The Las Vegas Raiders have a starting quarterback for 2023 in Jimmy Garoppolo but he might not be in their long-term plans. The team was interested in trading up to the No. 1 pick to draft a quarterback and has done a lot of work on the current class. They also recently met with Alabama’s Bryce Young, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
The Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans sit atop the draft and will almost certainly select quarterbacks. That means the best the Raiders can do is get the third quarterback in the draft. The Indianapolis Colts are another team that has a strong chance to draft a quarterback and they pick ahead of Las Vegas. Unless the Raiders can trade with the Arizona Cardinals at No. 3, the thought is that they’d have to settle for the fourth quarterback in the draft at best.
While it has been widely thought the Colts would draft a quarterback at No. 4, that might not actually be the case. Gregg Doyel of the IndyStar is of the belief that Indianapolis is going to trade back and target Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker later in the draft.
Why This Is Good News for Raiders
As noted earlier, the Panthers and Texans are likely leaving the first round of the draft with quarterbacks. The Colts would be the next likely team to draft a quarterback but if they’d rather wait for Hooker, then that’s one less team in front of the Raiders taking one of the top four guys. The Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions are both teams that could consider a quarterback but they both have solid veterans for now. They are also both playoff contenders next season and getting a player who can make an impact next season makes much more sense for them.
If none of those teams want a quarterback, the Raiders would be able to stay put and get at least the third quarterback off the board. That would likely be Anthony Richardson or Will Levis. The Raiders don’t appear very interested in Levis as they didn’t even attend his Kentucky Pro Day. Vic Tafur of The Athletic has previously reported that general manager Dave Ziegler is “intrigued” by Richardson. If the Colts don’t take a quarterback at No. 4, there’s a good chance Richardson would be available to the Raiders at No. 7. Regardless of who they like, it’s good news for Las Vegas if Indianapolis holds off on taking a quarterback.
Raiders Could Also Be in on Hooker
Now, this could all be a moot point if the Raiders are also invested in Hooker. He has been impressive this offseason and should be fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered during the college football season by training camp. Due to the simplicity of Tennesee’s offense, Hooker likely needs a year to sit behind a veteran starter before he’s ready to take over a team.
The Raiders have Jimmy Garoppolo and he’ll be the starter in Week 1 regardless of who the team drafts. Adding Hooker would lead to less controversy about Garoppolo losing his starting job than if the Raiders took a quarterback in the top 10. Plus, it would allow Las Vegas to use their high pick to add an impact defensive player.