Las Vegas Raiders 2024 NFL Draft News and Sound Bites
Mar 2, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (QB07) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders are contemplating drafting a quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft, with considerable speculation linking them to Michael Penix Jr. in the latest mock drafts for their 13th overall pick (currently, the best betting sites have the Raiders selecting Penix). Despite this, the team’s immediate needs include bolstering the right side of their offensive line and enhancing their cornerback position.

Aidan O’Connell, who assumed starting duties last November, and Gardner Minshew II, who signed this offseason after a stint with the Colts, demonstrate that competent quarterbacks can be found later in the draft—both were mid-round picks who have proven their worth as NFL starters. This might influence the Raiders to consider drafting a quarterback in the later rounds if selecting Penix early seems too risky.

South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler is another quarterback the Raiders might target in the middle rounds. This would allow them to address other positional needs earlier. NFL analyst Greg Cosell noted that Rattler’s development would benefit from enhancing his pocket-passing skills.

In addition to their quarterback considerations, the Raiders are also evaluating other prospects, including defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo from LSU and linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio from Washington, who could add depth and skill to their defensive roster. The team’s pre-draft activities, including hosting visits with top quarterbacks like Penix and Bo Nix from Oregon, indicate a strategic approach to their draft decisions without revealing a clear preference.

Evaluations and Interviews

As the 2024 NFL Draft approaches next Thursday, the intensity around team preparations is palpable, particularly for the Las Vegas Raiders. The team is in the final stages of its evaluation process, having completed the last of its player interviews and evaluation visits.

These interactions, which have been ongoing over the previous month, range from routine checks to critical evaluations, with some visits being more telling than others. Below is an expanded look at the four most significant visits the Raiders have hosted until this past Sunday, showcasing potential vital additions to their roster.

Bo Nix (QB), Oregon

The visit of Bo Nix to the Raiders, as reported by Albert Breer, came just a day after Penix’s, fueling the debate over which Pac-12 quarterback would best fit the Raiders’ scheme. The back-to-back scheduling of these visits suggests a deliberate strategy by the Raiders to assess their options thoroughly without tipping their hand on their preferred choice for the quarterback position.

Edefuan Ulofoshio (LB), Washington

Within the strategic framework of defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio could emerge as a significant asset. Ulofoshio, with his remarkable athleticism (9.67 Relative Athletic Score) and superior coverage capabilities (90.4 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus), offers substantial promise. Although his run defense could use refinement, Ulofoshio’s deep connections to Las Vegas—he spent several formative years in the city—and the opportunity to develop under veterans like Robert Spillane and Divine Deablo position him as a prospective cornerstone for the Raiders’ linebacker corps.

Michael Penix Jr. (QB), Washington

The Raiders’ interest in quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was confirmed when he announced a scheduled visit following his pro day. The team’s pursuit of Penix underscores their need to solidify the quarterback position, a pivotal element in their offensive strategy. Penix’s ongoing engagement with the Raiders throughout the pre-draft process highlights his potential to play a critical role in shaping the team’s future.

Braden Fiske (DT), Florida State

Another notable prospect, defensive tackle Braden Fiske, visited the Raiders earlier in the month. His exceptional showing at the NFL Combine, marked by a 9.89 Relative Athletic Score, has established him as one of the premier interior pass rushers in this draft class. While Fiske plays a similar position to current Raider Christian Wilkins, his potential selection could significantly enhance the team’s defensive line capabilities, especially if he slides in the draft or the Raiders seize the opportunity to draft him.

These visits illustrate the Raiders’ proactive approach to bolstering their lineup with talents that fit their immediate needs and offer long-term benefits. The coming days will reveal which prospects have made enough of an impression to potentially call Las Vegas their new home.