The NFL draft is finally within our sights which means its time again for my annual Raider Draft Radar series. This series goes position by position to find the players who have the qualities the Raiders are looking for at the position as well as the team could have squarely on their draft radar.
As in most cases, we start with the quarterback position. The Raiders are looking to add a quarterback in the draft. The question will be if that player will be still on the board when they select in the round they would feel they are worthy. These are the quarterbacks I see the Raiders having the most interest as well as the round in which they would pull the trigger.
Blake Bortles, Central Florida - Round 1
I'd be surprised if Bortles makes it past three QB needy teams ahead of the Raiders to be available at the five spot. But anything's possible. Bortles has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this draft and has done nothing but raise his stock since last season ended with a strong combine and pro day. While he is far from a polished product, he may not have to be. The Raiders brought in Matt Schaub to be the starter this season to allow any quarterback they drafted time to develop. Reggie McKenzie would like to follow a similar model to the one he had in Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers had several seasons to learn behind Brett Favre so he could make a seamless transition. Bortles would be the ideal pick for that plan.
Derek Carr, Frenso State - Round 2
The Raiders have been said to really like Carr. They met with him at the combine and attended his pro day en masse. His pedigree is established. His brother David was the top overall pick in the NFL draft 12 years ago and though David wasn't all he was cracked up to be, Derek is not his brother. He learned much from watching his brother's struggles as an NFL quarterback. He focused on his pocket presence, footwork, and getting the ball released quickly when under pressure which was a big reason why he threw for over 5000 yards and had 50 touchdown passes last season. He possesses elite arm strength and accuracy and a shining character to boot. Most draft predictions don't have him falling out of the first round and some have him going in the upper half of the first. He would be a good option if the Raiders were to trade down in the first round or if he were still on the board when the 36 pick comes around.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois - Round 3
There was a lot of buzz surrounding Garoppolo as the Walter Payton award winner but not many people really took him seriously in NFL circles. Then came the East West Shrine game where he exploded onto the scene, leading two touchdown drives. Since then his star has been rising. His stellar Shrine game earned him an invitation to the Senior Bowl where he also impressed a great deal of scouts. He, like Carr, threw for over 5000 yards with 53 touchdowns. Though, he doesn't have the arm strength of Carr, but he is incredibly smart in making pre-snap reads and picking apart a defense and move a team down the field. He has an extremely quick release and ability to deliver the ball on the move without sacrificing his mechanics. Some see him as a round two prospect, which he just might be. Then again, there are a lot of QB's who were once seen as top tier who are losing their luster (Teddy Bridgewater) and others who are rumored to be gaining some favorability (Tom Savage, Zach Mettenberger) which could push Garoppolo into the third. If he is there at that point, he would be very hard to pass up should the Raiders have yet to grab a QB at that point.