REPORT: Despite Raiders' Improvements, Early 2025 NFL Mock Draft Says They Pick Top 10

The Las Vegas Raiders improved throughout this offseason, but one early mock draft thinks they will regress and fall into the top 10 of the 2025 NFL Draft.
Dec 25, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Jack Jones (18) celebrates with team mates against the Kansas City Chiefs after scoring during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 25, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Jack Jones (18) celebrates with team mates against the Kansas City Chiefs after scoring during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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The Las Vegas Raiders had a big offseason in that they improved in many places -- Coach Antonio Pierce made upgrades to the coaching staff around him, the Raiders added star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins along with a plethora of talent and experience to the offensive line, Gardner Minshew was signed to compete with Aidan O'Connell, and the Silver and Black addressed key weaknesses through the 2024 NFL Draft.

The national media continues to forecast a season in which the Raiders regress from last year's 8-9 performance that came amidst head coach and quarterback changes mid-season. Despite the fact the Raiders have more stability throughout the entire organization, from players to coaches to management, ESPN projected the Silver and Black to fall into the top 10 of the 2025 NFL Draft.

Using their "Football Power Index," something ESPN claims "projects the draft order by simulating the season 10,000 times," it projected the order of the entire first round.

"Game probabilities are based largely on the model's ratings for individual teams in addition to game locations," ESPN wrote. "The order is based on the records the model believes the teams will have after 17 games and each team's average draft position in the simulations."

The average draft position for the Raiders -- per ESPN -- was 11.2, or around the 11th overall pick. The Raiders had the eighth-highest chance to earn a top 10 pick -- 52.1 percent -- per FPI. The Raiders had 25.3 percent chance of earning a top-five draft pick and a 3.56 percent chance to earn the first overall pick in 2025.

The season will be the tell-tale sign, though there are plenty of reasons to doubt ESPN's model right now, outside of the disregard for the Raiders' successful offseason.

For example, the Chicago Bears -- first overall in 2024 with a rookie quarterback and young talent and a head coach with a 10-24 record -- are projected to own the 17th overall pick, per FPI. What some might consider interesting is that the Bears were projected to have no chance to return to the top five, or first overall, based on the fact there were no listed probabilities for either category. The Bears only had a 27.4 percent chance of earning a top-10 pick.

Per the FPI, the Bears were drafting lower than teams that, last season: won a playoff game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (projected 12th overall), nearly clinched a berth, the Indianapolis Colts (projected 14th), earned a berth, the Cleveland Browns (projected 16th). The Bears play in one of the best conferences in the league with two Super Bowl-contenders in Detroit and Green Bay, and a potentially dangerous squad in Minnesota.

The Raiders have been consistently overlooked as the upcoming season approaches. Pro Football Focus ranked the Raiders' quarterback situation the weakest in the league, and The Sporting News rated the Silver and Black's offseason the worst.

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Michael France

MICHAEL FRANCE