How the Colts enabled the Raiders to get their guy

The Indianapolis Colts inadvertently played a part in the Las Vegas Raiders getting their guy.

The Las Vegas Raiders are thanking their lucky stars the six picks made ahead of them went the way that they did.

Despite contemplating trading up to presumably No. 3 with the Arizona Cardinals, the Raiders decided they could get who they wanted at No. 7, so long as three teams ahead of them took quarterbacks. Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler had a good feeling the Carolina Panthers would take Bryce Young, but the Houston Texans at No. 2 were a mystery.

With Houston selecting Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud second overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Raiders needed one more team to go signal-caller ahead of them in the next four picks. As NBC Sports’ Peter King explained in Football Morning in America, he saw the Raiders had high grades for four non-quarterbacks on their board. He saw it all unfold from inside their war room.

If three quarterbacks were taken, Las Vegas would be able to draft one of these four players.

  • Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr.
  • Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
  • Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson
  • Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon

Houston traded up to No. 3 in a deal with Arizona to get new head coach DeMeco Ryans his Alabama guy in Will Anderson Jr. But with the Indianapolis Colts taking Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson at No. 4, it ensured the Silver and Black of getting either Paris Johnson Jr., Devon Witherspoon and Tyree Wilson. Witherspoon and Johnson went No. 5 and No. 6 overall.

This allowed the Raiders to take the Red Raiders’ pass-rushing extraordinaire with lucky No. 7.

Las Vegas Raiders read the draft board perfectly to end up with Tyree Wilson

Given the Raiders’ historically impulsive nature during previous NFL Drafts, they need to be commended for having patience and trusting their instincts. While McDaniels and Ziegler have New England Patriots ties to Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio, they didn’t panic to move up to get one of four guys they would have been satisfied taking from their draft evaluation.

The idea behind drafting Wilson is to get stud pass-rusher Maxx Crosby another guy to work with long-term. Chandler Jones will probably end up in Canton one day, but he is 33 years old. He may still play at a very high level, but we don’t know when he will fall off a cliff physically. As for Wilson, he was one of the most explosive playmakers not only in the Big 12, but across the Power Five.

No doubt about it, this is a critical year for the Silver and Black. While the Raiders are not expected to push for playoff contention in a deep division, we do need to see more good than bad out of McDaniels in his second season on the job. This rebuild of sorts in Sin City will take time, but we cannot see McDaniels look over his skis like he did at times in year one leading this Mötley Crüe.

Regardless, it is hard not to like Wilson coming aboard with the Raiders as their No. 7 overall pick.

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