With the playoffs most likely out of reach for the Las Vegas Raiders this season, their draft position will take center stage for many fans. As of right now, the team holds the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. That would be a premium pick for a team that has a lot of needs.
It remains to be seen if the Raiders will move up or down in the draft order but if they’re not making the playoffs, getting a higher pick is ideal. If the team finishes with a top-five pick, the future at quarterback will be discussed. Derek Carr was handed a contract extension in the offseason but the team could cut him after the season and have a tiny salary cap hit.
However, if the Raiders hope to get a top quarterback, they may need to move up once the season is over. Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic pitched a trade with the Houston Texans, which holds the No. 1 pick. In the deal, the Texans trade the No. 1 pick to the Raiders for No. 4, No. 41 and No. 109, and a 2024 second:
I hated this for Vegas before I even finished it. I’m not totally convinced the Raiders need to go all-in on a quarterback for 2023 with what should be a pretty valuable first-round pick. However, Josh McDaniels didn’t draft Derek Carr, and Carr is hardly an untouchable talent.
The Raiders have a lot of draft capital to work with right now: 10 total picks, including three currently slotted in the top 75. It would make a lot more sense for Vegas to stand where it’s at, use this draft to rebuild the offensive and defensive fronts and worry about QB later. But I’m not Mark Davis.
If this trade happened, the Raiders would use the No. 1 pick on Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and their remaining third-round pick on Maryland offensive lineman Jaelyn Duncan.
Is Young the Best QB Prospect?
Ahead of pre-draft workouts, Young is the favorite to be the No. 1 pick. The Heisman Trophy winner hasn’t missed a beat this season and has proven that year wasn’t a fluke. The only knock on Young is his size. He’s 6-foot-0 and 194 pounds. That is incredibly small for an NFL player who is going to be hit a lot.
Outside of that, he’s got everything you’d want from a quarterback. He’s got elite leadership traits, a good enough arm to make all the throws and pinpoint accuracy. He’s also very athletic and can make plays with his feet. Some teams might like C.J. Stroud or Will Levis more, but Young is the safest prospect of the bunch.
Would Young Be the Right QB for Raiders?
If Young was 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, there’d be no question he’s the No. 1 pick in the draft. However, size is a big factor that could scare off some NFL teams. Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels has typically used bigger quarterbacks. Every starting quarterback he had with the New England Patriots was either 6-foot-3 or taller. Derek Carr is a bigger quarterback at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds.
McDaniels might not be into the idea of drafting a smaller quarterback like Young. Levis and Stroud are much bigger and could be what the Raiders target if they decide to make a change. That said, Young does so many things well that the team might not be able to pass him up if they end up with the No. 1 pick.