Las Vegas Raiders Rookie Forecast

Solid Starter

Jackson Powers-Johnson, G, Oregon – Round 2

Powers-Johnson was one of my favorite prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft, so I had a hard time not selecting him as a boom pick. I think as soon as his rookie season he could emerge as a solid starter and it would not surprise me if Powers-Johnson is a pro bowl guard or center during his rookie contract.

In pass protection, the 6-foot-3, 334-pound Powers-Johnson is a steady interior blocker that gets the job done. He executes double teams well with guard and uses his strong upper body to sustain blocks well. Powers-Johnson has a strong anchor where he can sink his weight and stop bull rushes from collapsing the pocket. In tight areas, Powers-Johnson is difficult to get by as he is quick to engage and hold onto blockers. For the next level, Powers-Johnson should be a steady and consistent pass protector.

As a run blocker Powers-Johnson really excels at the point of attack. He is a strong and heavy center that packs a real punch off the ball. Powers-Johnson has the strength to help generate movement and push defenders backwards. Powers-Johnson plays with an aggressive demeanor and is physical. If he is moving with guards alongside him, Powers-Johnson is capable of moving to the side on zone runs.

The Raiders needed offensive line help at right guard, so Powers-Johnson could be a plug-and-play starter.

2023: Tyree Wilson, DE
2022: Dylan Parham, G
2021: Trevon Moehrig, S
2020: Damon Arnette, CB
2019: Johnathan Abram, S
2018: Kolton Miller, OT
2017: Obi Melifonwu, S
2016: Shilique Calhoun, DE
2015: Clive Walford, TE
2014: Gabe Jackson, G
2013: Sio Moore, LB

Most Likely To Bust

Delmar Glaze, WR, Maryland – Round 3

The Raiders made a reach with the selection of Glaze in the third round. Other teams had him projected to day three of the draft and Glaze needs development to handle pro edge rushers. Las Vegas has a good left tackle in Kolton Miller, while Thayer Munford is the projected starter at right tackle. While Munford is underwhelming, Glaze’s limitations could be dangerous to project him as a starter to keep rushers out of the face of the quarterback. Glaze could serve as a swing tackle backup, but third-round picks are expected to be backups that develop into starters. Glaze could fall short of that and of the Raiders’ early-round picks, he looks most likely to bust.

2023: Tre Tucker, WR
2022: None
2021: Divine Deable, LB
2020: Tanner Muse, LB
2019: Trayvon Mullen, CB
2018: Arden Key, DE
2017: Eddie Vanderdoes, DT
2016: Jihad Ward, DE
2015: Mario Edwards, DT
2014: Derek Carr, QB
2013: D.J. Hayden, CB

Potential Boom Pick

Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia – Round 1

A year ago I selected Michael Mayer for this distinction and that was dealt a serious blow when the Raiders drafted a receiving tight end to feature over him in Bowers with the 13th overall-pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Bowers will instantly be a mismatch weapon in the Las Vegas offense and he could quickly become of the better receiving tight ends in the NFL.

For the NFL, Bowers has the ability to be a potential pro bowl tight end that is a three down starter and a difference maker. Bowers is a phenomenal receiving tight end that is an extremely difficult player to cover. Bowers is a very good route runner that is skilled at finding the soft spot in zone coverage and presenting a big target for his quarterback.

While Bowers does not have crazy speed or freak athleticism like a Kyle Pitts, Bowers is fantastic at winning contested catches using his size to gain better position. With his leaping ability, Bowers high points balls naturally and is very dangerous on 50-50 passes. For a smaller tight end body, Bowers has excellent ball adjustment skills showing a natural ability to make difficult catches by contorting his frame. He will be a tremendous red zone weapon in the NFL. Bowers has strong hands and is very reliable. When a quarterback is in trouble, Bowers is a great asset for them to throw the ball up to him knowing he will probably get a reception or incompletion.

The question with many tight ends is speed and Bowers definitely has it. He has a second gear in the open field and can run away from defenders. Bowers is a quick tight end that gets downfield, maintains his speed while cutting, and is smooth through the route. With his speed, athleticism, and strength, Bowers is dangerous after the catch to rip off yards and turn routine catches into big plays.

There are usually less than a handful of tight ends that can be split out wide from the line and generate separation with their sudden quickness and route running from NFL safeties and cornerbacks. Travis Kelce and Darren Waller were in their prime, Kyle Pitts has that ability if he were used that way, and Bowers has that special kind of ability for the next level. He is a real problem in coverage as he is too big and quick for safeties while being too fast for linebackers.

As a blocker, Bowers is not a typical receiving tight end. Many receiving tight ends are disinterested and weak blockers but that is not the case with Bowers. While Bowers is not going to dominate and overpower a defensive end, he uses his frame to tie up defenders and he often gets the job done. For many pro tight ends, just having the desire with an attitude to be a willing blocker is all teams need to function and Bowers has that. That being said, he is impressive hitting blocks at the second level and in 2022 he sprung some big plays for Georgia by hitting blocks on linebackers and defensive backs on the perimeter.

Team sources say that Bowers (6-4, 230) lacks size and isn’t strong, so he is going to struggle as an inline blocker at the pro level. Pro defensive ends are bigger, stronger, and longer, so Bowers could have problems trying to block them. Bowers can contribute as a blocker in two tight end sets, but he lacks the size and strength to be a true Y (blocking tight end).

The Raiders have Davante Adams for the time being, but the star receiver is aging, declining, and expensive. He could be playing for another team before too long and it would not be surprising if Bowers is the featured mismatch receiver in the Las Vegas offense. With Mayer serving as the Y tight end and Bowers as the F, I think Bowers blocking issues could be disguised some. If Bowers stays healthy, he has real boom pick potential for Las Vegas.

2023: Michael Mayer, TE
2022: None
2021: Alex Leatherwood, OT
2020: Henry Ruggs, WR
2019: Josh Jacobs, RB
2018: Nick Nelson, CB
2017: Gareon Conley, CB
2016: Karl Joseph, S
2015: Amari Cooper, WR
2014: Khalil Mack, LB
2013: Menelik Watson, OT

Future Depth Player

Tommy Eichenberg, LB, Ohio State – Round 5

The Raiders made a nice value selection with Eichenberg in the fifth round. While Eichenberg is not a world beater with elite size, speed, or athleticism, he is a natural football player that was very reliable for the Buckeyes over the past few seasons. As a linebacker Eichenberg is a well rounded player. He has very good instincts and is quick to read his keys to get in position to make plays. There is no doubt that Eichenberg is a tough box linebacker that shows the strength to take on blocks, shed offensive linemen, and make the tackle. In pass coverage Eichenberg is a capable defender. Eichenberg reads plays quickly and covers a lot of ground in zone. Eichenberg could start out as a backup and special teams contributor, but I think he has the potential to develop beyond that role. At the very least, Eichenberg should be a solid backup for Las Vegas.

2023: Aidan O’Connell, QB
2022: Zamir White, RB
2021: Malcolm Koonce, DE
2020: Lynn Bowden, WR
2019: Hunter Renfrow, WR
2018: Maurice Hurst, DT
2017: David Sharpe, OT
2016: Connor Cook, QB
2015: Jon Feliciano, G
2014: Keith McGill, CB
2013: Tyler Wilson, QB