It’s become obvious that the Las Vegas Raiders will draft a right tackle early in the NFL Draft this year. They traded away Trent Brown to the New England Patriots earlier in the offseason and have not signed a capable replacement. The question is whether or not the team will address the position in the first round.
This year’s class is ripe with strong tackle prospects so it’s possible to find a starter in the second round. However, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, it’s starting to look like the offensive line will be the play in the first round. He also dropped a surprising nugget about how the Raiders did a lot of work to scout North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance:
The Raiders, who have made getting younger on the offensive line a priority this offseason, are thought to be looking at several of the tackle options in the mid-to-late part of the first round. They own the No. 17 pick. They also did extensive work on Lance: They don’t need a quarterback but worked as if they did over recent weeks.
The offensive line information doesn’t come as a surprise but the quarterback comments are certainly interesting.
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Why Would Raiders Do Work on Lance?
There was a recent report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the Raiders had a possible interest in a quarterback should one slip in the upcoming draft. However, he never mentioned a specific name the team could target. Based on the report from Fowler, it sounds like Lance is the one that they have an eye on.
Out of all top quarterback prospects, Lance would make a lot of sense on the Raiders. He’s got excellent character and a really good football IQ. Those are two big things that Jon Gruden wants. He’s definitely a bit of a project. He’s less refined than a lot of the other quarterbacks coming out. The thing that would be the most exciting for Las Vegas is that he’s got an excellent arm and is a great athlete. The Raiders are happy with Derek Carr right now so if they want to upgrade at quarterback eventually, it would make a lot more sense to take a guy who needs some development.
Lance could sit behind Carr for two years while he learns Gruden’s system and what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. It’s highly unlikely to happen as the Raiders would need to trade up but it’s certainly interesting that they’d show interest in a prospect like Lance.
What to Expect From Raiders in 1st Round?
At this point, it looks like Day 1 of the NFL Draft will go one of two ways for Las Vegas. Either they’ll take an offensive lineman at No. 17 or trade down. The specific player the Raiders might target remains to be seen. There’s been some talk about Teven Jenkins being a fit but the team is very unpredictable in the draft.
Over the last two drafts, the only first-round pick they’ve made that wasn’t a surprise was taking Henry Ruggs last year. With the Raiders, it’s safe to just expect the unexpected.
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