Perfect Picks 2024: Las Vegas Raiders

Mark Davis finally made a sensible decision, two sensible decisions in fact. He joined the rest of the entire world in recognizing that Josh McDaniels is not NFL head coach material. And then he replaced him with one someone who definitely is.

Antonio Pierce turned the team around in just nine games. The Raiders even beat the Chiefs on Christmas Day. Sure it did take numerous players to threaten to leave Las Vegas if Pierce didn’t get the gig. But just like they say in golf “there’s no pictures on the scorecards”. The important thing is he eventually made the right decision. 

Hopefully that means the Raiders will also make the right decisions when it comes to the draft. They were heavily linked with JJ McCarthy and he’s a very good quarterback. But they’re not really ready to start a second rookie QB in two seasons. They need to fix the offensive line first. And they could do with another tight end or two. And they could do with adding a few superstars to the defense too. 

Five of their 17 free agents are on defensive side of the ball. So there’s the opportunity to upgrade a couple of positions. They also have five offensive lineman out of contract to add to two of their tight ends.

Antonio Pierce will have nine draft picks to rebuild though. And the first one will be 13th overall, so there’s potential to trade up or down from there. But let’s assume they don’t for simplicity’s sake! 

Round 1 - Laiatu Latu, EDGE UCLA

Maxx Crosby is already great, but he’ll be even better with Laiatu Latu coming off the opposite edge. The UCLA product was “medically retired” by the medical staff at the University of Washington after he suffered a serious neck injury in 2020. But after having his spine fused and spending two years away from football he came back with a bang in 2022. 

In his two years as a Bruin he recorded 23.5 sacks and 34 tackles for a loss. 21.5 of those coming in 2023! Latu is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed in at 259lbs at the combine. That’s 4lbs heavier than Crosby so he won’t have any issue adapting to the NFL. 

Round 2 – Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU

Peni Sewell’s cousin is athletic and aggressive, everything you want in an offensive tackle. His offensive coordinator at BYU said “Suamataia is the most athletic and violent OL I have ever coached. More athletic than Garett Bolles when I was at Utah”. And Bolles was the 20th pick in the draft back in 2017! 

Suamataia is PFF’s 10th highest ranked offensive tackle and sits at 46 on their big board. But it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he is one of the first picks in the second round. 

Mid round Gem – Austin Reed, QB, Western Kentucky

Austin Reed might sound like a men’s tailor, but he’s a quarterback. Not your run of the mill off the peg quarterback though, he’s more of your haute couture signal caller. And he is just great fun to watch. He’s a gun slinger from a bygone era. Think Brett Favre without the legal troubles. Luke Gesty and Rich Scangarello will have to calm him down, but coaches would rather have too much sauce to work with than not enough.  

Reed comes from the same college as Bailey Zappe, but he couldn’t be less like Zappe. He can throw deep passes and he has no hesitation when it comes to letting it fly for his receivers to get after. He can throw from the pocket, move the pocket and get outside of the pocket to wait for receivers to get downfield. Chances are he won’t be starting in the NFL next season, but if he does, be sure to have some popcorn handy.  

Late Round Sleeper – Jaylan Ford, LB, Texas

Not many players tackle like Antonio Pierce, Ford does. He’s like a human brick wall. Especially around the first down marker. All linebackers are physical, but Ford can drive running backs back into the backfield with alarming ease.  

Draft in Full

Round 1 – Laiatu Latu, EDGE, UCLA 

Round 2 – Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU 

Round 3 – T’Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas 

Round 4 – Austin Reed, QB, Western Kentucky 

Round 5 – Javion Cohen, G, Miami 

Round 6 – Jaylan Ford, LB, Texas 

Round 7 (221st pick) – Jordan Whittington, WR, Texas 

Round 7 (225th pick) – Layden Robinson, G, Texas A&M 

Round 7 (227th pick) – Brevyn Spann-Ford, TE, Minnesota 



Rhys has been watching the NFL for 30 something years and still hasn’t managed to pick a team to support. When he’s not fixatED on pass rushers you can find him blithering on about most sports on Twitter @wrhys_writes