Quarterback Buzz In the Air – Like it or Not

Hayden Nadolny
kyler murray dwayne haskins raiders quarterback

Despite assurances from both Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock that Derek Carr is the team’s franchise quarterback, lingering speculation the team is exploring addressing the position in the draft aren’t subsiding.

Twelve months ago, Jon Gruden claimed that he would have failed as a coach if he were unable to get the best out of Raiders starter and current franchise quarterback Derek Carr. Now, with just a shade over three weeks before the 2019 NFL Draft, there is a lot of smoke surrounding the Raiders possibly selecting a quarterback in the first round.

Gruden and his Raiders entourage met with first-round fancies Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins this past week and already have a solid view on Drew Lock – having coached him in the Senior Bowl in January.

Murray won the Heisman Trophy in 2018 with Oklahoma, while Haskins threw over 50 touchdowns last season with Ohio State. Both are seen as solid prospects with Murray being touted by many analysts as the expected No. 1 pick in the draft.

Both Haskins and Murray will likely go in the top five picks of the draft – possibly top three. Hence, if Gruden really wants either player, the Raiders will have to trade up from the fourth selection.

It might seem inconceivable and 12 months ago it was. Yet Gruden at this point in time is far from sold on Derek Carr. Both Gruden and GM Mike Mayock have talked up Carr this off-season but at no time have denied they are looking to draft or upgrade at the position. It is definitely a case of keeping all options open for the Raiders come draft time.

The Raiders have the draft capital to trade up if they so choose, but it could come at a hefty price.

For comparison’s sake: in 2004 when the Chargers traded Eli Manning to the Giants, they received Phillip Rivers (the Giants’ first-round pick No. 4 overall), a third-round pick, and a future first-round pick. Another comparable trade is when Chicago gave up (in addition to their first-round pick) a third-round pick, a fourth-round pick, and a future third-rounder just to move up one spot in the 2017 draft (from third to second overall). Would the Raiders second round pick (No. 35 overall) and pick No. 4 be enough to move from No. 4 to No. 1 overall? It’s doubtful.

Any trade up for a QB would only occur should the Raiders find an adequate trade partner for Carr. Carr was reportedly shopped at the trade deadline, but no team met the Raiders asking price, believed to be a first-round pick. Given the inflated prices (both in trade assets and contractual salary) that is attributed to QBs, such a price could be met come Draft Day. Two teams rumored to be interested in Carr are the Dolphins and Redskins, both whom have uncertainty under center. At just 28 years of age, Carr could be a long-term solution for either team if he can find some consistency in his game. 

However, if Gruden is infatuated enough with one of these top amateur QBs, there’s a chance that the Raiders take a QB with their first pick in the draft and work out the rest later. One thing is for certain: the next three weeks are going to be a typhoon of rumor, innuendo, and over-thinking oon what the Raiders may do.

Gruden and Mayock wouldn’t have it any other way.