Leonardo Duell from Maryland asks:
"Do the Raiders have enough secondary help to compete in the AFC West?"
They certainly did last year, and it should only get better this year. After finishing second in the division last season at 10-7, the Raiders have lost a few key players in the secondary – with Casey Hayward going to the Atlanta Falcons and Brandon Facyson signing with the Indianapolis Colts. To replace them, the Raiders have gone after two young cornerbacks in Rock Ya-Sin and Anthony Averett who recorded a combined 19 pass deflections in 2021. Safety Duron Harmon has been another great veteran signing who had success with Josh McDaniels and Patrick Graham with the Patriots.
The secondary could also be bolstered with this year's draft. The potential prospects I believe the Raiders can look at for the secondary include Jim Thorpe Award winner Coby Bryant, MEAC defensive player of the year Cobie Durant, Miami safety Bubba Bolden and cornerback Cordale Flott, who won a national championship with LSU in 2019.
Benjamin Villescas from Colorado asks:
"Can you do Raider wishlist for draft?"
While Ziegler and McDaniels will be keeping their big board under wraps, my wishlist for the draft includes going after another offensive lineman, linebacker and defensive back.
As for the offensive line, the Raiders are in a position to go after another guard or tackle to add more depth and competition – something Ziegler said at the Combine that his staff is looking for. Two guards viable of taking with the 86th pick are Cole Strange from Chattanooga or Jamaree Salyer from Georgia, who both benched over 30 reps during the NFL Combine last month. A tackle worth looking at who could be around at No. 86 is Max Mitchell from Louisiana Lafayette – the highest-graded tackle in all of college football last season by Pro Football Focus.
Linebackers Nephi Sewell from Utah and D'Marco Jackson from Appalachian State would also be good fits as mid-round selections for the Raiders. Both have experience playing in multiple fronts, won a conference championship and were regarded as great leaders for their retrospective schools. As for defensive backs – I named a few in the previous question – but another prospect worth noting is Marcus Jones from Houston. Jones had five interceptions last season and was also an AAC first-team selection as a return specialist.
Aaron Bethke from California asks:
"Who will play NT this year?"
I believe the nose tackle position may once again be locked up by Johnathan Hankins. The defensive tackle re-signed with the Raiders on Monday and will be going into his fifth season with the organization. Hankins has previously played under defensive coordinator Patrick Graham with the New York Giants in 2016 where he produced one of his best seasons of his career. That year, Hankins had 43 total tackles, 10 quarterback hits, eight tackles for loss and three sacks.
Another player who could see plenty of snaps at nose tackle is free agent signing Bilal Nichols from the Chicago Bears. The 2018 fifth-round draft pick out of Delaware has started 31 games over the past two seasons with eight sacks in that span.
As for drafting another nose tackle to add to the room, Ohio State's Haskell Garrett would be a nice option as a mid-round selection. Garrett grew up in Las Vegas, playing at Bishop Gorman, and showed good pass rushing skills as a Buckeye, recording 7.5 sacks over his last two seasons.