We’ve got the Super Bowl on deck this weekend which means we're creeping closer to the official start of the offseason. Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Raiders have been busy making moves, gearing up for free agency and the NFL Draft so let’s dive into a few offseason questions for this week’s mailbag.
Question: Do you think Drake Maye might be a sleeper for the Raiders? Nobody is talking about him being on the Raiders’ radar.
Answer: Drake Maye isn’t being talked about as someone who’s on the Raiders’ radar because he’s probably not making it past the first three picks, so they would have to trade up to get him. Diving into that further, the Bears are the most likely team to trade out of the Top 3 and Caleb Williams is the consensus best quarterback in the class right now.
So, if the Raiders are going to trade up, most people would assume it's for Williams and not Maye.
I like Maye a lot and would be really happy if the Raiders ended up with him, but there’s only one scenario where I think that could happen. If Marvin Harrison Jr. goes in the top three — an argument could be made that Chicago or New England targets MHJ — then Arizona would be more likely to trade No. 4 overall. That would be an easier trade, than No. 1 overall, for Las Vegas to make and could mean Maye is their guy.
Also, the Chargers, Giants and Titans don’t need a quarterback, meaning picks five, six and seven could be available. Basically, if Maye does slide out of the Top 3, the Raiders would just have to get ahead of the Falcons to get him, barring another team trading up.
How likely is that scenario? I’d lean towards not very. But hey, it’s the draft and part of the fun of it is we spend several months trying to figure out what’s going to happen only to be surprised on draft day!
A: Similar question here.
According to the famous trade value chart, the difference between the first (3,000 points) and second (2,600) overall picks is only 400 points, so it’d still take quite the hall for the Raiders to move up from No. 13. They’d still be looking at giving up next year’s first-rounder, this year’s second and then maybe a mid-rounder or two.
Throwing a player in the mix could keep the Raiders from giving up so many draft picks, but the overall point here is it would still take a large investment by the front office to move up.
I think Telesco would prefer Maye because Maye’s skillset is similar to Justin Herbert’s. However, the tricky part is I also think Antonio Pierce would prefer Jayden Daniels given their history together. So, it’d be an interesting situation where Telesco would have to decide between going with his roots or pivoting and catering to his coach’s preference.
Q: Care to take a stab at the “five real Raiders” AP mentioned?
A: For context, Pierce wrote an article on The Players’ Tribune to Raider Nation and said that there’s only a handful of guys in the draft who are “really Raiders”, meaning toughness, physicality and whatnot. Obviously, there’s a lot of hyperbole in that statement, but below are five guys who I think fit what Pierce is talking about.
- Taliese Fuaga, RT, Oregon State
- Byron Murphy, DT, Texas
- Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
- Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri
- Cooper Beebe, iOL, Kansas State
Q: What about drafting Jordan Travis?
A: I wasn’t a huge fan of Travis’ game before his nasty injury, so I’m especially out on him now. He’s undersized, lacks arm strength and will be an older rookie. Mobility and creating off-script plays were a couple of his best attributes, but we don’t know how much the broken leg will impact that.
So, I’d stay away and look to draft someone else. Now if Travis slips through the cracks and goes undrafted, then sure, why not take a flier on him?
Q: I know it’s early, but if the Raiders don’t get a QB this draft for some reason, how’s the 2025 class look?
A: There are a handful of decent/intriguing options like Georgia’s Carson Beck, Texas’ Quinn Ewers, Cameron Ward who transferred to Miami from Washington State, and Shedeur Sanders out of Colorado serving as the headliners. But yes, it’s way too early for this, lol.
Q: If the Raiders release Jacobs, which I think they should, how about going for Henry from the Titans?
A: I don’t think either party would be interested in the other. Derrick Henry just turned 30 last month and will likely be looking to play for a team like the Ravens or Cowboys that could use a running back and are more likely to be a playoff contender. Meanwhile, if the Raiders aren’t going to pay a 26-year-old running back, I don't see them opening up the checkbook for someone who is four years older.
Las Vegas is going to add a back and probably multiple this offseason, but I think it will be via the draft or a cheaper veteran in free agency. I think they move away from having a “bell cow” and go with more of a committee approach moving forward.
A: B, Tom Telesco.
Mark Davis hired Telesco since he has a good track record of hitting on early draft picks and has experience running a draft whereas Pierce doesn’t. In my opinion, the latter is what got Telesco the job over Ed Dodds and Champ Kelly.
Jon Gruden is a wild card to look out for, though!
A: I think you’re right that the Saints have the most former Raiders between Derek Carr, Foster Moreau and Johnathan Abram. Someone else can look into that to verify though.
For the ex-Patriots that I could see the Raiders keeping; Jakobi Meyers, Jermaine Eluemunor (if no other RT options become available) and Adam Butler. That would mean Jimmy Garoppolo, Brian Hoyer, Brandon Bolden and Jakob Johnson are gone.
Of the guys that Josh McDaniels chased away, I don’t see many or any of them returning this offseason. A lot of those guys signed multi-year deals last spring or the Raiders replaced them with a younger player. Denzel Perryman is the only one who is an impending free agent that came to mind, but Perryman would be a questionable fit with how Robert Spillane played last season.
A: I think the plan is to draft a quarterback, but when and who are the big mysteries at this point. I wouldn’t rule out trading up given AP’s history with Daniels and the fact Luke Getsy has experience working with a quarterback who can be involved in the running game.
Also, we know Pierce originally wanted to hire Kliff Kingsbury as offensive coordinator, so it seems like he wants a mobile QB because that’s one common trait Kingsbury’s and Getsy’s offenses have had in the past.
The one wild card I’ll throw in here is if Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers can’t reach an agreement. I don’t think that will happen they were successful with each other last season. But if it does, Mayfield could be a good fit with Getsy.
A: This kind of ties in with my answer to the last question in that it seems like Pierce is looking for a quarterback who can be involved in the running game. Plus, he’s been vocal about establishing the run since he got the job, which is to be expected from a defensive-minded head coach.
So, I definitely think the Raiders will be running the ball a lot next season and will probably rank toward the top of the league in attempts. Granted, how often they are playing with a lead or from behind will play a big factor in that.
Q: If Maxx Crosby were a Pokemon which Pokemon would he be?
A: Charzard, great wingspan and spits hot fire on the mic. The video below is NSFW.
That’ll do it for this week’s mailbag. Thank you all for submitting questions and, as your weekly reminder, if you’d like to have your questions answered in a future column, tweet them at me, @MHolder95, email them to SBPQuestions1@gmail.com or look for our weekly call for questions on the site. The latter will continue to publish on Thursdays.