Raiders conclude 2023 NFL Draft with DT Nesta Jade Silvera

Raiders conclude 2023 NFL Draft with DT Nesta Jade Silvera

The phrase “Defense wins championships” is debatable in today’s NFL, but for the Las Vegas Raiders it’s what needs fixing heading into the 2023 season.

By selecting Arizona State’s Nesta Jade Silvera, the Raiders are finishing with 6 of their 9 picks coming on the defensive side of the ball. If the 2023 NFL Draft is any indication, strides are taking place to improve.

“I’m just blessed to be a Raider,” said Silvera moments after being drafted with the 231st overall pick. “My biggest strength to my game is tenacity. I’m bringing it every play, I’m coming full force every play.”

A good defense requires a certain amount of tenacity and physicality to shut down the running game, where Las Vegas ranked 25th in allowing rushing touchdowns in 2022.

By drafting Silvera, and selecting their 2nd defensive tackle in the draft—alongside Alabama’s Byron Young—the Raiders are hoping their two newly-acquired rookies are ready to do dirty work on the interior of the defensive line.

Following 4 years at the University of Miami, including a junior season which saw him record a career-high 8 tackles for loss, Silvera finished with a 5th year at Arizona State—recording a career-high 1.5 sacks and swat 3 pass deflections at the line of scrimmage.

Silvera, Young and first-round selection Tyree Wilson all step into a defensive line with two great mentors in franchise cornerstone Maxx Crosby and 4-time Pro Bowl defensive end, Chandler Jones.

“Super excited to get with Pro Bowl guys,” said Silvera. “Guys who’ve done it at the highest level…I’m just trying to work my butt off.”

A hard working attitude should help the Raiders, who underperformed in 2022 but might be set to exceed expectations in 2023. The offense finished just outside the top 10 last season, but the defense fell to the bottom third of the league in virtually all categories.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Raiders addressed those issues with the best options they felt were possible. In a results based league, only time will tell how well they’ve succeeded in addressing their weaknesses as a team.