Raiders

Will Raiders Draft a Quarterback in Round 1?

Vegas apparently has shown interest in Utah State’s Jordan Love as possible high pick

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The Raiders have plenty invested in their quarterback position. With starter Derek Carr and former Titans starter Marcus Mariota on the roster, the franchise hardly seems in the market for a passer going into Round 1 of the NFL draft on April 23.

With two choices in the first round, the Raiders could take a huge step forward by selecting a playmaking wide receiver, a cornerback, a guard or defensive lineman with its top two selections, at No. 12 and No. 19.

Yet, head coach Jon Gruden loves quarterbacks – he can never have enough – and reportedly might be willing to use his 19th overall pick on Utah State’s Jordan Love.

Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com has the Raiders selecting love with that pick in his latest mock draft.

Mike Chiari of Bleacher Report wrote this week that having two picks in Round 1 gives Gruden and GM Mike Mayock a chance to get immediate help at No. 12, then take Love for the future at No. 19.

Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports reported the Raiders recently held a FaceTime interview with Love – in-person meetings are banned these days because of Covid-19 – and could use a first-round pick to get him. Wilson believes the Raiders would use their top pick on Love, writing: “If Jon Gruden really does want the Utah State QB, he may have to take him here instead of hoping he’s still on the board at No. 19.”

Love was a three-year starter at Utah State, where last season he completed 61.9 percent of his throws for 3,402 yards and 20 touchdowns with 17 interceptions. He also ran for 175 yards. He had a much better season in 2018, completing 64 percent of his passes for 3,567 yards and 32 TDs vs. just six interceptions, while rushing for seven TDs.

The 6-foot-4, 224-pounder has had accuracy problems, however, and draft analyst Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote recently that Love could be a boom-or-bust type of pick, depending on his development and refinement.

Wrote Zierlein: “His size, mobility and arm talent combined with his 2018 flashes could be a winning hand that leads a team into the future or a siren’s song of erratic play and unfulfilled potential.”

That assessment doesn’t seem like a great argument to justify using either the 12th or 19th pick in the first round of this draft. Another caution sign: Zierlein compares Love to Blake Bortles, the former Jacksonville QB who never lived up to his billing.

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