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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Marcus Mosher

Raiders add dominant defender in latest Mel Kiper Jr. mock draft

The expectation is that the Raiders would love to select a quarterback with their top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. But after the Panthers moved up to No. 1, it’s likely that three quarterbacks will be selected with the top four selections.

That’s going to make it awfully difficult for the Raiders to find a franchise passer. If that’s the case, look for them to pivot and take the best player on the board when they are on the clock.

In a recent mock draft by Mel Kiper Jr., he has the Raiders going defense with their top pick. He has them selecting Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez at pick No. 7. Here is why Kiper believes that would be a fantastic fit for Las Vegas:

So, in this scenario, the Raiders don’t get any of the top four quarterbacks, forcing them to go with the best prospect available. They added the solid-but-unspectacular Jimmy Garoppolo in free agency, so it’s not like they have a void under center as big as the Colts, Texans and Panthers do. They also have a veteran roster, and you could argue they should try to win now.

The player who can most help them win in 2023 is Gonzalez, who ran a blazing 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the combine, backing up what I saw on his 2022 tape. At 6-foot-1, he has outstanding ball skills and elite recovery speed. This is a clear need area for Las Vegas.

Gonzalez is as clean as a prospect as there is in this class. Not only is his tape fantastic, but he is an incredible athlete with the ideal size and length for the position. He has all the tools and traits to be a dominant defender in the NFL.

If the Raiders are unable to get one of the top four quarterbacks in this year’s class, don’t be surprised if Gonzalez is their target at No. 7. He would fit perfectly opposite of Nate Hobbs and would give them a fantastic cornerback duo going into the 2023 season.

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