weather icon Cloudy

Raiders bolster offensive line but pass on QB on Day 2 of NFL draft

Updated April 27, 2024 - 8:00 am

The Raiders focused on addressing specific needs in the second and third rounds of the NFL draft Friday, one day after making a surprising first-round pick.

They might have come up with two starting offensive linemen.

But it looks as if upgrading at quarterback, a task they feverishly pursued Thursday, will have to wait another day, if not until next year.

The club used its second-round pick at No. 44 on Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Jonson, an All-American center who will move to guard for the Raiders.

In the third round, they selected Maryland offensive tackle Delmar Glaze with pick No. 77. Glaze, who played left tackle and right tackle the past two seasons, will compete for the starting right tackle job or the swing tackle role.

Focus on protecting quarterback

The Raiders failed in their attempt to move up in the first round to draft Louisiana State quarterback Jayden Daniels. Six quarterbacks had been drafted when they picked at No. 13, so they took Georgia star tight end Brock Bowers — even though it wasn’t a position of need — and didn’t address the quarterback position Friday.

With five picks remaining Saturday, they could add a developmental prospect such as South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler, Florida State’s Jordan Travis or Tulane’s Michael Pratt. But it’s looking increasingly likely that their quarterback for the upcoming season will be Aidan O’Connell or Gardner Minshew.

“As I sit here right now, that’s it,” general manager Tom Telesco said.

To enhance both, the Raiders focused on improving the weapons around them and beefing up the protection. That led to Bowers, Powers-Johnson and Glaze as their first three picks.

“We’ve got some work to do; we know that,” Telesco said. “This is not a total rebuild, but we do feel like it really has to start on the offensive line, defensive line. Fully knowing that, even on the offensive line, you really can’t do it all in one year.”

‘Raider style of football’

Powers-Johnson was a unanimous All-America selection in 2023 and the first player in Pac-12 history to win the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center. The 6-foot-3-inch, 320-pounder allowed just one quarterback pressure and didn’t give up a sack in 471 pass-blocking snaps last season.

A big, physical and aggressive lineman, Powers-Johnson fits the style being pushed by coach Antonio Pierce and Telesco, who prioritize a punishing point of attack that can control the line of scrimmage.

“He’s big. He’s tough. He plays a Raider style of football,” Telesco said. “But he’s also a pretty good athlete to go along with that.”

Powers-Johnson and Pierce developed a connection during the draft evaluation process.

“When talking to him, just something special for sure,” Powers-Johnson said. “He loves how physical I play, how I finished, my mentality, and I really feel it fits the Raiders’ franchise and what the Raiders have done in the past.”

The Raiders re-signed veteran center Andre James in free agency, eliminating that position as a need. But right guard is wide open, with veteran Cody Whitehair the de facto starter after signing last month.

Powers-Johnson has experience at the position, having played 430 snaps between 2021 and 2022 at Oregon. His size and athletic ability make him a prime candidate for a full-time transition to guard in the NFL.

Right tackle was also a pressing need, and Glaze will compete with Thayer Munford for the starting job after Jermaine Eluemunor’s free-agent departure.

Glaze was a consensus day three draft projection, but a strong showing at the Senior Bowl — coupled with a run on tackles in the first two days — pushed him into the third round.

“If you do well (at the Senior Bowl) … it certainly helps,” Telesco said. “But his college tape is really good, too, so it was more of a confirmation of what we think he can do at this level.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

Like and follow Vegas Nation