, yeah, there’d be some similarities there. Obviously, Austin [Ekler] is a big-time player in this league, so I wouldn’t put him in that category yet. Same as Danny Woodhead, Danny, who we had with the San Diego Chargers, he was amazing for us. But as far as a running back with receiving skills, Dylan [Laube] ran a 4.49, so he had some good speed but can do a lot of different things as a football player, which those two guys had to do,” Telesco said. “With Austin Ekeler, when we first brought him in, we signed him after the draft. Obviously, I didn’t know he was going to turn into what he turned into, so we would have drafted much higher. But when we brought him in, he was an outstanding gunner for us, covering kicks. So, once we saw that in the preseason games, he started to get some more carries on offense, and then started to see more of what he could do, and then turned into Austin Ekeler. So again, Danny Woodhead had a similar story when he was with the Patriots and Jets. So, if Dylan was smart, which he is, he’s probably studied those two guys, and hopefully, he’ll have the same type of career.

In round 7, the Raiders landed a playmaking safety out of Air Force. Like his cousin, NFL Hall of Famer Ed Reed, Trey Taylor is a highly productive ballhawk.

Taylor, who won the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top DB, plays the run exceptionally well, and it’s tough as nails. He is a productive downhill safety who can also drop back in coverage and make plays. 

With their final pick of the draft, the Raiders added another playmaker in cornerback M.J. Devonshire. He has all the physical tools you look for, 5’11/185/4.45, and a 38.5 vertical. He is smart and is equally skilled in zone and man coverage.

He is known as an instinctive turnover generator and a playmaker, something the Raiders secondary desperately needed. This could be a major sleeper for the Raiders. 

 

Final analysis

 

Raiders Mock Draft v1.0 | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Raiders did not have a chance to take one of the top 6 quarterbacks in this draft, and Tom Telesco said he wasn’t going to reach for one. So the Raiders instead loaded up on their offensive line, which was needed, and added speed and playmaking to the secondary.

If the Raiders had drafted a quarterback, he still would’ve been the third-best quarterback in the division. Telesco instead decided to build the team from the inside out on the offensive side and add players who fit the culture that Antonio Pierce is developing and cultivating. 

It’s much too early to tell if this draft class will succeed, but on paper, the Raiders took care of critical needs that have long been neglected by reaching for players. 

While it may not be a “sexy class,” it is definitely a class that got the team better and filled many of the Raiders‘ most significant needs.

 

Let’s look at who the Raiders signed as undrafted rookies after the draft ended.

 

Carter Bradley – QB – South Alabama

ClarkBarrington – G – Baylor

Andrew Coker – T – TCU

Jeff Foreman – WR – Arkansas State

Tomari Fox – DT – North Carolina

TJ Franklin – DE – Baylor

Amari Gainer – DE – North Carolina

Demarcus Governor – CB – Northern Iowa

Lideatrick Griffin – WR – Mississippi State

Jake Johanning – G – Furman

Ramel Keyton – WR – Tennessee

Will Putnam – C – Clemson

Phalen Sanford – S – Nebraska

Noah Shannon – DT – Iowa

Ja’Quan Sheppard – CB – Maryland

Ron Stone – DE – Washington State

Rayshad Williams – CB – Texas Tech

 

Keep coming back to FSM throughout the offseason for all your Raiders coverage. Thanks for visiting FranchiseSportsMedia.com for your Las Vegas Sports news today.

 

Franchise Sports Media. Las Vegas sports news about Las Vegas Sports teams.

-Joe Arrigo   Franchise Sports Media

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