A number of directions they can go following the release of Carr, though the guess here is the Silver and Black will pursue a veteran replacement in free agency. A 28th-ranked defense is also in dire need of help. But with starting RT Jermaine Eluemunor unsigned, Skoronski could upgrade that spot opposite established Kolton Miller but also transition back to the left side down the road.
It's hard to imagine that Jarrett Stidham would be in the team's long-term plans as a starter. And with Derek Carr set to be somewhere else in 2023 -- and Tom Brady officially-for-now retired -- drafting a QB seems to be a high priority. Levis, who definitely looks the part, was plagued by injuries and poor play all fall. That said, NFL teams love how he projects to the next level but he'll be a controversial talking point in the coming months.
The Raiders kick this NFL mock draft off in true Raiders fashion, trading from the seventh pick to the first pick to select their guy, Bryce Young. It has been proven that Josh McDaniels needs a very specific quarterback to run his system and I think Young is that guy. There are simply too many relationships from Nick Saban and Bill Belichick to Bill O'Brien having coached with McDaniels in the past. I think McDaniels will have enough intel to make the selection and feel comfortable about handing the keys over to Young in Las Vegas.
Who will be under center for the Black-and-Silver in Week 1? While that's yet to be determined, we know it won't be Derek Carr. Will Levis or Anthony Richardson could be a possibility here, but it wouldn't surprise me if their Week 1 starter is a veteran not currently on the roster. Skoronski was a three-year starter at left tackle for the Wildcats, who may have otherwise kicked inside due to a lack of arm length. Given that the Raiders have Kolton Miller at left tackle, however, Skoronski would immediately provide an upgrade at one of the other spots along the line.
If an Aaron Rodgers—Davante Adams reunion is a no-go, here's a franchise quarterback who fell into my lap. Yes, there was a ton of talent around Stroud at Ohio State, including a star-studded receiving corps. That detail doesn't diminish the value of his arm talent and production. After putting up 40-plus touchdowns against six interceptions in back-to-back years, it's time for Stroud to start working with another superstar wide receiver.
The Derek Carr era is over, and Tom Brady is no longer an option after he retired this month. Las Vegas will explore other available veterans, but Levis would fit in nicely. He has a huge arm to drive the ball downfield to Davante Adams, and at 232 pounds, he is a strong runner on designed rushes and scrambles. Levis has experience with pro-style concepts, too, and his ceiling is sky high. But can coach Josh McDaniels clean up Levis' turnovers (23 interceptions over the past two years) and maximize his traits? That will be the biggest question for the team that ultimately picks Levis. If the Raiders can iron out those issues, they might have a long-term solve to help them compete in the AFC West with the Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
The Raiders are a darkhorse in a potential QB derby for this draft — I believe they'll target the position in free agency with Jimmy Garoppolo seeking a fresh start or even potentially try and reunite Davante Adams with Aaron Rodgers through a trade — but regardless of who's under center, the protection will have to improve. Skoronski took over for Rashawn Slater as a true freshman in 2020 and the offense didn't miss a beat. Some scouts may say his size better suits him to play guard, but they also said that about Slater. Either way, he'd be an upgrade for Las Vegas and whoever ends up under center.
If the Raiders sign Jimmy Garoppolo or trade for Aaron Rodgers, they'll spend this pick on an offensive lineman to make their new signal-caller's life easier. Johnson is as tough as they come, excelling at left tackle and right guard during his career at Ohio State.