Las Vegas Raiders: 3 Intriguing Third-Round Targets To Watch

Raiders
NFL Analysis Network

As a byproduct of the massive Davante Adams trade, the Las Vegas Raiders no longer have a first or second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Of course, you are unlikely to find many members of Raider Nation who are upset by the trade, but it will take a bit longer for them to join the action on draft night. However, in a draft class that features more depth than it does high-end talent, Las Vegas might be in a good spot come April. 

In fact, having a selection this late in the draft may end up as a blessing in disguise for a team that has struggled immensely when picking in the first round in the past. Most recently, Las Vegas has selected Alex Leatherwood, Henry Ruggs, Damon Arnette, Josh Jacobs, Jonathan Abram, and Clelin Ferrell in the first round. To put it plainly, not very good. 

Despite the struggles, however, the Raiders still fielded a solid team in 2021. With star players throughout the team in Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow, and Maxx Crosby, they made the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 season. Doing so in the face of numerous unprecedented off-field issues was one of the most remarkable moments of the 2021 NFL season. 

Under new leadership in 2022, the Raiders have been aggressive in adding talent. As mentioned, they traded their first and second-round picks to the Green Bay Packers for star wide receiver Davante Adams. An instant boost to an already good offense, Adams makes the Raiders a juggernaut on that side of the ball. They also added one of the NFL’s best pass rushers in Chandler Jones who forms a lethal duo across from Crosby. 

With all of this premier talent already in tow, the Raiders will be looking for some high upside selections and role players when they finally make a selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. These three players fit the bill. 

Travis Jones, DT (UConn)

Currently, the interior of the Raiders’ defensive line is a massive work in progress. While they did sign former Chicago Bear Bilal Nichols, he still has much to prove in the NFL. They also re-signed run-stuffing specialists Johnathan Hankins and Vernon Butler. Both solid role players, Hankins and Butler are both signed to one-year contracts. 

This is where Travis Jones comes in. At 6’4” and 341 pounds, he is a behemoth of a man. Stout on the inside of the UConn defense, Jones had 48 tackles in 2021. Not just a run stuffer, he had 4.5 sacks last season which was a career-high as he had 3.5 in 2019. In the pre-draft process, Jones blew the door off the combine by showing his athletic ability with a 4.92 40-yard dash time and a 7.33 in the three-cone drill. 

Jones fits the Raiders as well. While he currently plays the same role as Butler and Hankins, he possesses significantly more upside than either guy as a pass rusher. He also, obviously, is young enough to be a core building block for the defense moving forward and would be a good complement to the skill set of Nichols for years to come. If available in the third round, he could be a potential steal for Las Vegas. 

Sean Rhyan, OT (UCLA) 

Perhaps the biggest weakness on the Raiders roster right now is at right tackle. Currently, veteran Brandon Parker and second-year pro-Alex Leatherwood are lined up to compete for the starting job at the position. While he has developed since his days as a third-round pick back in 2018, Parker is still not a starting quality offensive tackle. Likewise, Leatherwood, last year’s first-round selection, was one of the worst offensive linemen in the league in 2021 and was kicked inside to guard. 

Rhyan, an offensive tackle from UCLA, is listed at 6’5” and 321 pounds and is known for his strength, especially in the run game. In the passing game, his hands are violent and strong. A quality athlete, Rhyan posted a 5.25 40-yard dash and a broad jump of 33.5 at the NFL Combine. The biggest worry with Rhyan at this point is his lack of length which could cause him to move inside to guard. 

For the Raiders, Rhyan could be a massive addition if available. With major questions at right tackle, the UCLA product could quite easily compete for playing time early in his rookie season. Either way, he would provide valuable depth at both guard and tackle. 

David Ojabo, EDGE (Michigan)

Unfortunately for Ojabo, talent is not the reason we are discussing him this late in the draft. While working out for NFL scouts at Michigan’s Pro Day, Ojabo tore his Achilles’ tendon. Likely to miss the entirety of his rookie season, there is no telling what the injury could do to his draft stock. As a player who relies heavily on his athletic ability, it could be catastrophic. 

When on the field for the Wolverines last season, Ojabo was a dominant pass rusher opposite Aidan Hutchinson. With eleven sacks in 2021, he was named a second-team All-American. An incredibly raw player, he did not play organized football till his junior year of high school, Ojabo’s physical tools are immense. While he will need to learn the game more from a technical standpoint, his potential is through the roof. 

If available in the third round, Ojabo has the potential to be the steal of the draft. Originally slated to be a first-round selection, he would only be available due to his medicals. With both Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby currently on the roster, the Raiders have plenty of pass-rushing juice. This makes a potential Ojabo selection even more enticing as they would not have to rush him back to the field. When he would return, however, the Raiders would be able to hunt quarterbacks with the best of them.