The early returns on the 2023 rookie class for the Las Vegas Raiders weren’t great. Tyree Wilson didn’t record his first sack until Week 7 and Michael Mayer had one catch in the first four weeks of the year.
But as the season went on, the rookie class became much more productive for the Raiders. Aidan O’Connell was named the long-term starter and Tre Tucker became more involved in the offense. Mayer and Wilson played much better in the middle of the year and the rookie class helped turn the season around.
In a recent article by ESPN, they ranked all 32 rookie classes by production. The Raiders came in at No. 14 despite the slow starts from Wilson and Mayer. Here is what the site had to about the group in Year 1:
Instead, the breakout rookie for the Raiders was fourth-round quarterback Aidan O’Connell. O’Connell first started in Week 4 and then was named the starter for good when the Raiders benched Jimmy Garoppolo after head coach Josh McDaniels was fired after Week 8. The rookie finished the year with only 40.3 QBR, but may be the starting quarterback of the Raiders again in 2024.
O’Connell isn’t likely to be the starter in 2024, but he showed enough to be considered a high-quality backup moving forward. But Wilson, Mayer, and Tucker all look like players who should have big roles in Year 2.
The Raiders are still hoping to see more from Byron Young and Jakorian Bennett, two mid-round defenders. If they can show anything at all in 2024, this has the makings of a pretty productive class for the Raiders.