Why the Raiders should avoid drafting a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft

Raiders, 2020 NFL Draft (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Raiders, 2020 NFL Draft (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders hold the 12th and 19th picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. But the team would be wise to avoid drafting a quarterback this year.

The Las Vegas Raiders enter the 2020 NFL offseason with an interesting dilemma with their most important position.

After years of abysmal play from their quarterback position, the Raiders finally found what felt like a franchise signal-caller when they selected Derek Carr with the 36th pick in the 2014 draft.

The Incumbent Starter

To his credit, Carr has been solid for the team over the past six seasons. He has brought stability to the position, while also producing at an acceptable level.

His best season came in 2016 when he recorded 28 touchdowns and a career-low six interceptions. He also passed for nearly 4,000 yards, while leading his team to an incredible 12-3 record.

The rest of Carr’s career has seen the quarterback pass for similar numbers. In fact, he has averaged 3,799 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions per season throughout his tenure in the NFL. He was also voted to the Pro Bowl roster from 2015-2017.

Carr’s production has been good. However, he has yet to establish himself amongst the elite players at his position. With the exception of the 2016 season, he has also failed to lead the team to any sort of postseason relevance.

This has led to widespread speculation that Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock may seek to move on from Carr in order to pursue another option through the draft or free agency.

While the allure of a top rookie quarterback is enticing, the Raiders should avoid investing in a long-term solution in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Draft Options

There are three quarterbacks currently being projected as first-round picks — Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert.

Burrow and Tagovailoa are considered obvious top picks with the potential to lead a team for the next decade. Herbert, on the other hand, has been graded as a high risk, high reward pick that is predicted to go somewhere in the mid-first round.

Las Vegas currently holds both the 12th and 19th picks in the first round. This leaves the team in an awkward position, due to the fact that both Burrow and Tagovailoa are expected to be selected within the first three overall picks.

While the Raiders could theoretically offer a huge package of picks to move into that range, they would be required to sacrifice an opportunity to add several, young, impact, players.

The only realistic option is for the team to go all-in on Herbert as the heir apparent to Carr. Many fans and analysts have been raving about Herbert’s potential as an NFL passer throughout most of the offseason.

His 6-foot-6, 227-pound frame perfectly fits the mold of a prototypical pocket passer. He is, however, in a lower tier of prospects than the top two options in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Solution

This leaves the Raiders with a handful of options. While I am very high on Burrow and Tagovailoa, neither come without concerns. It would be an extreme gamble for the Raiders to sacrifice their stable of picks in order to move up.

The franchise could also elect to take the gamble and offer the reigns to Justin Herbert. While this decision would give Gruden a young quarterback with upside, it could also set the team back several seasons.

There is also a possibility that a team like the Los Angeles Chargers (who has been linked to Herbert) reaches for the former Oregon Ducks quarterback.

This leaves the Raiders without a natural path to a top rookie quarterback. The team is trapped in a position where they would have to make significant sacrifice or gamble to address their need.

When you consider the fact that the team currently has more than $51 million in available cap space, the most logical solution is to weigh their options in free agency.

If they are able to land a young player like Teddy Bridgewater (who would be the best-case scenario), then the team can focus their draft picks on acquiring receiving weapons. Las Vegas could also make a short-term play for a veteran like Tom Brady or Philip Rivers.

At the end of the day, any of these outcomes would put the team in a good position for the upcoming season.

Unless Gruden and company are completely convinced that Herbert can be an above-average NFL starter throughout the 2020s, they should thoroughly explore all of their options in free agency. If they are unable to land their targets, they could even give Carr one more season under center.

dark. Next. Raiders: 6 free agents to target this offseason including Tom Brady

However, they should not exhaust all of their resources by drafting a quarterback in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.