With the Las Vegas Raiders set to make a quarterback change this offseason, it’s looking like Tom Brady is the target. He’s got strong connections to the coaching staff and owner Mark Davis wouldn’t mind making a splash signing. After watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-14 playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys, enthusiasm about signing the 45-year-old quarterback could dwindle.
While Brady can still play at a high level, it’s hard to imagine him playing more than two more years in the NFL. If the Raiders want a long-term solution, they need to look to the draft. The team has the No. 7 draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. That will put them in a position to get a top quarterback prospect. Alabama’s Bryce Young figures to be selected within the top two picks so if the Raiders like him, they’ll need to trade up.
Keith Sanchez of The Draft Network wrote in a recent mock draft that he believes Las Vegas will trade with the Chicago Bears for the No. 1 pick and draft the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner:
The split between Derek Carr and the Raiders is now official, and the Raiders must go and find their guy. The Raiders are a team that I would consider to be ready for a rookie QB, having the weapons on the outside and the run game to support him.
I believe the Raiders, in true Raider fashion, make a splash move by moving to the No. 1 pick and selecting Bryce Young. Josh McDaniels is familiar with Alabama QBs from his time spent with Mac Jones, and Alabama OC Bill O’Brien has coached with McDaniels before so there will be trust in Young’s capabilities as a player.
There Are Concerns With Young
Sanchez brings up some key points. Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels had success working with a former Alabama quarterback in Mac Jones. Young is a much better prospect than Jones ever was. In his young career, he’s shown elite accuracy and strong leadership skills. He’s everything a team could want out of a young quarterback from a skillset standpoint.
However, his size is a major concern. Young is only 5-foot-10 and 194 pounds. There are very few quarterbacks of that size who have had sustained success in the NFL. We’ve seen Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson have success at similar heights but they both weigh over 200 pounds. If he can gain some weight before the draft, that will certainly help his chances of being the No. 1 pick. It might not even matter because he plays football so well that he should be one of the better quarterbacks in the league as long as he stays healthy.
Is Young the Right Fit for Raiders?
McDaniels has typically liked working with bigger quarterbacks. Tom Brady is 6-foot-4, Cam Newton is 6-foot-5, Mac Jones is 6-foot-3 and Derek Carr is 6-foot-3. It could just be a coincidence that McDaniels has mostly worked with tall quarterbacks but it could factor into his decision when drafting a quarterback.
Ohio State’s CJ Stroud is 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and looks like an NFL quarterback. Kentucky’s Will Levis is the same height as Stroud and weighs 232 pounds. Those two are more similar to the quarterbacks McDaniels has worked with. That said, the coach would have to love Young’s playmaking and leadership abilities. A player like that can help a coach overlook some size issues. If the Raiders do decide to trade up in the draft, it will be really interesting to see which quarterback they’ll target.