Slowly and surely, through multiple sources and different writers, pieces of the Raiders’ 2014 Draft strategy are becoming clear.
First, the Raiders are unlikely to take a quarterback in the first round or, at least, not at the #5 spot. Per multiple reports, this is because the Raiders aren’t in love with any of the QBs to the extent that they think that quarterback is worth a fifth overall selection.
The Raiders would, then, do one of two things at the fifth spot – take the best non-QB player that is available, or trade down.
My guess is that their preference will be to trade down. The first round has a number of impact players and picking up extra picks in the top 100 selections can help the team get the depth it desperately needs on both sides of the ball.
So will the team get a QB in this year’s draft? They absolutely should. First, GM Reggie McKenzie has stated that he isn’t a believer in plugging a rookie into the starting lineup right away. Look to how Green Bay handled the Aaron Rodgers situation – they drafted him to learn behind Brett Favre before they counted on him to lead the franchise.
Best case scenario, Schaub becomes the QB they hope him to be and can start for many years. In this case, the Raiders have no need for an immediate contribution from a rookie quarterback and have the luxury of making sure that player is completely ready before starting him.
How often does the best case scenario come to be, however?
In this case, the Raiders should hope for the best and plan for the worst. The worst case scenario is that Schaub cannot contribute much, if at all. The Raiders currently have Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor still on the roster but McGloin isn’t viewed as a starter by the coaching staff – they like him as a backup who can step in and compete – and Pryor seems likely to be gone by the season’s start.
It’s always a good idea to have depth and it is especially important for Quarterback – not only because it’s such an important position but also because the quarterback position takes so long to adapt to the speed of the NFL.
Quarterback is the most important position in Football and the team should absolutely spend a draft pick to get a guy they like. They should be looking at the second or third round to pick up a talented QB with some upside.
The strategy to pass on a QB in the first round and pick one up in later rounds is consistent with some of the information that is leaking out now, 3 weeks before the draft. At this point, most teams will have their draft board initially set and will adjust players up and down only as they acquire additional information.
In today’s MMQB, Sport’s Illustrated’s Peter King weighed in on this situation for a few of the top teams, saying, “I’ve heard that at least four quarterback-needy teams—Houston (first pick), Jacksonville (3), Cleveland (4) and Oakland (5)—are strongly considering passing on quarterbacks with their first picks and waiting until their second or third selections. Simple reason: They’re not in love with any of the quarterbacks, and there are too many other good players who are surer things than a quarterback you have sincere doubts about. For that reason, there could be more quarterbacks taken in round two than round one.”
Many of the beat writers agree, with what they’ve heard. Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle agrees, suggesting the Raiders may wait until the 3rd round to take a quarterback:
Looking through the last half decade of drafts, there are typically 4 to 6 quarterbacks taken in the first two rounds. This means that the Raiders would have to assume they wouldn’t be able to take one of the top 6 quarterbacks.
For this year, the consensus top four quarterbacks are: Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr.
After that, it becomes less clear. Many people – myself included – think that Zach Mettenberger from LSU will go high. Jimmy Garoppolo is in a dark horse to go very high.
So, let’s assume those six players are gone by the time the Raiders’ 3rd round pick comes around. They could go with a physically gifted but technically flawed quarterback in Pitt’s Tom Savage or Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas.
They could go with accurate David Fales, who didn’t play top-end competition and has some questions about arm strength but was able to elevate San Jose State.
On average, approximately 12 quarterbacks go per Draft over the last decade. Here are the consensus top 13 Quarterbacks in this year’s draft, in my opinion. It’s likely that one of these guys will be drafted by the Raiders this year: