Raiders ‘Must Consider’ Tanking for Generational Talent, Says Analyst

mark davis josh mcdaniels

Getty Mark Davis & Josh McDaniels of the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Las Vegas Raiders are unfortunate to share a division with a 27-year-old Patrick Mahomes and a 25-year-old Justin Herbert. They should be two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for at least the next decade. On May 23, Pro Football Focus listed Mahomes as the No. 1 quarterback in the league and Herbert as No. 4.

In the same list, Raiders starter Jimmy Garoppolo was listed all the way down at No. 24. Unless the team can find a dynamic talent of their own, they will be operating at a quarterback deficiency in the AFC West for a long time. However, there could be an option for Las Vegas to take that would help close the gap. USC’s Caleb Williams is coming off of a Heisman Trophy-winning season and is widely expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

In a July 8 column about which NFL teams “must consider” tanking for Williams, Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report listed the Raiders.

“Garoppolo is a solid starter, who executes within the offensive structure,” Sobleski wrote. “Concern stems from what he provides beyond that point, especially in a division that features Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and even Russell Wilson. The Raiders aren’t going to grain ground in the division—let alone a loaded conference—when they’re constantly operating at a deficiency.

“The Raiders should be looking at an extreme approach. Start Brian Hoyer or rookie Aidan O’Connell for a season and see what happens. The move could be the best thing for long-term sustainability by grabbing an extremely valuable draft pick.”

Caleb Williams Viewed as ‘Generational’ Talent

Caleb Williams is only 21 years old and still has an entire college football season to play before he can be drafted. A lot can happen between now and the 2024 NFL Draft. For now, teams are incredibly high on the young quarterback. Back in a November 2022 interview on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton had some very high praise for Williams.

“It’s healthy when we in scouting like to say, well who does he remind you of,” Payton said. “We’re not putting that pressure on Caleb saying, ‘Oh, you’re going to be the next Mahomes.’ But it’s very good when you can say, ‘He’s like this.’ And so I brought it up yesterday on the show, I think he’s a generational player. Now I’ve seen three or four games, obviously not as much as I would if I was truly doing the evaluation.”

Is Caleb Williams Worth Tanking For?

Tanking isn’t an easy thing to do in the NFL. In August of 2022, the league suspended Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and stripped the team of draft picks following a probe into allegations of tampering and tanking, per CNN. It becomes even more difficult for a team to tank when they have players like Davante Adams and Maxx Crosby like the Raiders do.

Caleb Williams could be an incredible NFL player, but there are many variables at play. He could have a disappointing junior year at USC or could even deal with injuries. Now, if he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat from last season and the Raiders have a rough start to the year, then it might be time to start thinking about tanking, but the team can’t go into the 2023 season with that mindset.

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