Many eyes will be on the Las Vegas Raiders and they approach free agency this year, but they still have a draft to worry about in April. After nailing the 2019 class, general manager Mike Mayock is hoping to do an even better job in 2020 now that he has more experience under his belt.
There have been many rumors surrounding the Raiders’ quarterback situation this offseason and while there’s a chance the team addresses the position in the draft, it’s almost a guarantee that a veteran will start for Las Vegas in 2020. Whether or not it’s Derek Carr remains to be seen. No matter who ends up as the starter for the team, it’s very possible that they add a quarterback in the draft.
If the Raiders decide not to go quarterback in the first round, there’s one big name to keep an eye on and that’s Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. He apparently had a strong visit with the team at the Combine and Mayock was present at his pro day where the two were seen talking together.
Hurts & Raiders Appear to Be Strong Fit
Hurts had a prolific college career at Alabama and Oklahoma, but he has some red flags that have caused his draft stock to plummet. Luckily for him, he’s been a quick riser thanks to his impressive Combine performances on and off the field. Hurts has a unique connection to the Raiders’ higher-ups that could give him a strong chance to get drafted by the team.
“Coach (Jon) Gruden has that jolt,” Hurts said, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “There was definitely a connection with Coach Gruden and Mr. (Mike) Mayock, considering they’re also coaches’ kids. And how they view leadership and how high they are on it. There was a natural connection between us.”
Hurts won’t be ready to start during his rookie season so he’ll need to join a team that has a veteran starter in place. The Raiders could be the perfect place for him as Gruden has expressed that he would like his quarterback to make more plays with his feet. If Derek Carr still doesn’t show he can do that, perhaps Hurts will.
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Raiders Should Take Hurts in 3rd Round If Available
Hurts isn’t going in the first round of the draft, but he’s been very impressive in interviews and workouts. That could raise his stock to the second round. He was generally thought to be a third-rounder at the earliest, but he could be one of the draft’s biggest sleepers. Oklahoma quarterbacks were drafted number one overall in the last two drafts, so maybe he gets drafted higher because of that fact.
If he makes it to the Raiders in the third round, they should pounce on him. They already have a solid starter at quarterback in Derek Carr, but it doesn’t appear they’re completely sold on him as the future of the position. Snagging Hurts would give them a backup option with a ton of potential in case Carr falters. Plus, using a third-rounder on a player with so much upside isn’t a big risk. It’s a move the Raiders should really consider making.