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The 3 Biggest Raiders 2024 NFL Draft Mistakes

The Las Vegas Raiders have started a new era under head coach Antonio Pierce. He served as the team’s interim head coach for part of the 2023 season before signing a contract this offseason that reinforces Vegas’ commitment to the Pierce way. Pierce has a similar appeal to Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell. First of all, they are both former players who get along well with their players and deserve their respect. However, Pierce and the Raiders still have a long way to go before they are talked about as the Lions.

A major roadblock is the quarterback. The Raiders have a handful of options at the position, but no definitive franchise guy. Aidan O’Connell won the hearts of fans after courageous performances in 2023 replacing Jimmy Garoppolo. Gardner Minshew signed a surprisingly lucrative two-year, $25 million contract during free agency, including $15 million guaranteed. The 2024 NFL Draft didn’t go the Raiders way and they were left without a rookie QB in the first round.

Make no mistake: the future looks bright for the Raiders. But fans will have to be patient with this team as they find an identity.

Raiders don’t make an aggressive move for a QB

It’s hard not to criticize the way the Raiders handled their QB situation this offseason.

Some of this criticism hinges on how many QBs the Raiders passed on this offseason and there being no clear plan on how to improve the position going forward. The Raiders briefly ignored the draft and missed out on both Justin Fields and Russell Wilson during the free agency period. Both were very easy to obtain and did not require a large investment. Both QBs would have been cheaper than Minshew and also with more contractual flexibility.

It would also have been fun to see the Raiders feverishly trying to move up the board after seeing the run on QBs start. That said, Michael Penix Jr. arguably their man, and his surprise pick at eighth overall may have shocked the Raiders as much as the rest of us.

You never want to put too much stock in what people say about next year’s draft class in May, but the class of 2025 doesn’t look good right now. Do the Raiders suffer from scarcity at the position in next year’s draft? Or will they be just successful enough to lose the draft position they would need to pick a QB next year? Maybe they can trade for a QB, but who? And how expensive would it be?

Regardless, it’s hard to be optimistic about the 2024 season for the Raiders with the quarterback still a question mark.

Passing on an elite tackle prospect in the first round

The Raiders selected Brock Bowers 13th overall. Pairing him with Michael Mayer gives Vegas an elite pair of tight ends who have complementary skill sets. The choice is very easy to defend.

That said, the Raiders might have been better served by selecting an offensive lineman instead. Las Vegas had its choice of the following offensive linemen who were still on the board at age 13: Taliese Fuaga, Amarius Mims, Troy Fautanu and Graham Barton.

Some of these players even have positional versatility, allowing them to deploy wherever they are needed on the offensive line. If the Raiders were concerned about landing any of these players, a potential trade down could have provided additional resources and still netted the Raiders an exciting player.

Credit where it’s due: The Raiders selected G/C Jackson Powers-Johnson in the second round of the draft. Not only is he an incredible prospect, but the Raiders got him at a steep discount in the second round.

The Raiders enter the 2024 season with Kolton Miller and Thayer Munford Jr. as starting tackles.

The Raiders aren’t landing a wide receiver in a class with incredibly deep depth

Yes, the Raiders drafted Brock Bowers, who is essentially a wide receiver.

However, it is surprising that Vegas didn’t spend any mid- or late-round picks on a wide receiver. This year’s draft class was incredibly deep and talented, with several players lasting until the very last round of the draft.

It might have been smart to invest in the future at wide receiver and stash someone who could learn for a year or two behind Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers.

The Raiders signed Michael Gallup after the draft, but he offers veteran depth and no long-term upside.