Las Vegas Raiders: Why Jalen Hurts is the perfect draft target

Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders have done considerable pre-draft work on Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Big 12 star could be an ideal 2020 NFL Draft target.

The Las Vegas Raiders project to be one of the most interesting franchises in the league when the NFL Draft officially kicks off on April 23rd.

The Raiders currently possess both the 12th and 19th overall picks. They also have a plethora of capital in the third round, holding the 80th, 81st, and 91st selections.

While they lack any picks in the second round, Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock have a real opportunity to reshape an already interesting roster. The franchise’s top priority should be addressing pressing needs at wide receiver and cornerback.

However, Las Vegas will have a chance to add depth to any area they see fit. This creates an opportunity for some interesting latter-round options.

Perhaps the most intriguing potential fit is former Alabama and Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts. Let’s discuss how he’d fit in Las Vegas.

How would he fit with the roster?

Las Vegas currently has a full quarterback room. The team passed on an opportunity to add an established signal-caller during the free agency period, electing instead to stick with incumbent starter Derek Carr.

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The Raiders also signed former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota to provide depth.

However, the franchise still feels like they lack direction at the position. Carr has been a solid option, but has failed to lead the team to any sustained success in his six seasons as a starter.

Unless he is able to make a rare, late-career, jump in production, his career seems to be clearly defined. He is a good, but not great talent with limited upside. In a world where the Raiders have to compete with Patrick Mahomes‘ Chiefs and a potential top rookie on the Chargers.

Adding a player like Hurts would give the team a legitimate future option. While he does not rank amongst the top players at his position, he is still a worthy investment.

The former Heisman trophy candidate achieved great success at two of the largest collegiate programs in the country. His arm talent and overall athleticism should give him a chance to develop into an NFL-caliber player.

When will he be drafted?

Hurts’ draft projections have been all over the map.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has given him a borderline first-round grade. However, the consensus mock draft position seems to be in the early third round. Walter Football has him falling to pick No. 102. CBS Sports has him going at 88. The Draft Wire has him mocked at pick No. 98.

This could give Las Vegas the perfect opportunity to invest in their future without paying a premium price. If Hurts is still on the board at pick No. 80, the Raiders would be foolish to pass on the chance to draft him.

In fact, if other teams are aggressively pursuing quarterbacks in the first few rounds, I believe that the upside of Hurts would be worth packaging picks together to move into the early third or late second round.

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How would he mesh with Jon Gruden?

While the future of the quarterback position is uncertain, there is one thing the Raiders have set in stone — Jon Gruden will be leading the team for many years.

The former Super Bowl champion inked a massive 10-year, $100 million contract that locked him into a longstanding relationship with Las Vegas.

It is imperative that any potential quarterback fit in Gruden’s game plan. Luckily, Hurts profiles as a perfect option. The former college star’s general athleticism would help him thrive in the team’s West Coast offensive scheme.

Hurts is a proficient passer with a particular accuracy on short and middle ranged throws. His agility and ability to scramble would also help him extend plays as a passer while moving the chains as a rushing threat.

He would instantly open up the offense by forcing opposing defensive coordinators to keep players in the box to account for his running.

If his passing is properly developed, Hurts could be a much better fit than a prototypical pocket passer like Carr.


It would be a dream for the Raiders to land a prospect like Hurts without having to reposition themselves in the third round.

The franchise could invest in a receiver and cornerback with picks 12 and 19, add a quarterback with legitimate upside that the team could groom as a future starter with pick 80, and address supplementary needs and overall depth with their remaining latter-round picks.

If the draft indeed plays out in this manner, the Las Vegas Raiders would simultaneously boost their depth chart in 2020, while also investing in the future.

Next. Las Vegas Raiders: Mike Mayock confirms Damarious Randall’s position. dark

The franchise’s front office should make Hurts a top target in the 2020 NFL Draft.