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Raiders Mailbag: Diamonds in the rough on defense heading into the 2023 Draft

Roger Gowens from Arkansas asks:

"What unit of the defense do you see adding the most players in the draft?"

I could see the Raiders being active for linebackers in the draft.

First, the Silver and Black currently have six linebackers on the roster. Out of those six, Robert Spillane, Divine Deablo and Luke Masterson have the most experience – starting at least seven games in their NFL careers. Depth at this position could go a long way come Training Camp.

Secondly, the linebackers in this year's draft class are pretty damn good. The Raiders could easily find some Day 2 or Day 3 gems in the likes of First Team All-Pac-12 Daiyan Henley from Washington State, First Team All-SEC linebacker Henry To'oTo'o from Alabama or Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year Jack Campbell from Iowa.

Two sleeper linebackers on my radar are Cincinnati's Ivan Pace Jr. and Texas' DeMarvion Overshown. Both looked impressive at the Senior Bowl in February, with Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham getting an up close look at the two. Pace is the reigning AAC Defensive Player of the Year and Overshown is a safety-to-linebacker convert with 30.5 tackles for loss in five seasons as a Longhorn.

Tyler Sweeney from Idaho asks:

"What are the Raiders going to do to help Maxx Crosby off the edge?"

While the team has stars Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones, who is recovering from an injury he suffered at the end of last year, more depth would certainly be helpful coming off the edge, especially with Clelin Ferrell leaving for the San Francisco 49ers this offseason.

The Raiders have signed John Jenkins, Jordan Willis and re-signed Jerry Tillery – all of whom can play interior defensive line and rush off the edge. There's also a few viable edge rushers still available on the free agent market, including Jadeveon Clowney, Frank Clark, Robert Quinn and former Raider Yannick Ngakoue.

The Silver and Black have a handful of options to look at across the entire draft. If they decide to draft for the position in the first round, All-American Tyree Wilson from Texas Tech or Keion White from Georgia Tech would be sure-fire options. The level of talent at the position doesn't dip in the later rounds either, with MAC standouts Karl Brooks from Bowling Green and MAC Defensive Player of the Year Jose Ramirez, hailing from Crosby's alma mater of Eastern Michigan, raising their stock after the East-West Shrine Bowl and the Senior Bowl.

Moki Nacario-Diaz from California asks:

"Should the Raiders move down in the draft and get more picks?"

It's always a possibility.

If the Raiders feel they can still get their guy and gain more assets in the process, I'm all for it. However, the Raiders currently hold 12 picks in this year's draft, which is tied with the Houston Texans for the most among all teams.

It's more realistic to me they'll use their current draft capital to potentially trade up at certain points in the draft. That way, they don't risk losing out on guys they're high on to another team. However, I also see the team staying put at seven, or trading back to build up more depth in the secondary or offensive line.

As the Raiders get set to pick No. 7 in the 2023 NFL Draft, take a look back at photos of past players the Raiders took in that spot.

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