Even with Jimmy Garoppolo in place Raiders still focused on drafting quarterback
Some people saw the addition of Jimmy Garoppolo by the Raiders this offseason as the answer to what the team was going to do at the quarterback position. Simply replace Derek Carr with Garoppolo and throw maybe a couple journeymen to compete for the backup spot and call it a day, right? Not so much.
Jimmy G is only part of a larger plan. In the immediate and certainly the long term parts of this plan, it still very much revolves around the draft.
“We’re doing a deep dive obviously in the draft,” said Raiders head coach Monday morning at the owners meetings in Arizona. “I would love to have a quarterback room that’s got guys that are young, developing, under contract that you can continue to work with every year. As opposed to try to do the veteran route every season if you can. So, we’ll see how it goes and how this next month and a half shakes out, but I’m confident Jimmy will be ready to roll and we need to do a good job of finding our backup plan.”
It’s interesting McDaniels uses the term “backup plan” because in some ways that’s what Jimmy G is. He was signed to ensure the Raiders have a viable starter regardless of what happens in the draft.
“Obviously it makes you feel better if you come out of there without somebody specific,” McDaniels said of the quarterback position in the draft. “But I think in terms of our roster, what we’ve tried to do is put ourselves in position where we can actually draft the best player that we feel like is available at the time. And we’re open to anything. That’s nothing new, but if that happens to be a quarterback, then it’s a quarterback. If it happened to be a defensive lineman, it’s a defensive lineman, if that happened to be a tight end, then it’s a tight end, you know what I mean?”
McDaniels is hinting at the mythical “Best Player Available” approach. It’s mythical because it simply does not exist. However, the closer a team can get to the BPA at a position of need the better off they will be.
But that may simply mean the Raiders pass on a QB at seventh overall if a guy they like isn’t there. That still leaves several options for getting a quarterback high in the draft including trading down in the first, trading back up into the bottom of the first, or taking one with their pick at the top of the second.
Either way, make no mistake, quarterback is still a high priority in this draft. McDaniels himself noted that several times he has coached teams that were developing a rookie as the primary backup. Including Jimmy G and Jarrett Stidham who started the final two games last season for the Raiders.
“I think the goal though is to try to eventually draft a player at that position you can move forward with and develop,” McDaniels continued. “We’ve done that, I’ve done that, I’ve been a part of that, I enjoy doing that, I think it’s a good philosophy to have organizationally, so you’re not always chasing a new backup quarterback every year and trying to identify who the best fit is. We’ll see if we can figure that out over the next month or so.”
The consensus suggests the quarterbacks who may be worthy of a selection at seventh overall are Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, Alabama’s Bryce Young, Florida’s Anthony Richardson, and Kentucky’s Will Levis. With Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker being a possibility later in the first or second round.