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Raiders Mailbag: Offseason beginning to ramp up for the Silver and Black

Scott Boe asks:

"What's the plan to improve a defense that features Maxx Crosby?"

There's a lot of ways to tackle – no pun intended – the needs of the Raiders defense.

Despite edge rusher Maxx Crosby coming off a career season, the Silver and Black defense allowed the fifth-most yards and the seventh-most points to opposing offenses in 2022. The core of the defense still looks promising with veteran Chandler Jones on the other side of Crosby, and defensive backs Nate Hobbs and Tre’von Moehrig expected to make strides going into their third season.

There's a few unrestricted free agents that the Raiders could benefit from re-signing, which include team captains Denzel Perryman and Duron Harmon, who each had two interceptions this past season. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is off to a productive start to the offseason, leading the American Team to a victory in the Reese's Senior Bowl. Based off his week in Mobile, Alabama, he and the scouting staff have a plethora of talented prospects to evaluate for the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City, Missouri.

Don Collins asks:

"Any chance of drafting Hendon Hooker to be the QB of the future? Looking at his stats and film, he's amazing."

I'm personally a big fan of Hendon Hooker for several reasons.

For starters, he's proven to be an accurate quarterback in college. In two seasons at Tennessee, he completed nearly 69 percent of his passes and had a 58:5 touchdown to interception ratio. He's also a proven winner, going 16-8 as a starter for the Volunteers and winning the 2022 SEC Offensive Player of the Year. His decision making with the football also rivals other top-tier prospects such as Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud.

While he's not exactly the ideal age (25) for a rookie quarterback, he could bring a maturity with him to an NFL locker room – a trait that several scouts and coaches have raved about when speaking about him during the draft process. His draft stock has taken an unfortunate dip, due to him recovering from a torn ACL suffered against South Carolina. However, he believes he'll "be back 100 percent" in time for Training Camp. The Raiders have a lot of QB prospects to evaluate throughout the lead up to the draft, but I think Hooker has the potential to be reliable second-round sleeper.

Lory Kong asks:

"Are we trading for Aaron Rodgers?"

As the Raiders search for their next quarterback, all options are on the table, including selecting a rookie QB in the draft or acquiring four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers. It could make sense considering his pedigree and his chemistry with the Raiders star receiver, as Davante Adams had five double-digit touchdown seasons with Rodgers as his QB1.

Nevertheless, the Raiders will undoubtedly exhaust all of their options looking for their next quarterback. Re-signing Jarrett Stidham is a huge possibility, with four years of experience in Josh McDaniels' offense along with throwing for nearly 700 yards and four touchdowns in his two starts in 2022. This is also a quarterback rich draft class, headlined by Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, Anthony Richardson and Hendon Hooker, who I previously mentioned.

Not to mention a few veteran free agent options such as Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, who both played under McDaniels in New England. Garoppolo had a 16:4 touchdown to interception ratio last season with the 49ers, while Brissett set new career-highs in completion percentage and quarterback rating with the Cleveland Browns.

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