The Las Vegas Raiders have had ample draft picks in recent years, but most of them have been colossal failures for a variety of reasons.
This week, the Las Vegas Raiders made a minor move, sending receiver Bryan Edwards to the Atlanta Falcons for a 2023 fifth-round pick. Las Vegas is also sending Atlanta a seventh-round choice in 2023 to round out the deal.
While the trade is barely notable, that’s part of the point. Edwards, only drafted two years ago, is a symbol of something much larger that has plagued the Raiders, and why they’ve cleaned house for a new era led by general manager Dave Ziegler.
Dating back to the 2019 class, Las Vegas has been loaded with extra draft picks, largely because of its trade with the Chicago Bears regarding edge rusher Khalil Mack. That year, the Raiders took edge rusher Clelin Ferrell, running back Josh Jacobs and safety Johnathan Abram with their three-first round picks. Last month, the team announced it wasn’t exercising any of their fifth-year options.
However, this is oddly the one draft which has panned out. While the first-rounders have been busts to varying extents, Las Vegas also landed edge rusher Maxx Crosby in the fourth round and star receiver Hunter Renfrow in the fifth.
Unfortunately for the Silver and Black, those are the last highlights.
In 2020, it was receiver Henry Ruggs III and corner Damon Arnette in the first round. Neither are in the NFL anymore, with Ruggs facing substantial prison time after being charged with four felonies including driving under the influence causing death after a fatal car crash in November.
The following draft brought another underwhelming class to this early point, led by first-round guard Alex Leatherwood who struggled mightily in his first season. Then, this year, the Raiders had little capital after having traded their first- and second-round picks to the Green Bay Packers for star receiver Davante Adams.
For the Raiders, they desperately need to start hitting on their choices, specifically those in Days 1 and 2. Without doing so, it’ll be very tough to stay consistently competitive in the AFC West, dealing with the likes of Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes on an annual basis.
Perhaps with Ziegler in charge, things will change for Las Vegas after years of mistakes.
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