2014 NFL Draft: Oakland Raiders’ Top QB Target for Each Round
Because We All Know the Raiders Need a New QB...
You can keep telling yourself the Oakland Raiders don’t need a quarterback this offseason, but you’d be wrong in doing so. Matt McGloin has overachieving backup written all over him, and the Terrelle Pryor experiment was fun while it lasted. It’s time for a step in a different direction, though.
The best opportunity for them to do so is during the 2014 NFL Draft. Although this year’s class doesn’t offer any “franchise” quarterbacks, there are several high-level passers strewn throughout the rankings who could eventually develop into quality starters. Just about every round offers intrigue in terms of passing potential.
The logical option would be for the Raiders to take a passer in the first round, but there might not be a worthy one available when they’re on the clock at No. 5. Seeing as three of the first four picks are owned by quarterback-needy teams, Oakland might have to settle for waiting until a later round to bring aboard their quarterback of the future.
As I mentioned earlier, though, there are several gunslingers with starter potential who should be available on Day 2 or Day 3 during the draft. Just because they haven’t gotten the most attention during the pre-draft process doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of carrying an offense to consistent wins. Just remember that there are players like Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, both of who had to wait well past the first round before hearing their names called.
With that in mind, here’s a look at one quarterback the Raiders could target in each round of the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft.
Note: There is no sixth-round option since, you know, the Raiders don’t currently have a sixth-round pick.
Round 1: Blake Bortles, UCF
Seeing as Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel will likely already be off the board by the time the Raiders pick at No. 5, Bortles might be the next-best option. Then again, he might not be available either – in this hypothetical situation he is, though. Bortles is a big, athletic quarterback who moves well in the pocket and has the arm strength to make all of the NFL throws. His improvisational skills, leadership and ability to deliver in the clutch make him an ideal first-round option for the Raiders.
Round 2: Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
If the Raiders don’t like their options or opt to go a different direction in the first round, they could wait until early in Day 2 and grab a quarterback like Garoppolo. The small-school stud has slowly been climbing draft boards since the end of the season with the help of impressive performances in the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. He’s an accurate passer with decent athleticism and the instincts to be a great NFL gunslinger. Can the Raiders help him adjust to the speed of the NFL and develop his budding talents?
Round 3: A.J. McCarron, Alabama
College football’s favorite “game manager,” McCarron still has a lot to prove before teams are ready to entrust him with the reins to an NFL offense. He’s a proven winner with solid mechanics, athleticism and arm talent, but seems to disappear at times and is coming off a poor bowl game showing. His arrogance since the end of the season hasn’t helped his cause, either. The talent is there, but McCarron needs to drop the cockiness and figure out that he’s not the franchise quarterback he thinks he is – at least not yet.
Round 4: Tajh Boyd, Clemson
Once considered a first-round talent, Boyd saw his stock drop significantly during an up-and-down senior season. That, however, doesn’t mean that the physical ability and arm talent aren’t still present in the Clemson product. Boyd has a great feel for the position, shows good movement outside of the pocket, and has the arm strength to make all of the NFL throws. Unfortunately, poor mechanics and decision making have him ranging from a third- to sixth-round projection. Can the Raiders break his poor habits and get a steal in the fourth round?
Round 5: Jeff Mathews, Cornell
The other small-school quarterback garnering serious attention this year, Mathews looks the part of an NFL passer. With prototypical size, a big arm and enough athleticism to get the job done, there’s not a lot to dislike at first glance. Unfortunately, spending his career playing against Ivy League competition has his processing a little slow, even for a Cornell grad. It might take some time for him to fully develop, but he’s the type of low-risk, high-reward option the Raiders could consider on Day 3.
Round 7: Adam Kennedy, Arkansas State
One of my favorite sleeper quarterbacks of the 2014 class, Kennedy possesses all of the physical traits you look for in an NFL passer: prototypical size, great arm strength and enough athleticism to escape pressure when need be. Kennedy has flown under the radar after transferring to Arkansas State from Utah State, but has the potential to develop into an outstanding NFL arm. He can be overconfident at times, but has the accuracy and instincts to make up for it. If the Raiders are looking for a deep sleeper, Kennedy is a smart target.
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