Suspiciously, the Las Vegas Raiders have gone the whole offseason without getting linked to a single quarterback in the draft. In 2019, there was chatter that the team liked Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins. Last year, Las Vegas was linked to Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jordan Love.
Despite a litany of rumors, the Raiders haven’t drafted a single quarterback in any round since Jon Gruden took over the team. It looked like the team might escape quarterback rumors this offseason but that’s no longer the case. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Raiders have done “extensive work” on the draft’s top quarterback and could target one of them if they slip out of the top 10.
It seems like a yearly ritual, but once again, the #Raiders did extensive work on all the top QBs, I’m told. If one slides past No. 10, they could be a team to watch to grab a QB and stash for the future. Doubtful that a QB gets to No. 17, but they will have their homework ready.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 23, 2021
This offseason, the Raiders have shown a lot of confidence in Derek Carr. They could’ve entertained a trade for Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson. No rumors have come out suggesting the team even reached out about a quarterback trade. It’s hard to imagine they’ve decided to change their tune now.
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Who Could the Raiders Like?
Out of the top quarterbacks, there’s no way that they’ll have a chance at Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson. If the rumors connecting the San Francisco 49ers to Mac Jones are true, that would just leave Justin Fields or Trey Lance as possibilities. If either of those two falls out of the top 10, it’s easy to see why the Raiders could be interested.
Both Fields and Lance have elite upside. Fields was long considered the second-best quarterback prospect behind Lawrence. For whatever reason, Jones and Wilson have surpassed him. That doesn’t mean he can’t play. It’s impossible to see him falling all the way to No. 17. Lance is probably the most interesting player in the draft. He’s athletic, got a cannon for an arm and has an incredibly high football IQ. The concern with him is that he didn’t play against great competition at North Dakota State and also didn’t throw a ton of passes. If the Raiders are going to target anybody, it will probably be Lance as they can stow him behind Carr for a couple of years.
This Is Obvious Smokescreen
Rapoport is one of the most well-respected reporters in the NFL world but the Raiders aren’t drafting a quarterback unless Lawrence somehow falls to No. 17. The team likes Carr as a starter and has much bigger needs than at quarterback. They still don’t have a right tackle or a starting free safety.
The Raiders have a vested interest in seeing all of the top quarterbacks getting selected before them. The more quarterbacks who get selected before Las Vegas picks, the more players at positions of need will be available to the team. They could also be trying to trade down. Perhaps a guy like Lance starts sliding down the board and the Chicago Bears want to pick him. They could look at the Raiders and offer them a decent haul to ensure that they get the quarterback they want. It’s possible the team takes a quarterback later in the draft but it’s not happening in the first round.
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