The Las Vegas Raiders gave Jimmy Garoppolo a three-year contract this offseason for him to be the starting quarterback but it’s becoming clear the team doesn’t view him as a long-term option. Las Vegas has been taking a close look at all of the top quarterbacks in the 2023 draft class. While that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to draft one, they are certainly considering it.
Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Alabama’s Bryce Young seem to be out of the running for the Raiders as they will likely be the top-two players taken in the draft by the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans. The next two quarterbacks expected to be selected in the first round are Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson. So far, it appears the Raiders are quite high on the latter. Richardson had his Pro Day on March 30 where Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler was in attendance. In fact, he was the first non-player to greet the quarterback once he was done working out.
Ziegler could just be doing his due diligence but it is notable that he would go out of his way to be the first to speak with Richardson.
Raiders Had Good Meeting With Richardson
Though Ziegler had a chance to meet with Richardson during his Pro Day, it certainly wasn’t the first time the two have met. They met during the NFL Scouting Combine and also had dinner on March 29, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Ziegler has been intrigued by Richardson for months and now he’s getting an up-close look. According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the meeting between the two sides “went well” and the Raiders were “impressed” with the young quarterback.
It seems clear that the Raiders like Richardson and will strongly consider drafting him. He has the highest upside of any quarterback in the draft.
Why the Raiders Make Sense for Richardson
There’s a lot of risk with using a top-10 pick to draft Richardson. He completed just 54.7% of his passes in college. Accuracy is a major concern but other than that, he checks every box a team could want. He’s huge at 6-foot-4 and 244 pounds. However, that size doesn’t hurt his speed. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine, which was faster than any other quarterback. Richardson also has a cannon for an arm that he put on display at his Pro Day.
The 20-year-old quarterback appears to have a good work ethic and the drive to be successful. If a coach can just get him to become a more accurate passer, he could be among the best players in the NFL within the next decade. Drafting Richardson is a risk that a lot of teams can’t make but the Raiders are in a good position to roll the dice.
Garoppolo is under contract for at least two seasons. That would give Las Vegas two years to develop Richardson before he has to take over as a full-time starter. Head coach Josh McDaniels has a good track record of developing young quarterbacks. Giving him two years to develop a quarterback with the athletic tools of Richardson could be exactly what the former Florida star needs. Putting him on the Indianapolis Colts where he’d have to play much quicker could be a recipe for disaster. The Raiders may be the best landing spot for Richardson.