The constant subject of quarterback chatter, the Las Vegas Raiders recently signed Marcus Mariota. Yet, it might be the signal caller they passed on that will come back to haunt them.
In last year’s draft, the Raiders were on the clock when they opted to choose Trayvon Mullen, a cornerback from Clemson, with the 40th pick of the second round. While doing so, they left on the the board Drew Lock, the quarterback from Missouri who ended up going to the Broncos with the 42nd selection. Knowing the facts, it’s fair to wonder if the the Raiders should’ve taken a chance and picked Lock to sit behind Derek Carr rather than going with Nathan Peterman and Mike Glennon. There’s a few factors at play here, so let’s take a look.
The Gruden and Carr Effect
Head coach Jon Gruden’s most remarkable seasons have been with veteran quarterbacks under center. He coached Rich Gannon to his best individual years and won a Super Bowl with Brad Johnson. Meanwhile, he was a failure with Chris Simms and Bruce Gradkowski. It’s entirely plausible that the Raiders passed on Lock as a show of faith to Carr. After all, if the team had drafted a quarterback in the second round, how much confidence would that have shown on Carr publicly? We saw what happened last season, despite a “statistically good” year, whenever the Raiders faltered and struggled, it was Carr who incurred everyone’s wrath. A rookie with hype breathing down his neck might’ve led to a disaster, or it could’ve signaled the beginning of a new era.
Need Over Want
Another tangible that may have played in the Lock decision was the fact the Raiders needed defense. No one knows the inner workings of Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock, no matter how much insiders claim otherwise. Gruden, a proclaimed quarterback guru would’ve certainly liked a shot at Lock, again hypothetically speaking.
As far as Mullen’s concerned, the Raiders got themselves a starting cornerback, so as far as addressing an immediate need, the right call was made. Likewise, it seems like cornerback is a need for the Raiders on a yearly basis, so in retrospect, would you have rather picked a cornerback or a potential franchise quarterback? Again, I emphasize potential, which is better than what you already know you have with Carr, and as much it’ll irk some fanatics, he’s not a franchise quarterback.
What Might’ve Been…
Carr supporters will say you can’t judge Lock off a small sample as he’s only started five games in his career. However, that’s a flawed stance as Carr himself got the starting nod based off his rookie year preseason performances. So judging Lock with those performances in mind, it’s certainly fair. Don’t forget Lock came into a team that was also struggling. A completion percentage of 64.1 with seven touchdowns and only three interceptions in five games is a good start no matter how you look at it. His receivers last year gave him 553 passing yards after completion. Imagine what he could do with a revamped wide receiver corps with the likes of Laviska Shenault?
In The Pocket
Under pressure in those five games, Lock averaged 6.7 yards per scramble attempt once the pocket broke down. Speaking of protection, Lock had an average of 2.6 seconds to throw the ball last year. Carr had roughly the same amount of time (2.5) and we’ve already seen what he can do. But what could Lock do behind the Raiders monstrous offensive line and Josh Jacobs leading the running attack? It certainly sounds intriguing at the very least. Given the dominance of the Chiefs and Carr’s inability to win in cold weather, it’s possible that if Lock improves with better weapons, the Raiders could be a third place team for a long time.
In ten, maybe five years, the Raiders might be looking back at this snub and realize they probably backed the wrong horse.
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