The Las Vegas Raiders will benefit from Patrick Graham leading the way to the 2023 Senior Bowl

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders had a tumultuous 2022 season that finally ended at Allegiant Stadium against one of their rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs a couple of weeks ago.

Although the team had high expectations heading into the year with the addition of wide receiver Davante Adams and defensive end Chandler Jones, Las Vegas finished in third place in the AFC West with a record of just 6 -11.

This is the first full offseason for the Raiders for general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels. All personnel will be important for the next few years, especially with quarterback Derek Carr’s decision to move on. The team has reportedly been in talks with other teams to move the nine-year signal caller and three-time Pro Bowler.

There are so many options and variations on how this offseason will go for the Silver and Black as the potential quarterbacks coming to Las Vegas have been pondered. That includes a player who has only won seven Super Bowls.

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In addition to the offense, the defense is something that is in question, as the Raiders ranked near the bottom in several categories during the regular season.

That will be the challenge for defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and his staff, as the only consistent aspect of the defense all season has been the play of defensive end Maxx Crosby, who posted season highs with 89 tackles and 12.5 bags.

Graham, Ziegler, McDaniels and the Raiders prepare for the NFL Combine late next month and the NFL Draft three months away. But they received good news on the draft front.

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Las Vegas Raiders defensive coordinator to coach at Senior Bowl

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas RaidersKirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As much as the Raiders and the other 31 teams scout players and hold personnel meetings, Graham will have an advantage as he will be on the sidelines for one of the final moments to see players before the combine.

Wednesday, announced the Senior Bowl the coaches of the No. 1 and No. 7 seeded teams to lead the two teams ahead of the February 4, 2023 matchup.

With the Chicago Bears holding the top spot in the upcoming draft and the Raiders holding the seventh pick, Graham will be the head coach of the national team and Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy will lead the American team.

“It is a real honor to be selected as the head coach of the national team for the Senior Bowl,” he added. Graham said on January 18. “I look forward to meeting and working with these talented young players and getting to know them individually and collectively during the Senior Bowl festivities.”

Alongside Graham are New Orleans quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Ronald Curry and Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backs coach Grady Brown.

Graham is the first Raiders coach to participate in the Senior Bowl since 2019. This year also marks the first time in Senior Bowl history that the coaching staff does not consist of two full organizations and the coaching staff.

Over the past four NFL drafts, dating back to 2019, 87.2% of players who participated in the Senior Bowl were selected in the NFL Draft.

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This opportunity gives Graham a great opportunity to see what it will take to improve the Raiders’ defense, not only for the team’s first-round pick, but with their other picks throughout the seven-round event .

One of the top defenders coming to Mobile for the Senior Bowl practice and game is Alabama linebacker Henry To’o To’o. To’o To’o, who will make the three-hour drive from his campus in Tuscaloosa, led the Crimson Tide with 113 tackles and received second-team All-SEC honors last season.

Being able to be the head coach to see the next generation of NFL players will provide huge benefits for Graham and the Raiders as the draft gets closer and closer.

Graham will be able to see the players on the practice field for the first of three practices on Jan. 31 before the senior bowl game takes place on Feb. 4 at 11:30 a.m. PT.

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