Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden closely studied quarterbacks prior to the four drafts he was in charge of in his second stint with the franchise. Yet, Gruden didn’t draft at the position from 2018-21. The Raiders haven’t taken a quarterback in the draft since they selected Michigan State’s Connor Cook in the fourth round (in a trade up) of the 2016 draft. He was taken to be a premium backup who could be flipped in a trade to a team that wanted him to start, but Cook never developed.
With starting Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr turning 31 next month and potentially being a free agent next year, and with backup Marcus Mariota a free agent this year, it may be time for the Raiders to use a pick in the draft at some point. That may be especially true looking at the quarterback drafting history of new Las Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels was the key decision maker as head coach in Denver in 2009-10. In 2009, he took Fresno State’s Tom Brandstater in the sixth round. In 2010, he shocked the NFL by taking Florida Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow in the first round. Brandstater never developed and we all know Tebow’s story.
In New England, McDaniels didn’t make the calls in the draft, but as offensive coordinator he had influence on the quarterbacks they took. And, of course, new Las Vegas general manager Dave Ziegler was part of the draft process as well.
Here are the five most recent quarterback picked by New England: Jimmy Garoppolo (2014, second round), Jacoby Brissett (2016, third), Danny Etling (2018, seventh), Jarrett Stidham (2019, fourth) and Mac Jones (2021, first). Garoppolo and Brissett were traded, Etling and Stidham are deep backups and Jones is the starter in New England.
The Patriots’ way is to swing at the position, no matter the round — and you can’t blame the approach. After all, the Patriot Way was spawned because they took a sixth-round flier on Tom Brady 22 years ago. So, the discover-draft-develop approach is tried-and-true for the Patriots.
Don’t be surprised if the Raiders end a six-year draft drought at the position and take a quarterback in the mid-to-late rounds in April.