Since the colossal mistake of drafting JaMarcus Russell with the number one overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, the Raiders have avoided using a first-round pick on a quarterback. There are only nine other teams who haven’t selected a quarterback in the first-round since 2008. Plus, a Jon Gruden coached team has never drafted a quarterback in the first round.
Despite those facts, many have predicted the Raiders to draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2020 draft. There are several strong prospects this year, but Jordan Love out of Utah State is perhaps the most interesting. According to Matt Bowen of ESPN, Love is a perfect fit with the Raiders:
Given his throwing traits, movement skills and playmaking ability, Love is a fit for almost any scheme. The Patriots could be an option at No. 23. The Saints at No. 24, too. But I’m looking at Jon Gruden’s Raiders in the first round. Give Love a strong coaching staff and time to develop, and he could thrive in Vegas.
One thing that should be appealing for the Raiders is that they wouldn’t need to play Love immediately thanks to their current quarterback situation as Bowen points out:
Love has an efficient release to get the ball out with speed on West Coast concepts, including crossers, sticks and slants. The mobility should show here on movement concepts, too, and Love has the arm talent to drive the ball down the field on designed vertical shots.
In Vegas, Gruden and his staff can work to develop his complete skill set. And with two veteran quarterbacks already on the roster, there is no immediate pressure to throw Love into the mix early.
Mel Kiper Jr. Mocks Love to the Raiders
The idea of Love getting drafted by the Raiders has been floating around months now and while some don’t seem convinced it’s going to happen, others are still suggesting it will. In his latest mock draft for ESPN, Mel Kiper Jr. has Love falling to the Raiders at 19:
Now you’ll see why I passed on Love for the Raiders at No. 12. Since I’m not going to predict trades in this Mock Draft, I feel good about Love being here. Now, that could change on draft day, and a team could move above the Raiders to get him. But this would be a coup for Las Vegas, which isn’t tied to Derek Carr or Marcus Mariota past 2020. If Jon Gruden & Co. decide to pass on a quarterback, wide receiver is the most likely position for them to target.
Love has been mocked all over the first round, so it’s hard to know exactly where teams value him. While he has the potential to be the best quarterback in the entire draft, he also has the potential to be a massive flop. There’s a level of risk involved with drafting Love in the first round.
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Drafting QB in Round 1 Would Be Mistake
The idea of the Raiders finding the next Patrick Mahomes is certainly enticing, but it’s far from a given they are going to find that this year. They have massive needs at cornerback and wide receiver that they should be using their first-round picks on. Derek Carr is good enough to lead the team to the playoffs and investing heavily in a player who won’t play in 2020 doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Raiders.
Give Carr one more chance and see what he can do with a first-round wide receiver. If he falters, then the team can look at quarterbacks in 2021.