The Las Vegas Raiders are set at starting quarterback for 2023 with the signing of Jimmy Garoppolo but it’s notable that the team has yet to add an established backup. Garoppolo has an extensive list of prior injuries and the team simply can’t rely on him to play all 17 games next season. Finding a capable backup should be high on the list of priorities.
The fact that the Raiders have yet to sign a backup could indicate their intentions to draft a rookie in the upcoming draft. They currently hold the No. 7 pick, which could put them in a position to add one of the top four quarterback prospects. That said, they may have to trade up to get the player they really want.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Raiders held a meeting with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young ahead of his pro day.
It’s looking more and more like the Carolina Panthers will either target C.J. Stroud or Anthony Richardson with the No. 1 pick. The Houston Texans also need a quarterback at No. 2 and there’s a good chance that Young is their pick. It’s hard to see a scenario where the Heisman Trophy winner will be available to Las Vegas.
Why This News Is Eyebrow-Raising
It’s hard to envision a scenario where the Raiders could draft Young without trading up. He was widely considered to be the top quarterback prospect in the draft heading into the offseason. The only thing that might push him down draft boards is the fact that he’s only 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds. He would instantly be one of the smallest quarterbacks in the NFL once he’s drafted.
Perhaps the Raiders have some intel that the Texans aren’t eyeing Young at No. 2. Why else would they spend time meeting with him? Texans general manager Nick Caserio was college football teammates with Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels at John Carroll University. While Caserio won’t tip his hand if it hurts his team, he could also give his old teammates some insight if he doesn’t believe it affects him. The Raiders could just be doing their due diligence on all the quarterbacks regardless of if they believe he’ll be available to them. Former head coach Jon Gruden would meet with many of the top quarterbacks in the draft but never drafted one.
Could Raiders Trade up if Young Starts to Slide?
If Young was bigger and taller, he’d almost certainly be the No. 1 pick in the draft. He’s very accurate and has great leadership ability. He also can make plays with his feet and his arm is good enough to make all the throws. However, the Panthers and Texans could prefer to avoid taking a risk on Young’s size and draft the much bigger Stroud, Richardson or Will Levis.
That would open up the opportunity for the Raiders to move up. The Arizona Cardinals are sitting at No. 3 and would be wise to explore trading down. If Young is available, the Raiders may be able to make an appealing offer. The jump from No. 7 to No. 3 isn’t too large so it shouldn’t cost too much. If the Raiders can get a fair offer, they should be highly interested in moving up. The only problem is that Young is likely ready to play now so having him sit behind Garoppolo could present issues.