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3 draft scenarios where the Raiders come away with a rookie QB

We are closing in on Detroit and the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, yet consensus on where the quarterbacks end up coming off the board seems further away than ever, with the exception of USC QB Caleb Williams heading to the Bears at No. 1 overall. Beyond that, who comes next and how many in total through the first 32 picks is a bit of a Vegas crapshoot at this point. How serious are the Raiders about finding a franchise quarterback in this draft is a major pivot point in the Day 1 conversation and as I see it, there are a few different scenarios where the Raiders might find their future behind center.

Before we lay out those simulations, let's also acknowledge and appreciate a couple of facts: The Raiders went 5-5 with rookie Aidan O'Connell stepping up in a tough spot last year, showing some promise at the position in the process, and signed Gardner Minshew in free agency, who went 7-6 filling in for the injured Anthony Richardson, bringing Indy a failed fourth down conversion away from the postseason. Either or both of those QBs could engineer enough wins to contend this year so I don't view the QB need as dire.

However, if Tom Telesco, Antonio Pierce and the Raiders evaluation staff feel the answer to the QB question is "let's go get one," then here's a few ways it could be done.


If Vegas stays put at pick No. 13, then it feels like the options will be Washington's Michael Penix Jr. or Oregon's Bo Nix. Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels are a virtual lock to be gone in the top 5, if not top 3, and J.J. McCarthy at this point seems unlikely to last past the Broncos at No. 12. Ironically, Penix and Nix battled twice this past season with Penix coming out on top each time, and I believe the Huskies QB would sweep the proverbial series in coming off the board first in Detroit as well.

Penix possesses incredibly intoxicating arm talent as the ball explodes off his left hand with power and accuracy. He pushes the ball down the field with ease and frequency and I'm quite comfortable saying Penix is the best pure passer in this entire draft class. His history of season-ending injuries is obviously a concern worth exploring, but he started every game for Washington the last two years and ran a high 4.4 40-yard dash at his pro day, proving he has more than enough athleticism to succeed in today's NFL.


This is the bombshell scenario. You've seen the reports of the Raiders' decision makers potentially seeking to trade all the way up to No. 2 for Jayden Daniels and the LSU QB feels like the type of player worthy of that kind of investment. Whether the trade report is accurate remains to be seen, but the Raiders connections to Daniels are undisputed with Head Coach Antonio Pierce recruiting Daniels to Arizona State while a member of the Sun Devils defensive staff. AP was successful in luring Daniels to Tempe, where he spent three years before finishing with a flair at LSU in 2023 with a Heisman trophy in tow. Clearly, Daniels is an elite playmaker on the ground, which is not to diminish his prowess as a passer.

The cost, however, remains a big piece of the trading up calculus. Based on historical compensation (49ers in 2021, Bears in 2023) for a move of this nature going from No. 13 to No. 2 (and you'd have to go to No. 2 to be sure you get Daniels) for a QB, you'd be looking at giving up pick No. 13 this year and at minimum each of the next two years' first-round selections with the potential of some extra Day 2 and/or Day 3 compensation. A heavy price to pay? Sure, but if Daniels proves to be a top 5 QB in this league for the next decade+, then there's virtually no cost too high.


It's certainly possible the Raiders like the fourth or fifth or even sixth QB in this draft, but don't see the value of selecting them at No. 13. In this case, a trade down in the first round to accumulate additional picks and snag a QB later where value might be better aligned with the draft slot could be considered. Although if you are convicted enough to select a QB in the first round, then why mess around and risk losing out on him.


There is one projection the draft industrial complex hasn't really discussed and that is the possibility of the Raiders acquiring a second first-round pick. I could certainly see the Raiders choosing to select the top offensive lineman on their board or even the top cornerback (which could also be the first corner off the board) at pick No. 13 and then assessing the draft flow as we get deeper into Round 1. If Penix or Nix are still available into the 20s and they carry a worthy grade in the Raiders draft room, then you could envision a scenario where they put together a package to move back into the first round for a quarterback, while getting the added bonus of the fifth-year contract option for additional cost control.

Here's the great news, Raiders fans: Tom Telesco's track record at his previous destinations with drafting QBs is pretty dang good (see: Justin Herbert, No. 6 overall pick of the Chargers in the 2020 draft and Andrew Luck, No. 1 overall pick of the Colts in 2012). So, if QB is on the docket on night one of the draft, then I feel pretty confident trusting in Telesco that it's going to be the right one.

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