The 2022 NFL Draft may have ended after the 262nd pick was announced and flashed on the myriad tracking tickers at the bottom of the screen, however, that wasn’t the real culmination of the process. . Before the pick was officially on the books and immediately after, teams were furiously trying to nab the many prospects as undrafted free agents.
Our Raiders undrafted free agent tracker shows you how busy Las Vegas is after the annual event. Here is a list of the group (in alphabetical order):
- Darien Butler, LB, Arizona State
- Qwynnterrio Cole, DB, Louisville
- Bryce Cosby, S, Ball State
- Cole Fotheringham, TE, Utah
- Chase Garbers, QB, Calif.
- Justin Hall, WR, Ball State
- Sincerely, McCormick, RB, USTA
- Bamidele Olaseni, OL, Utah
- Isaiah Pola-Mao, S, USC
- Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, DL, Notre Dame
- Tre Turner, WR, Virginia Tech
- Zach VanValkenburg, LB, Iowa
- Sam Webb, BC, Missouri Western
Before we dive into the undrafted free agents who might stay, let’s start with: Until the Raiders officially announce their undrafted haul, there’s a chance someone on the list above won’t be a member of the Silver & Black. Example: Turner. He initially agreed to an undrafted deal with the Minnesota Vikings, only for the Raiders to offer him a better signing bonus and to Las Vegas he went.
In that list above, there are five particular undrafted free agents with a strong stab based on their accomplishments in their respective programs and the need for depth and competition in the Raider position groups. Turner has already been mentioned – due to the money invested upfront – and the four are: Garber, Butler, Pola-Mao and Webb.
Turner. Originally headed to Minnesota with a $2,500 up-front deal, Las Vegas offered $40,000, and the Virginia Tech offshore decided to head to the desert. He and Hall join eight other wider receivers currently on the Raiders’ roster. Turner was an accomplished receiver for the Hokies, rushing for 2,292 yards and 14 touchdowns in 43 games. The 6-foot-1, 184-pound also clocked a 4.51 sprint time for 40 yards at the NFL Combine. He turned his high school basketball skills into the boxing, jumping, and highlighting wide-ball receiver he is today that undoubtedly caught the attention of the Raiders. If he can maintain that style of play and prove he can separate and uncover himself against NFL corners, Turner has a decent shot at making the roster.
Garbers. The Cal Golden Bear fits the bill for the developing quarterback. Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels talked about acquiring a caller who could be entrenched in the system for a few years this offseason and, with a weaker quarterback class in 2022, Vegas was able to trap Garbers. While he doesn’t leap off the page in terms of athleticism, arm strength or even accuracy, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound is a mold of clay. If he develops a better sense of timing and anticipation, the Raiders can work on the rest. He’s a confident, conservative-type quarterback who avoids big mistakes, but his lack of drive allows defenders to break up his throws. That said, Derek Carr is the undisputed starter and Nick Mullens represents the best option at QB2. Garbers has a good chance to match and potentially beat QB3 Garrett Gilbert.
Butler. If there was one undrafted free agent the Raiders are familiar with, it’s the Sun Devils linebacker. New Vegas linebacker coach Antonio Pierce was Arizona State’s defensive coordinator and knows only too well what Butler brings to the table. Although he may be undersized at 5-foot-11 and 221 pounds, Butler brings fierceness to the table as well as covering skills at linebacker. He also doesn’t let his relative lack of bulk and imposing frame deter him from being a rock wall hitter. His run and punch mentality along with his ability to spin and chase make him appealing to defense teams and special teams alike. And for any prospect, earning a spot on the special teams is the fastest way to get onto the 53-man roster.
Pola Mao. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, nephew of Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu definitely looks the part. His uncle, Kennedy Polamalu, is the Raiders’ new running backs coach. Pola-Mao’s best season as a Trojan was in 2019 when he had four assists to go along with 73 tackles in total, demonstrating both the ability to knock down the ball carrier and trap interceptions , when given the opportunity. Based on his size, softness, and instincts, he can defend to the point of safety – something that doesn’t have supreme depth – while carving out a role on special teams as a machine gunner.
Webb. Just under 6ft 1in tall, he dominated the lower competition showcasing impressive pressman skills as well as ball skills. He watched the receivers well and kept an eye out and made plays on throws in his own way. Webb has the prototypical frame and demeanor to excel as a physical bump-and-run wedge. He joins a positional group with seven currently on the roster, but if he can showcase his wares at the NFL level, he has a chance. He’ll have work on his eyes — he can get caught staring into the backfield — but his jumping ability and anticipation can’t be ignored (seven career interceptions and 39 pass breakups).