The Las Vegas Raiders team that general manager Dave Ziegler put together this offseason is off to a rough start but he’s busy looking to the future. Outside of a few signings and trades here and there, much of Ziegler’s focus for the next several months will be on the 2023 NFL Draft. If the Raiders keep losing, he may have a much higher draft pick to work with than he expected.
Quarterback Derek Carr was handed a contract extension in the offseason but there are ways for the team to get out of it if they think a change needs to be made. If the season ended today, the Raiders would have the No. 1 overall pick. It’s highly unlikely that holds but if it does, a quarterback change becomes much more likely. In the meantime, Ziegler is going to do his due diligence on some of the best prospects expected to be in the draft next year.
One interesting player to keep an eye on is Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. The 6-foot-4 junior had a big game against Tennesee this past weekend and it drew a lot of interest around the NFL, including from the Raiders. Ziegler went to watch the game along with two others in the organization to scout the quarterback, per Pete Thamel of ESPN.
Background on Richardson
From a physical standpoint, there’s a lot to love about Richardson. He’s tall and athletic with a huge arm. However, he’s very raw and needs work. Prior to the college football season, Dane Brugler of The Athletic had a scouting report on the quarterback:
Based on sample size (66 career pass attempts in two seasons), Richardson’s scouting report requires a great deal of projection. But there is no college quarterback with more raw talent. He is a well-built, twitchy athlete with the speed to gash defenses with his legs and the big body to power through tacklers. Richardson has a powerful arm (both velocity and distance) to put the ball anywhere on the field, and although his delivery is a little long, the ball explodes out of his hand.
Unfortunately for Richardson, he’s still had many growing pains in his first year as a full-time starter. The Gators are 2-2 and the quarterback has struggled. He’s only completing 53.7% of his passes and has two touchdown passes to five interceptions. He does have five rushing touchdowns but his most appealing attribute is supposed to be his arm. He’ll have to show a lot more improvement as the season goes on for a team to risk a first-round pick on him.
What Would It Take for Raiders to on From Derek Carr?
For a team like the Raiders, taking on a project like Richardson could be interesting. They have a solid veteran quarterback in Derek Carr who could continue to lead the team for the next two or three seasons while Richardson learns. However, there’s no reason to believe that the team has soured on Carr yet.
The Raiders have gotten off to a rough start but that’s hardly on Carr outside of the Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers when he threw three interceptions. The team gave him a contract extension this offseason hoping he’d be the quarterback of the future. That should still be the plan barring a massive collapse. If the Raiders finish the season with a top-10 draft pick, then they could finally consider bringing in a young quarterback to eventually take over.