The Raiders enter the 2020 NFL Draft with a number of important needs to fill, and how they can help Silver and Black answer the most important questions facing franchises during the transition to Las Vegas.
Is Derek Carr the quarterback franchise?
Let’s start with the first thing before the wolf is released on Twitter. I mention: Carr will be the starting quarterback of Raiders every time Week 1 starts. General manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden have vocally supported the Carr offseason even when rumors circulated about a team that could potentially chase Tom Brady.
But words are one thing and action is another. The Raiders signed Marcus Mariota for the most profitable contract for the reserve quarterback in the NFL. Mariota is scheduled to make almost as much Teddy Bridgewater as a starter with the Carolina Panthers, with an incentive to make more if he replaces Carr.
Raiders are in an advantageous position in their rebuilding with Carr and Mariota. They have a number of other needs and currently employ two quarterbacks that can, at worst, on average at the NFL level. Having Carr, who showed progress in Year 2 in the Gruden system, allowed the Raiders to build talent in other positions while not being forced to bet on drafting high quarterbacks. They can improve defense, add offensive weapons and then overcome the final quarterback situation after giving Carr the time needed and the tools to sink or swim.
The life jacket will be launched in 2020, and there is likely no doubt.
For his part, Mayock said more than enough about Tuesday’s quarterback room in a conference call with local media.
“That’s how we see it,” Mayock said of the position of the quarterback. “Let’s see who Marcus Mariota is the best, and in the meantime, we like what we have with Derek Carr so we are really happy with our quarterback room.”
Whenever the phrase “in the meantime” is thrown, you might not be the first choice or long-term solution. Like a girlfriend who plans to move out soon and doesn’t see herself marrying her current lover but has no problem continuing to date her “in the meantime” until she moves or something else comes along.
Carr’s statistics are solid in 2019. He throws 4,054 yards, 21 goals and only eight interceptions. But the Raiders are also ranked 11th in total offense, 24 points per match and 22 in the efficiency red zone. There were injuries, a lack of weapons, and Antonio Brown threw the season off before it didn’t help.
The reason was there in 2019.
Make sure Mayock and Gruden plan to eliminate these reasons in the draft.
The Raiders are expected to add to the top recipient talent, possibly finishing 12th overall, with Alabama players Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma all available. With three rounds of choice and a deep class of recipients, if Mayock and Gruden add another recipient and possibly another recipient, you will know 2020 will be the symbol of Carr’s proof year.
Offensive players selected overall No. 12, Darren Waller, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Josh Jacobs, Jason Witten, Nelson Agholor, third round and third round recipients must be all quarterback franchises that need to be operated at a high level. The Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in the country, and their defense, while still improving, should be far better than the units that were often burned last season.
If the Raiders do not follow the expected draft plan and use most of their capital for defense then it seems the Raiders believe they can win with Carr now if the defense is given another boost.
If they arrange a quarterback on Day 2 – which is not possible – then Carr’s time in Las Vegas might be shortened.
[[[[RELATED: Raiders want to ‘rebuild Mariota’, stay happy with Carr]
Gruden and Mayock have seen Carr’s talent. They might have a good understanding of the limitations and the ceiling for their team with him at the helm. Having him under a relatively simple contract has allowed them to refine the list and rebuild Silver and Black while focusing on the other team’s glaring problems.
Now with five choices in the top 91, Raiders must spend the capital to complete the construction of an armory for Carr to regulate Gruden’s violations. If the engine fires on all cylinders with a full deck, then No. 4 is an advanced person.
If the violation arises with the reason removed, then it is time to change Mariota and maybe see draft 2021 for the answer.
The Gruden and Mayock rebuilding project has a solid foundation and all leaks have been fixed. After taking one or two wide receivers in the draft, it’s time to see if Derek Carr can really manage the ship.
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