Las Vegas Raiders 2024 NFL draft picks: Selection analysis

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Sunday, April 28, 2024

HENDERSON, Nev. -- The 2024 NFL draftbegan Thursday night in Detroit and finished on Saturday. The Las Vegas Raidersstarted their draft by selecting Georgia tight endBrock Bowerswith the No. 13 pick.

Here's a look at each of Las Vegas' selections:

Analysis of every pick | Updated depth chart

Round 1, No. 13 overall: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

My take: What a strange first-round selection, especially considering tight end was addressed last season with the second-round selection of Michael Mayer. Offensive tackle and cornerback were bigger needs. New general manager Tom Telesco must have simply relied on his draft board and gone best player available, especially with Oregon State RT Taliese Fuaga and every single CB still available. In fact, every defensive player was still on the board, and yet ... Bowers was considered a top-10 overall talent and should provide immediate production for an anemic offense.

Key stats: In three seasons at Georgia, Bowers caught a combined 175 passes for 2,538 yards and 26 touchdowns. Those are receiver numbers. And at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, he's built more like a gliding wideout than a lumbering tight end. Oh yeah, Mayer goes 6-4, 265, so he is now the blocking TE after catching 27 passes for 304 yards and two TDs in 14 games (he missed the last three with an injured foot). Bowers is lauded as the preeminent pass-catching tight end of his class and, well, era, so there is value there. Expect a lot of double-TE sets in the Rob Gronkowski-Aaron Hernandez mold.

Will he start as a rookie?He better. Why else use a first-round pick on him, then? Even as he will have to battle a second-year, second-round draft pick in Mayer, and that's not a wise use of resources. Bowers is obviously more proficient as a pass-catcher and he had 56 receptions for 714 yards and six TDs last season, even as he had surgery on his left ankle in October and returned later in the season. Bowers' pass-catching ability should complement receiver Davante Adams. Receiver was actually a position of need in the Raiders' draft room -- between OT and CB -- so, this checks out, no?.

Round 2, No. 44 overall: Jackson Powers-Johnson, G/C, Oregon

My take: While Powers-Johnson played center at Oregon, the Raiders announced him as a guard, which makes sense since Las Vegas needs a right guard. Yes, even after the Raiders signed veteran Cody Whitehair in free agency. Powers-Johnson has started games at both guard spots and center in his college career. Last season, he started 13 games at center, was an All-America selection and won the Rimington Award as the nation's top center. He provides quality versatility, which is highly valued on the Raiders' offensive line.

Will he start as a rookie?: Only if the 6-foot-3, 328-pound Power-Johnson beats out Whitehair at right guard. Andre James is the Raiders center and was re-signed this offseason to a three-year, $24 million contract so he's not about to be unseated, right? There's a reason the Raiders announced Powers-Johnson as a guard upon his being drafted. With that opening on the right side, where he started one game in 2021 and another in 2022, that's where his future most likely resides.

Round 3, No. 77 overall: Delmar Glaze, OT, Maryland

My take: After taking a versatile interior offensive lineman in the second round in Powers-Johnson, the Raiders used their third-round pick to grab a college tackle who could also transition inside to guard in Glaze. The selection shows how much the new regime of GM Tom Telesco and coach Antonio Pierce value versatility on the offensive line, which is all but set on the left side and at center. Glaze has a long wingspan at nearly seven feet but is not known for being overly physical.

Will he start as a rookie? Projecting more as a swing tackle who might be set inside at guard, it's unlikely. He has paid his dues though, after playing in just one game as a freshman before starting four games at right tackle and two at left tackle as a sophomore, 12 games at right tackle and one at left tackle as a junior and all 13 games at left tackle last season for the Terrapins. He started 32 of 49 career college games.

Round 4,No. 112:Decamerion Richardson, CB, Mississippi State

My take: The Raiders finally address their defense at defensive back in particular, with Richardson who is 6-foot-2 and ran the 40 in 4.34 seconds. He needs development but did lead Mississippi State with 7 pass breakups last season, even as he never had an interception. He's also not afraid to stick his nose in the scrum as he had a combined 164 tackles the last two seasons.

Round 5, No. 148: Tommy Eichenberg, ILB, Ohio State

My take:Coach Pierce, who spent nine years as an NFL linebacker, gets his guy in the 6-foot-2, 233-pound Eichenberg, who provides depth while translating into a backup for Robert Spillane. Eichenberg did miss three games with an arm injury last season, a year after he was second-team All-American. More a thumper inside than a pass-coverage specialist, Eichenberg had 82 tackles (2.5 for a loss), a sack and a forced fumble in 10 games last season.

Round 6: No. 208 (from Kansas City): Dylan Laube, RB, New Hampshire

My take:An FCS All-American all-purpose player, Laube projects more as a potential kick and punt returner in the NFL rather than a rotational running back. He averaged 31.1 yards on kick returns and 11.3 yards on punt returns and had a touchdown on each. He rushed for 749 yards and nine TDs, averaging 4.7 yards per carry last season, and also had 68 catches for 699 yards with seven receiving scores, including a 295-receiving yards game against Central Michigan.

Round 7: No. 223 (from New England): Trey Taylor, S, Air Force

My take: The first-ever defensive back drafted out of the Air Force Academy, Taylor won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back. He figures to provide immediate depth behind starters Marcus Epps and Tre'von Moehrig, but at 6-feet, 213 pounds, he has the size and instincts to be an immediate contributor. Taylor, whose cousin is Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed, had three interceptions, one pick-six, 74 tackles, five for a loss, four PBUs and a blocked kick last fall.

Round 7, No. 229 overall: M.J. Devonshire, CB, Pittsburgh

My take: The Raiders concluded their draft by taking their second cornerback of the day in Devonshire, who is more a physical defender who does not shy away from bump-and-run coverage than a speedy DB, though he did run a 4.45 40. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Devonshire led Pitt with four interceptions last season, including a pick-six, and had 10 PBUs in 12 games with nine starts. Las Vegas split their eight draft picks evenly between offense (TE, G, OT, RB) and defense (two CBs, S, LB).

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