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Would the Raiders drafting Justin Herbert be a mistake?

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A Bleacher Report writer seems to think so, but I’m not sure the argument quite holds up

NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

This week, Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report named the six “worst” pairings of 2020 NFL Draft prospects at QB and respective teams. I figured that the Las Vegas Raiders may show up at some point and sure enough they did, as it was noted that perhaps Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert would be a poor choice for the franchise and a poor situation for the soon-to-be-rookie.

Clearly, the Raiders have the firepower with a pair of first-round selections to trade up for a quarterback if they fall in love with him.

But it would be a mistake if they did. Whoever takes over will be constantly and unfairly compared to Carr. Any regression with the offense will fall directly on the rookie’s shoulders.

My first point would be that it does not seem probable that the Raiders would have to trade two first round picks for Herbert. At this point, Joe Burrow is viewed as QB1 and Tua Tagovailoa is viewed as QB2, with Jordan Love in competition with Herbert as QB3. If Tua’s injury history makes him QB3 or QB4, then so be it, but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen Herbert bandied about as “generally viewed as a top-six prospect.”

It doesn’t mean that the Miami Dolphins wouldn’t take him in the top five, but I’m not sure that’s close to a consensus. And I’ve also never seen a team trade two mid-first round picks in the same year for a top-five pick. We’ve seen teams trade multiple picks spread out over multiple years, but I can’t recall any recent trades similar to 12 and 19 for five, for instance.

Regardless, I’m not sure that Las Vegas would have to trade up. Would he be a fit in any case? I think it’s too soon to say that he would or would not be a fit. Any criticisms about his game play or prospects such as this one:

Herbert, in particular, struggles to consistently work off his initial read. He’s far more comfortable making simple quick throws. The reigning William V. Campbell Trophy winner can work through a full-field progression, but he’s not nearly as effective when asked to do so. Instead, he tends to lock onto his intended targets.

Are basically the same as you could do with any QB. It would be easy to list a fault of Burrows, for example, just the same. Any rookie is going to have to overcome the challenge of translating his potential and his college production to the next level. Any of them. If Jon Gruden has to “scale back the offense” for Herbert, he’d have to do the same for Tua.

I also don’t see any real issue here: “Whoever takes over will be constantly and unfairly compared to Carr.”

If the Raiders do draft a quarterback in the first round, I believe that spells the end of Carr’s time with the team. They signed Marcus Mariota to be a backup and they wouldn’t draft a quarterback in the first round to put him on the third team offense. I think Mariota would be named as the starter and the rookie would be told that he’d sit for next season and “develop” just as Gruden would intend with any young quarterback. In literally any situation with any team, you’re going to be compared to the last guy. I don’t know how Carr and the Raiders are meant to be any different than Justin Herbert going to some other team that drafts a quarterback, like the New Orleans Saints or New England Patriots.

Should the Patriots avoid drafting a quarterback for fear of him being compared to Tom Brady and failing to meet those expectations?

I don’t have a ton of opinion on Herbert at this point but I have nothing much against him either. I know that the Raiders have met with him online and seem to have some interest, which is interesting. If he’s a bad fit, it may be that he’s a bad fit anywhere. If he’s a good fit, that’s how teams become Super Bowl contenderes.

And that would be true of any quarterback. I just don’t see the same issues with the match here as B/R did.