Wild Prediction Has Raiders Trade up 5 Spots & Pass on C.J. Stroud

CJ Stroud

Getty Former Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud.

At this point in the draft season, the Las Vegas Raiders have been linked to many players with their first-round pick, including several quarterbacks. Mock drafts have had the team taking either Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis or Florida’s Anthony Richardson. As the draft has gotten closer, it has seemed more likely that the team will use their first-round pick to address the defense but it’s still difficult to know what the plan is.

However, many mocks draft still have the Raiders selecting a quarterback. Stroud and Young are widely considered the top prospects in the draft and are expected to be the first two players selected. Levis has seen his stock fall as a number of teams think that Tennesee’s Hendon Hooker is actually the better prospect. Not everybody is buying that rumor.

In fact, some may have Levis even higher than Stroud. The Ringer’s Benjamin Solak put out a mock draft that had the Raiders trading with the Houston Texans for the No. 2 pick. In this scenario, the Carolina Panthers take Young with the first pick, which would leave Stroud available to the Raiders. Instead of taking the Ohio State star, Solak predicts Las Vegas to take Levis with the second pick.

Raiders Are Only Interested in Young or Stroud: Insider

The idea of any team taking Levis over Stroud is really uncommon. The Kentucky quarterback has major red flags. He’s got accuracy issues and doesn’t have a good feel for the pockets. He’s big, strong and has a cannon for an arm but it takes a lot more than that to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. Stroud may not be as athletically gifted as Levis, but he’s got pinpoint accuracy and is great in the pocket. Those are things that Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels values highly.

According to ESPN’s Todd McShay aren’t interested in Levis. There are only two quarterbacks that they would consider drafting this year in the first round.

“I think it’s much more likely if Houston’s going to make a deal to move out of 2, it’s going to be with Las Vegas,” McShay said on NFL draft “SportsCenter Special,” via Bleacher Report. “And I’m told that Las Vegas is only interested if the quarterback is named Young or Stroud.”

Would Raiders Trade up to 2 for Stroud?

Levis could make sense on the Raiders if they select him at No. 7. However, trading up to No. 2 for him doesn’t make much sense at all. In fact, trading up for Stroud also wouldn’t make sense. He’s not the type of quarterback who will need to sit down for a year. The Raiders have Jimmy Garoppolo and his contract would suggest that he’s going to be the starter for at least two seasons.

It makes sense to add a developmental quarterback like Levis or Richardson to sit behind him. Now, if Stroud were to somehow fall to No. 7, then they should absolutely take him but it’s hard to imagine there’s a scenario where that will happen. Trading up to No. 2 from seven would be costly. The Raiders have too many other needs to swing that kind of trade. If they’re going to sell out for a quarterback, it might be better to wait until next year’s class, which should be a more appealing class.

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