With three first-round draft picks this spring, the Raiders have a chance to make a big impact and upgrade at several positions.
After all, new general manager Mike Mayock recently said the team’s roster has “a lot of holes.”
Or, the Raiders might use one of those first-round selections on a quarterback, even though Derek Carr doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
That’s what longtime NFL reporter Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback is reporting.
Wrote King this past weekend: “Lots of suspicion that (head coach) Jon Gruden/Mike Mayock will take a quarterback high … and NOT trade Derek Carr. As one personnel guy told me, the Kansas City model of having a young guy learn under a willing veteran as Patrick Mahomes had with Alex Smith could be tempting. Now, Smith is a special case; he’s generous to a fault. Not sure Carr would be that willing to help a young kid take his job.”
Plus, Carr is 27. Smith was 32 when the Chiefs drafted Mahomes. And, Carr is signed through 2022, when he’ll still be just 31.
As this past season progressed, Carr’s play improved under Gruden in a new offense. Carr had career highs in yardage (4,049), completion percentage (68.9) and yards per pass attempt (7.3) while throwing for 19 touchdowns vs. 10 interceptions. And, he did it with an offensive line that allowed 51 sacks, a wide receiver corps hurt by injuries and the trade of Amari Cooper and a faulty defense.
Yes, the Raiders could use one of those No. 1 picks for a quarterback, but they might be better off getting players around Carr – and on defense – that can raise the team’s overall level of play, and taking a QB later in the draft, or in 2020.