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Quick Hits: Antonio Pierce discusses quarterback scenarios, free agency at Annual League Meeting

Nothing is off the table for Antonio Pierce and the Las Vegas Raiders. That was his main point of emphasis made Monday morning at the Annual League Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

This is Pierce's first time in attendance at the meeting after having his interim tag removed at the end of last season. Additionally, this was the first time he's addressed the media regarding his team's offseason plans since the NFL Combine in late February. 

The Silver and Black have made several additions to the roster through free agency, including Pro Bowl quarterback Gardner Minshew II, disruptive defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and running back Alexander Mattison – who'll have the opportunity to compete for the starting role following Josh Jacobs' departure.

As Pierce spoke with the media at the meeting, he addressed a variety of topics including free agency, the Raiders' quarterback room and acclimating into his new head coach position.

Read through for some of the best quotes from his media availability in Orlando.

Christian Wilkins' impact to the defensive line:

"Makes life easier for us as coaches, I'll tell you that. When you get good players, makes life easy. But what it does along with other gentleman that we brought back, John Jenkins and Adam Butler, I mean a lot of depth to that D-line room. We want to be strong there, that's going to be our strong point of our team. As you can see, I think from one to 10, I feel really good with those guys. But Christian [Wilkins], the energy, personality, love for the game. And now we got somebody on the front with Maxx Crosby, full blown effort for 60 minutes, and that's what we're looking for. And I think for us to get a player of his caliber, the way he's played over his entire career, it's going to be a blessing for Raider Nation."

On signing Gardner Minshew II:

"He beat us [Week 17 of the 2023 season], let's start there. He's a competitor, we want that room to be as competitive as possible. Aidan [O'Connell] did a hell of a job last year, but like any other position on our team, we want to make that as competitive as possible. One thing about Gardner [Minshew] that you see throughout his career, he finds a way, right? So, that's going to make our room better. He's been through a lot of adversity; you want that experience as well in there. So, to me, it's a good fit, and it's a culture fit. Wild boy right there. I like the personality."

His relationship with Tom Telesco:

"We're only probably two months into this bad boy together, learn each other's mannerisms, talk, our reasons why, his reasons why, his philosophy, his big picture, my big picture, probably meshing that together, but being important is doing the right thing and not rushing to a decision. Being aggressive? I mean, I'm always going to be aggressive. I want to win. That's what is in my nature. It's good to have a gentleman like Tom Telesco to calm me down. ... He's my balance. It's yin and yang."

Evaluating Aidan O'Connell's improvement:

"I think what you saw at the end of the season, taking care of the football, managing the game, putting points on the board. I would love to see him become more vocal, right? Is he ever going to become a runner? No, not going to happen, that's okay, but there's other ways that you can do that and move around in the pocket. I think he's done a great job this offseason, being in the building and staying in the Las Vegas area and really working on that. So, one thing I'd love to see him do is be more vocal."

On the quarterback class in the 2024 NFL Draft:

"I think it's a very talented group. I mean, we interviewed most of those guys at the combine, had great conversations with them. JJ McCarthy, you're talking about a national champion, a winner. So, I don't know how he's not in the top three, if you want to be honest. And then you look at Bo Nix, what is it 61 career starts? Like come on man, that's crazy, played against Justin Herbert. So, if you grabbed a kid like that, well he's done that already, that's kind of cool. But there's a very talented group, even [Michael] Penix taking his guys to the national championship with the University of Washington. So to be honest, you want a certain quarterback, you got your eye on one or two and three, but I don't think you can go wrong with this year's draft with any of these guys. Now do they pan out? I don't know. It's the fit, it's when they get brought along, it's the system. A lot of things go into play."

The potential of trading up in the 2024 NFL Draft:

"I think everything's on the table. Whatever makes the Raiders better I'm all for. And when I say I'm a go getter, meaning whatever it takes to win, whatever it takes to get the best player to make our team the best, that's what I want to do, and that's what I like to see us do. Tom Telesco has a lot more experience in the draft than myself. I'm going to lean on him and his expertise on what we should do. And if it's the right fit and that guy there that we want is a Raider and he fits the Raider culture in our way, then we'll go get him."

Protecting the locker room culture:

"I'm the guardian at the gate, not letting any evil come through that building, not happening. Because that's important man, like what we're able to do at the end of the season, what we're doing right now - I know you guys are not in the building, it looks different. It looks different, I can tell you that. The players are protective of it."

View the best photos of the Las Vegas Raiders' 2024 free agent class and their first day at Intermountain Health Performance Center.

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