NFL Mock Draft: Raiders, Patriots, and Steelers Look Forward

by Pat Pryor
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We’ve made it through Super Wildcard weekend and it’s been eventful. We’ll get into our next round of NFL Mock Drafts. We saw the Bills take revenge on the Patriots for 20 years of dominance, a first ballot Hall of Famer’s last game, and much  more. Eight teams advance to the next round and continue their Super Bowl journey.

As for the six teams who have been eliminated, all focus shifts to the offseason. A lot of their changes will take place in free agency, but the NFL draft can define seasons. For the AFC losers of the Raiders, Patriots, and Steelers. Let’s take a look at how that might turn out for them.

For this, and other team-specific mock drafts, I use These were done individually to focus on each team, so players may double up.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders have a lot of questions this offseason. From general manager and coach, to the players, and they extend to pretty much every position. A good free agency period and draft can answer a lot of these questions. We’ll address some of those needs in this NFL Mock Draft.

Trade! LV Receives: Pick 26 (1), Pick 100 (3); MIA Receives: Pick 22

Round 1, Pick 26: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn

The Raiders are in real need of a talent infusion in the secondary, and McCreary brings that. He’s both athletic and reliable. He’s simply great in coverage, and would be able to take over one side of the field for the Raiders. They can also use his hands, as he puts up reliable interception numbers, and would be joining the team who was dead last in that metric last year. After calling it quits on Damon Arnette from both on the field play and off the field controversy, McCreary is a good chance to make up for their 2020 1st round bust.

Round 2, Pick 53: Logan Hall, IDL, Houston

Trade! LV Receives: Pick 81 (3); NYG Receives: Pick 86 (3), Pick 162 (5)

Round 3, Pick 81: John Metchie III, WR, Alabama

I kept a close eye on Metchie, and as soon as he was available in a spot I wanted, I landed him for just a swap of thirds and the fifth from the Patriots trade for Trent Brown. Metchie, who tore his ACL in December will obviously have to have medical professionals say he’s ready for the season, but would be a key pickup. He’s a versatile receiver who can fill in for the Raiders other failed first round pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. With the departure of Mike Mayock confirmed today, the new Raiders regime will have some cleaning up to do, but if they do it right they could have a contender on their hands.

Trade! LV Receives: Pick 103 (4), Pick 192 (6); CLE Receives: Pick 100 (3)

Round 4, Pick 103: Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State

Walker has fallen down draft boards this season but could fill in at the right tackle role. The Raiders drafted Alex Leatherwood for that spot last year, but he’s blossomed at the guard spot. Adding Walker starts with depth, but could also be the drafting of a starter. I dropped down just a few spot to pick up another piece in this draft here.

Round 4, Pick 122: Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia

Round 5, Pick 163: Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford

Both Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr are free agents, and while that can cause some hesitation, at least one of them will return. However, it’s more likely than not that one departs, especially if Mariota wants a chance to start. They currently don’t have any other quarterbacks on the roster. McKee is a smart and accurate passer. He ended his college career with two rough games out his last three, but is still the type of quarterback that you may be able to develop into a reliable backup, which can be tough to find in the NFL Draft.

Round 6, Pick 192: C.J. Verdell, RB, Oregon

Round 7, Pick 223: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State

Andersen tore through the FCS on Montana State’s way to the FCS championship. He put up 147 tackles, 14.0 of which came for a loss. He was a unanimous FCS 1st Team All-American. I suppose I should also mention he was a dual-threat quarterback in 2018, throwing 1,200 yards and 7 touchdowns, and rushing for 1,400 yards and 21 touchdowns. Needless to say, he’s a true football player and would be a welcome addition to the Raiders.

New England Patriots

The Patriots were shown who’s boss in the AFC East on Saturday night, and discovered just how much more work they have to do. This work can all start with the NFL Draft. We’ll look at some of those needs in this NFL Mock Draft. In true Belichick fashion, every one of these selections come via trade.

Trade! NE Receives: Pick 14 (1), 2023 Round 7; BAL Receives: Pick 21 (1), Pick 85 (3), 2023 Round 3

Round 1, Pick 14: Andrew Booth Jr, CB, Clemson

Bill Belichick, despite being GM since 2000, has only traded for a pick in the top half of the first round once, 2003. That selection resulted in Ty Warren, who won 2 Super Bowls with the team. While fans may be clamoring for a wide receiver, the offense doesn’t matter if they allow what they did Saturday. Pairing Booth with JC Jackson would make a great duo, and set the Patriots defense up for years. It’s a risky trade, but one that could work to perfection.

Trade! NE Receives: Pick 62 (2), Pick 126 (4), Pick 197 (6), 2023 Round 7; TB Receives: Pick 54 (2)

Round 2, Pick 62: Sean Rhyan, OT, UCLA

Round 4, Pick 126: Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia

Dont’a Hightower is likely headed for retirement, and Ja’whaun Bentley and Jamie Collins are in contract years (the latter might also retire), meaning the Patriots linebacking corps is severely depleted. Josh Uche and Chase Winovich haven’t seen much of the field, so this is likely a position that they address in free agency as well as the draft.

Tindall burst onto the scene this year, and is among several Georgia linebackers that will hear their name called in the NFL draft. He’s a robust prospect with elite athleticism, but still has work to go. If there’s someone that can get him to that next level, it’s Belichick, much like what he did with Christian Barmore in 2020. A young athletic addition to the Patriots front seven is needed, and Tindall brings it.

Trade! NE Receives: Pick 173 (5), Pick 205 (6); KC Receives: Pick 170 (5)

Round 5, Pick 173: Tre Turner, WR, Virginia Tech

Round 6, Pick 197: Ali Gaye, Edge, LSU

Matt Judon was a fantastic pickup in free agency, but after returning from the Covid list didn’t put up the same numbers in the second half of the season. Getting some depth into the edge room would provide some nice support to Judon and Deatrich Wise.

Trade! NE Receives: Pick 208 (6), Pick 212 (7); LAC Receives: Pick 205 (6)

Round 6, Pick 208: Dontario Drummond, WR, Ole’ Miss

Drummond is a slot receiver with strong YAC ability (literally, he will drag tacklers with him). Despite spending two picks here, I can almost assure you the Patriots will pick up a receiver via trade or free agency before the NFL draft. In picking Drummond, however, they allow Jakobi Meyers some relief in the slot, and can add yet another young connection for the young Mac Jones.

Trade! NE Receives: 2023 Round 6; ARI Receives: Pick 212 (7), 2023 Round 7

Pittsburgh Steelers

It’s a new era in Pittsburgh, without Ben Roethlisberger. However, starting a new era doesn’t always mean a full rebuild. The Steelers have pieces, now it’s just time to build around them. In this NFL Mock draft, we have them taking a quarterback in the second round.

Round 1, Pick 20: Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M

Trade! PIT Receives: Pick 42 (2); WAS Receives: Pick 52 (2), 2023 Round 3

Round 2, Pick 42: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

Drafting a QB this NFL Draft cycle is a big gamble. However, jumping up for Carson Strong and just giving up a third could be huge for the Steelers, and as soon as I was able to make the trade, I did. He has a cannon for an arm, and an accurate one at that. There are some questions about injury history with his knees, but if those questions get answered by April there’s a real chance he could be the first quarterback off the board. Replacing Big Ben is a very tough task, but the Steelers may get lucky and do it sooner rather than later.

Trade! PIT Receives: Pick 88 (3), Pick 165 (5), Pick 201 (6); DAL Receives: Pick 84 (3)

Round 3, Pick 88: Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama

Watching Patrick Mahomes lay waste to the Steelers secondary could not have been pleasant for Pittsburgh fans. Neither Joe Haden nor Cam Sutton are guaranteed starting spots next year, and dropping back for an extra pick while grabbing Jobe would be a major win for the Steelers. It’s a relatively deep cornerback draft, and Jobe is a talented who can lock down one side of the field.

Trade! PIT Receives: Pick 128 (4); Buffalo Receives: Pick 135 (4), Pick 221 (7)

Round 4, Pick 128: Channing Tindall, LB, Georgia

Trade! PIT Receives: Pick 210 (6), Pick 245 (7), 2023 Round 7; LAR Receives: Pick 201 (6)

Round 6, Pick 210: Adam Anderson, Edge, Georgia

Round 7, Pick 237: Matt Araiza, P, San Diego State

Pressley Harvin III has not worked out for the Steelers, and they evidently didn’t want to give Corliss Waitman the job. The solution? Get Punter 1 this draft. The First-Team All-American punter had a dominant leg this year, averaging 51.2 yards per kick. His longest of the season went for 86 yards. He’s a generational prospect at punter and would comfort any who are worried about the position for the Steelers.

Round 7, Pick 245: Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida

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