Quarterback options for the Las Vegas Raiders are becoming more and more limited. Daniel Jones signed a long-term contract with the New York Giants, Lamar Jackson got hit with the non-exclusive franchise tag by the Baltimore Ravens, Tom Brady doubled down on his retirement and Aaron Rodgers is meeting with the New York Jets about a possible trade. The best veteran option that will still be available to the Raiders in free agency is Jimmy Garoppolo but he’ll have other suitors.
The problem with Garoppolo is that he’ll likely demand a contract in excess of $30 million a year. That’s a lot of money to pay a limited quarterback with an extensive injury history. With how the quarterback market is shaping up, Las Vegas could strongly consider drafting a rookie in the first round. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is the most logical fit with the Raiders due to his accuracy and poise in the pocket. However, the team will almost certainly have to trade up to get him. In a recent mock draft by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, he projects the Raiders to trade with the Arizona Cardinals to get to the No. 3 spot. With that pick, they would select Stroud.
“The Raiders can either sit tight and hope they get their guy at No. 7 … or look to aggressively move up and target the quarterback they want,” Zierlein wrote. “In this exercise, Josh McDaniels and Co. jump into Arizona’s draft slot to snag Stroud, who put on the best pure throwing display in Indy.”
Stroud or Anthony Richardson?
Stroud put on a show at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. He showed off good arm strength and elite accuracy. While Stroud was great in passing drills, Florida’s Anthony Richardson stole the show when it came to athleticism. Richardson needs a lot of work but he has the highest upside of any player in the draft.
Despite that, Nick Shook of NFL.com was blown away by Stroud and believes he’d be a much smarter selection for a team to make.
“The Ohio State QB produced dime after dime, no matter the distance or difficulty of the throw,” Shook wrote. “Stroud touted his accuracy as one of his greatest strengths during Friday’s media availability and backed it up with a fantastic performance, showing NFL teams exactly why they should seriously consider drafting him in April. Richardson has the higher ceiling, but Stroud is the surer choice as we depart Indianapolis.”
Can Raiders Win With Stroud?
Some fans may prefer to see the Raiders go after a veteran quarterback as it would show that the team is committed to winning. However, deciding to go with a rookie doesn’t mean the team can’t win. Stroud played in a pro-style offense at Ohio State and is much more polished than Richardson or Kentucky’s Will Levis. He likely wouldn’t need to sit for a season to get ready.
The Raiders would certainly add a veteran or two to push Stroud but he’d have a very good shot at being the Week 1 starter. Now, the NFL Draft spits out many quarterbacks who don’t have success. Stroud looks like he’ll be a very good quarterback but there’s no guarantee that will be the case. There’s a level of risk with starting a rookie but the Raiders aren’t ready to contend for a Super Bowl next season anyway.