The Raiders' turmoil of off-field incidents and tragedies have clearly hampered a promising 2021 campaign. The loss of last year's 12th overall pick, wide receiver Henry Ruggs, may induce Las Vegas to spend a first round selection on a pass catcher in the 2022 draft. If they choose to take Olave, the Raiders will be getting a polished wideout with excellent awareness and body control. His ability to create separation, find soft spots in defensive coverages and win contested passes makes him a sensible receiving option for a contending team like Las Vegas.
The Raiders value raw numbers over seemingly everything, and Elam has them. He ran a 4.51 40-yard dash in high school, and at 6-2 he certainly has the physical characteristics to project well at the next level.
The Las Vegas Raiders have had a tumultuous season off the field, losing their head coach and two of their 2020 first-round draft picks. The Raiders still have a talented QB in Derek Carr and if they want any chance at success in the future they need to surround him with talent. With this pick, the Raiders select USC WR Drake London.
Gardner is in the midst of the stingiest seasons PFF College has ever seen from a cornerback who predominantly plays man coverage. He has allowed only 87 total yards from 368 coverage snaps and 11 starts while picking off three passes and breaking up another. Gardner's success isn't limited to this year, either. The 6-foot-3 cornerback's length gives him an advantage against every receiver he faces. He brings a "dog" mentality to the field and is an easy first-rounder.
In previous years, these have been general manager Mike Mayock's requirements for first-round picks: being a senior, having production and playing at a blue-blood program. After the release of 2020 first-round pick Henry Ruggs, the Raiders quickly scrambled to sign veteran DeSean Jackson. Olave, who has 11 touchdown catches this season, is a natural fit as a replacement for an organization that values speed. Olave could be a downfield threat to help Derek Carr.