The Las Vegas Raiders appear set to move forward with Derek Carr as their quarterback but a lot can happen between now and the draft. Carr wants a big payday and could garner an annual salary of around $40 million a season. If owner Mark Davis isn’t thrilled about the idea of paying that much money for one player, the team could pivot.
New head coach Josh McDaniels recently had success with a rookie in Mac Jones as the New England Patriots made the playoffs and finished with a 10-7 record. Perhaps he believes he can develop another rookie.
Though the Raiders do like Carr, Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report believes that Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral could be a “surprise” prospect they target in the draft.
Ole Miss’ Matt Corral is interesting because he presents a quick release from multiple arm angles and the movement skills to evade pressure while stressing opposing defenses. His slight frame (6’2″, 205 pounds) remains a concern.
Another possibility exists in keeping Carr for the final year of his contract while investing in his eventual replacement.
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Corral Has Been Compared to Baker Mayfield
This year’s quarterback class isn’t nearly as exciting as last year’s. There’s no sure-fire No. 1 overall pick at the position and nobody has solidified their spot as the No. 1 quarterback prospect. Corral is certainly one of the quarterbacks who could get selected in the first round. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein believes Corral is comparable to a couple of recent top-five draft picks.
“Most of my comparisons start with physical and athletic similarities,” Zierlein wrote. “With Corral, I see a player with similar setup and release quickness to Zach Wilson when he was coming out of BYU last season. Corral’s gregarious on-field demeanor, talent for feathering in the deep ball and ability to command his offense is reminiscent of Baker Mayfield during his Oklahoma career.”
Wilson had major issues as a rookie but did show off some potential. Mayfield is coming off a bad year that was derailed by injuries. Those two probably aren’t the most exciting comparison for Corral but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a good NFL quarterback. He certainly has plenty of physical tools that McDaniels can work with.
Don’t Be Surprised if Raiders Draft QB
While the Raiders will be involved in quarterback rumors until Carr signs an extension, the likely outcome is that they pay him. The team is coming off a playoff berth and it’s fair to deduce that Carr played a role in why McDaniels wanted the job. However, that doesn’t mean the Raiders won’t draft a quarterback.
Perhaps more than any other franchise, the Patriots know the value of having a capable backup quarterback. Even with the durable Tom Brady, the team drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft and then Jacoby Brissett in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Right now, the Raiders don’t have a single quarterback outside of Carr signed for next season. If the team can’t retain Marcus Mariota in free agency or find another top-tier backup, expect them to use a draft pick on a quarterback eventually.