American Football

10 best players available for pick 38


Penn State v Indiana
Joey Porter Jr. | Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Who should be on Las Vegas’ radar in Round 2

Now that the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft is officially in the books, let’s take a look at some of the Las Vegas Raiders’ top options with their second-round pick, No. 38 overall, especially at cornerback and offensive line.

The rankings below are based on NFL Mock Draft Database’s consensus big board.

1) Will Levis, QB, Kentucky

Levis’ slide was arguably the biggest surprise of the first round. While many Raider fans would have been disappointed if he was the pick at No. 7, but he would be an excellent value if he drops to them in the second round. Las Vegas would get a potential quarterback of the future without having to spend a top-10 pick on a player who won’t play in year one.

Scouting report summary via Bleacher Report (full report)

Additionally, Levis has the arm to make all of those NFL throws. He’s got a compact throwing motion that whips the ball out, providing more than enough zip to drill tight-window throws and attack outside the numbers comfortably. Levis’ arm strength also extended to smooth deep throws, especially when set up in the pocket. Mix that together with functional athletic ability as a scrambler, and Levis’ tools are hard to ignore.

2) Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State

Another shocking slide from last night. Porter Jr. is physical and has great length at 6’2 1/2” and 34-inch arms, while also running the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds. Those long arms and makeup speed were a big reason why he was able to rack up nine pass breakups in 10 games last season.

Scouting report summary via B/R (full report)

When playing the ball, Porter shows good understanding of route timing by getting his head around to locate the ball and shooting his hands to break up passes at the reception point. He tends to get too handsy downfield with receivers, which he’ll need to clean up in the NFL.

When playing the run game, Porter does a good job of identifying and reacting to what he sees. He isn’t afraid to come up and stick his nose in the mix. Though he has shown to shoot the gap, he has some tightness when bending around blocks. Porter is a good tackler who generally shoots for the legs to wrap and wrestle ball-carriers down to the ground.

3) Michael Mayer, TE, Notre Dame

I thought there might be a run on tight ends on Thursday night that Mayer was involved in, but that never happened as only one was drafted in the first round. That’s great for the Raiders who could use someone that is a solid blocker and can be a matchup nightmare as a receiver. The Notre Dame product would fill a need and give the Silver and Black a plethora of offensive weapons to go along with Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Jakobi Meyers.

Notre Dame v Navy
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images
Michael Mayer

Scouting report summary via B/R (full report)

At 6’4½”, 265 pounds, Mayer has prototypical size for the position and all the traits of a dominant receiving tight end. Mayer is a smooth, comfortable route-runner who understands how to use his physicality in subtle ways to help create separation. He is just as effective working short quick-game routes as he is finding space down the seam or on corner/sail routes.

4) Brian Branch, S, Alabama

It’s no secret that the Raiders could use safety help and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will love Branch’s versatility. This past season, he primarily played over the slot with 569 snaps from that alignment but also recorded over 130 snaps in the box. He finished 2022 as Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded SEC safety in run defense (90.7) and in coverage (86.4).

Scouting report summary via B/R (full report)

Brian Branch is an extremely versatile player who played at multiple positions for Alabama throughout his career. He has a high football IQ, along with the physical skills to play nickel and safety. He has good size for a defensive back and plays with good physicality in the run game.

When playing the run, Branch does a good job of making quick reads and triggering downhill to the ball-carrier. He plays with proper leverage and uses his hands well to take on blocks and quickly disengage.

5) O’Cyrus Torrence, OG, Florida

Las Vegas needs interior offensive line help and Torrence might be the best player to fill that role in the entire draft class. He’s a people-mover in the run game, leading SEC guards with an 89.9 PFF run-blocking grade after transferring from UL Lafayette, where he also led the Sun Belt with an 89.4 mark as a run-blocker in 2021. The former Gator and Ragin’ Cajun also didn’t allow a sack all four years in college.

Scouting report summary via B/R (full report)

Torrence wins using a combination of sheer size, a strong center of gravity and a high-level ability to generate and absorb force in the run and pass game. He is an adept gap run-blocker who excels covering up defensive tackles, resetting the line of scrimmage and creating displacement vertically and laterally on down, base and double-team blocks.

Torrence has the necessary blend of power to create instant movement and uproot defenders when needed, with the strength to strain, sustain and steer them out of rush lanes. He flashes the balance and body control to absorb contact on the move when he catches defenders square down the midline of his frame, and he has the grip strength to stay attached against shed attempts. However, he will get top-heavy, leave his feet behind and lunge at fast-flowing, twitchy defenders that work across his face.

6) Darnell Washignton, TE, Georgia

Washington falls into the “physical freak” category as he stands at 6’6 5/8” and 264 pounds while running a 4.64-second 40-yard dash and a 4.08-second short shuttle time. He serves as a sixth offensive lineman in the running game and is a load to bring down after the catch, while also showing the ability to hurdle defenders, making him a threat on short routes.

Scouting report summary via B/R (full report)

It all starts with his size and movement skills. Washington is an overwhelming figure at 6’7”, 270 pounds, and he has the strength to back up that frame. As a blocker, Washington crushes his opponents when he catches them clean. His naturally high point of attack causes him issues at times, but even then, Washington is such a big, strong force that he makes it work. That same strength shows up in the passing game at the line of scrimmage and at the top of his routes. It’s difficult to ever knock Washington off his path.

7) Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Clemson v South Carolina
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
Cam Smith

After not getting a chance to draft Devon Witherspoon in the first round, Smith would be a great secondary option tonight. The Gamecock is instinctual and has flashed some ball skills with 16 pass breakups and six interceptions over the last three years. He also has good height and speed at 6’0 3/4” with a 4.43-second 40-time.

Scouting report summary via B/R (full report)

A long strider, Smith has the speed to run with most receivers, although he can fall a step or two behind some of the more electric players he has matched up against. He has good short-area quickness but can give up some ground out of his breaks due to slower transitions. When out of his breaks, Smith has displayed a very good burst and closing speed with the ball in the air. He has instincts to locate and attack the ball while also showing great timing to break up passes. Though he has aligned in the slot at times, he is best when out wide.

8) Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia

What Ringo’s best position is in the NFL is a big question mark as some people view him as more of a safety. He has great straight-line speed with a 4.36 40-time, but his change of direction is questionable with a 4.26-second short shuttle and 7.21-second three-cone times.

Scouting report summary via B/R (full report)

Ringo is a big-body cornerback with excellent size for the position. Although he doesn’t show elite quickness and short-area burst, Ringo shows good speed when he’s able to open his stride and run. When playing the run, he does a very good job of recognizing and reacting to what he sees. Ringo does a good job of using his hands when taking on blocks. He has the strength to control and defeat receiver blocks. A fearless tackler, Ringo does a very good job of using his size and strength to tackle. He does a great job of fronting up ball carriers and wrestling them down to the ground.

9) Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas

If you’ve followed my work this draft season, you know I wanted Jack Campbell to fall to No. 38 badly. However, he ended up going 18th to the Detroit Lions, but Sanders would be an excellent consolation prize. The former Razorback is a great athlete who can impact the passing game in coverage and as a pass-rusher, while his background as an edge defender at Alabama helps with the latter. This past season was his first playing off-ball linebacker and he ended up being a finalist for the Butkus Award.

Scouting report summary via B/R (full report)

Sanders has a frame the NFL scouts and general managers will drool over, standing at 6’5” and 233 pounds with plenty of room to add the extra size and strength he needs. It was also pretty easy to see on film why he was the No. 1 ranked athlete coming out of high school, as he should light it up at the combine.

The Razorback is able to use his athleticism in both coverage and as a run defender, but his biggest flaw is with the latter. In college, he would often struggle to get extension against offensive linemen, making stacking and shedding much more difficult. That also played a role in him getting pushed around a bit and is his biggest weakness heading into the pros.

10) Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State

If the Raiders aren’t sold on Jermaine Eluemunor for the long haul, Jones would be a good investment at right tackle in the second round. The Ohio State product is a hulk in the trenches at 6’8 1/4” and 374 pounds which helps him physically dominate defensive linemen in the ground game. He also allowed no sacks and just five pressures last season.

Scouting report summary via B/R (full report)

Jones utilizes his unmatched length to his advantage and establishes first meaningful contact on defenders with very good upper-body strength to create immediate stopping power and snap the opponents’ head back. He wins as a run-blocker by covering up and keeping defenders at his fingertips while running his feet to create displacement on double-teams, kick-out and down blocks.

His best attribute as a run-blocker is leading on pitches, tosses and sweeps with the snap timing, size and burst to close space, cover up and erase smaller targets. Once Jones gets the upper hand and gets defenders leaning, he is looking to finish through the whistle and send a message.

Honorable Mentions: Luke Musgrave (TE, Oregon State), Trenton Simpson (LB, Clemson), D.J. Turner (CB, Michigan), Julius Brents (CB, Kansas State), Steve Avila (iOL, TCU)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login