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Raiders Mailbag: What's in store for the Silver and Black following the draft?

Javier Ochoa from California asks:

"With the Raiders drafting Jackson Powers-Johnson in the second round, do we potentially have a center battle going into camp?"

There will competition at every position, and the benefit behind drafting Jackson Powers-Johnson is his ability to play center and guard at a high level. General Manager Tom Telesco gave a clear answer, though, that the Rimington Award winner will be switching to guard. Therefore, Andre James is expected to remain the starting center coming off a multi-year contract extension he signed this offseason.

"[A]nother young kid, 21 years old, so still a lot of growth in his game," Telesco said of Powers-Johnson. "He's big, he's tough, he plays a Raiders style of football, but he's also a pretty good athlete to go along with that. So, love his versatility, love his energy and enthusiasm as a player, and to get him in the mix."

Ron Eland from Nevada asks:

"With no quarterback chosen in the draft, what's the plan moving forward?"

In his final draft press conference, Telesco revealed the team didn't consider drafting a quarterback after the first round. With six quarterbacks selected before the Raiders' No. 13 pick, they felt it was best to build around the quarterbacks already on the roster.

"If we felt there was a quarterback out there that was better than we had, or could potentially be better, certainly we would have done something," Telesco said. "But it didn't line up."

It appears the plan moving forward is a quarterback battle between Gardner Minshew II, coming off a Pro Bowl season with the Indianapolis Colts, and Aidan O'Connell, who started 10 games as a rookie. The Silver and Black added depth behind them with former Baltimore Raven Anthony Brown Jr. and UDFA Carter Bradley.

David Ligon from California asks:

"Tom Telesco has done a wonderful job so far, but do you think he will eventually sign a veteran cornerback like Xavien Howard or Stephon Gilmore?"

Many were pleased with the Raiders' overall draft, highlighting the selection of collegiate award-winners Powers-Johnson, Brock Bowers and Trey Taylor. With the Raiders' eight draft selections and 17 undrafted free agent signings, there's still a little bit of wiggle room to make some moves in free agency to reach the 90-man limit. (The roster currently sits at 88 players).

The Silver and Black's latest move was signing veteran receiver Michael Gallup, who had high production in his six seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. To me, this indicates Raiders brass could be open to signing another veteran for the secondary as well. The defensive backs currently on the roster are a young group, with 2023 starters Marcus Epps, Tre’von Moehrig, Jack Jones and Nate Hobbs being an average of 25.5 years old. Adding a crafty veteran that can still contribute at a high level on the field could go a long way.

Back to the question of Xavien Howard and Stephon Gilmore, these two are certainly ideal fits. They have a combined nine Pro Bowl selections and have both led the league in interceptions at one point in their careers. Howard notched an interception and 12 pass deflections last season for the Miami Dolphins, while Gilmore totaled two interceptions and 13 pass deflections in 17 games for the Dallas Cowboys.

View photos from the start of the second week of Phase One of the Las Vegas Raiders' 2024 offseason program at Intermountain Health Performance Center.

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