Raiders Planning to Go After Former Number 2 Overall Pick QB: Report

jon gruden

Getty Las Vegas Raiders HC Jon Gruden.

When talking about the Las Vegas Raiders‘ quarterback situation, many have suggested the team is going after Tom Brady. While it’s certainly possible that they do, it’s also very possible they stick with Derek Carr and add a veteran backup with starter upside. Well, that may be exactly what’s going to happen as NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo is reporting that the Raiders may be more interested in bringing in Marcus Mariota as a backup to Carr than signing Tom Brady to take over the starting spot.

Mariota’s time with the Tennessee Titans is likely over. He came into the NFL as the second overall pick in 2015 and while he showed flashes of being a top quarterback, he regressed greatly in 2019 and was benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill. Mariota is highly unlikely to get a starting job anywhere right now and the Raiders could make a lot of sense for him because of the uncertainty at their quarterback position.

Jon Gruden Was a Big Fan of Mariota’s Coming out of College

Thanks to his time in the media after he left coaching, there is a lot of access to how Jon Gruden honestly feels about most veteran quarterbacks in the NFL. When Mariota was coming into the league in 2015, Gruden was one of his biggest supporters.

“I could be Marcus’ agent,” Gruden said in 2015, per “I think this stereotype of Marcus Mariota as a spread quarterback that runs read options every play is ridiculous.

“I think he’s very poised. I’ve seen him go through progressions; they run some common NFL route combinations [at Oregon]. He’s put a lot of points on the board, he’s been asked to do a lot with pass protections. He learned the Oregon offense inside and out, and he’ll learn your offense. It’s just a matter of you teaching him, and surrounding him with a support system—good players, good contingency game-planning, and an opportunity to be great.”

Obviously, there’s a lot more tape on Mariota these days, so it’s quite possible Gruden has soured on his ability. There’s no doubt the quarterback hasn’t lived up to the hype, but a change of scenery could help unlock his potential. Just look at Ryan Tannehill, who took over for Mariota in 2019. He went from backup to Pro Bowler thanks to a change of scenery.

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Mariota as Carr’s Backup Makes a Lot of Sense

Signing Mariota would be an interesting decision by the Raiders. They can still go out and call Derek Carr their starting quarterback and not risk hurting his confidence, but have a solid backup option in case he struggles. If the Raiders sign Mariota, Carr should feel comfortable he’ll be the starter heading into 2020. However, his leash will be significantly shorter if the former number two overall pick impresses the coaches.

Mike Glennon and DeShone Kizer were the Raiders’ backup quarterbacks in 2019. Neither of those guys have much upside as starters. If Carr struggles or gets hurt, the team needs to have better options. Mariota would provide that despite his recent struggle.

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