Friday, September 8, 2023

Las Vegas Raiders Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Las Vegas Raiders in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 23

On the hot seat: DC Patrick Graham

In 2022, Graham led the No. 28 total defense in the NFL, which finished last in takeaways (13) with an NFL-low six interceptions and 30th in sacks (27) despite the presence of two-time Pro Bowler Maxx Crosby and his 12.5 sacks and league-leading 20 tackles for loss. Improvement in 2023 is needed under Graham. Especially with Las Vegas using six of its nine draft picks last spring on defensive players, including No. 7 pick edge rusher Tyree Wilson -- who was finally activated from the non-football injury list Wednesday after having surgery on his right foot. Plus, the Raiders addressed the secondary with veterans Marcus Peters and Marcus Epps. Yeah, improvement is expected. -- Paul Gutierrez -- Rank: 27

Some observers might be focused on what a Jimmy Garoppolo-led Raiders offense might look like with Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Michael Mayer and (now that he's returned following a contract standoff) Josh Jacobs. But if Las Vegas is truly serious about changing its trajectory, the defense must hold up its end of the bargain. Very little carries over year to year in the NFL, but the Raiders have been bottom dwellers in two major statistical categories over the past several years: turnovers and sacks. The Raiders forced a paltry 13 turnovers last season and -- get this! -- haven't topped 17 in a season since 2016, when Garoppolo and Josh McDaniels were winning a Super Bowl in New England together.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 29

They are the fourth team in a tough division, which isn't good. Can Jimmy Garoppolo stay on the field? This could be a challenging year for Josh McDaniels.

USA Today -- Rank: 30

They've got the eighth quarterback (Aidan O'Connell) taken in the 2023 draft, and you wonder how long it might be before he supplants veteran Jimmy Garoppolo ... especially if the Silver and Black prove more explosive off the field than on it.

The Athletic -- Rank: 29

Best-case scenario: You can squint and find a path to the playoffs with Jimmy Garoppolo and Davante Adams working well together and Josh Jacobs backing up his impressive 2022. But the truth here, given the quality of the division and conference, is the real best-case scenario is bottoming out to the No. 1 pick and letting Caleb Williams play 15 years in silver and black.

Worst-case scenario: Josh McDaniels loses another locker room and the defense is the worst in the league, but the offense is too competent to allow Las Vegas to bottom out entirely.

FOX -- Rank: 26

It's hard to know what to do with the Raiders. Their big-ticket names like Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs and Maxx Crosby are as good as anyone's. And Jimmy Garoppolo has won plenty of games in his nine years. The issue is the rest of the roster — particularly the defense, which lacks talent behind Crosby and Chandler Jones. Now remember that Vegas shares a division with Patrick Mahomes & Co., and it's hard to find the optimism.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 26

Aidan O'Connell, a fourth-round rookie quarterback, was a preseason standout. It's wise to pump the brakes a bit until we see O'Connell play well against defenses that have starters and use real game plans, but what he did was an impressive first step. Maybe he can be the rare quarterback outside of the first round to actually hit.

PFT -- Rank: 28

In the NFC, they'd possibly be a fringe playoff contender. In the AFC? Not.

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