The Las Vegas Raiders could end up having to prepare for a future without quarterback Derek Carr. With No. 4 getting sent home, the future of the signal-caller is in doubt. Regardless, the NFL is a business, and it continues for the Raiders whether Carr is in those plans or not. Let’s not forget that the Raiders still have a litany of roster deficiencies, especially on defense, that need addressing. With the current trend, the Silver and Black will end up in the top ten. If that’s the case, which route should general manager Dave Ziegler take?
Well, the Raiders’ plan of attack with the NFL draft next year will hinge on the quarterback position. For the sake of this mock draft scenario, let’s say they bring in a veteran quarterback familiar with Josh McDaniels. If that’s the case, drafting a quarterback to sit behind said veteran makes sense. In theory, this would free up the first round for Ziegler to target the best player available. For the sake of the Raiders, they’ll be hoping it’s one of the premier defensive prospects. Let’s take a deep dive, shall we?
Raiders 2-Round Mock Draft: Time To Go “Carr Shopping”
Round 1 – Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
- Measurables: 6’3″, 300 pounds
- Notable Stats: 18.5 career tackles for a loss, 2022 Consensus All-American
Look, it’s easy to get lost in the news surrounding Carr’s benching. However, that doesn’t deter from the fact that the Raiders’ defense needs reinforcements. In particular, they need help with the interior of their defensive line. The fact is, if they can’t properly retool this unit, the Raiders will waste Maxx Crosby’s best years. Plugging in Jalen Carter by way of the vaunted Georgia defense is a logical choice. Signing a stopgap solution at quarterback (assuming Carr is truly gone) affords Ziegler the chance to pick up Carter.
With solid measurables, Carter has the proven college production to back up the hype. 18.5 tackles for a loss in the SEC is no easy task. Carter possesses more than sufficient physical tools to shed offensive linemen and get to the quarterback. A consistent interior pass rusher continues to evade the Raiders. Carter’s physical prowess goes beyond tackling as well; he has notable lateral movement and remarkable speed for his size. He doesn’t quit; you can see him chasing runners all over the field. Carter is a bowling ball in the middle, for lack of a better term, and it’s a no-brainer for the Raiders here.
Round 2 – Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
- Measurables: 6’4″, 218 pounds
- Notable Stats: 80 career touchdowns, 25 career rushing touchdowns
Okay, so this is where it gets interesting. In all likelihood, the top quarterback prospects will be gone by the time the Raiders make their selection. C.J. Stroud might drop, with Will Levis quickly moving up the draft boards. However, taking a chance on Hendon Hooker in the second round makes sense. Assuming the Raiders have a plan at quarterback, Hooker can take his time and develop in McDaniels’ system for a year or two. No need to rush him. When he’s ready, he’ll provide the Raiders with the dual-threat talent they’ve been looking for. More importantly, it’s the type of talent that some Raiders fans are clamoring for. He was seventh for rushing attempts in the SEC in 2021 along with nine rushing touchdowns in 2020, after all.
By many accounts, Hooker has an NFL-level arm. That’s big, especially considering he’ll be available in the second round, maybe even the third. His accuracy on short and intermediate throws is solid, which will do him well when paired with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow. At the same time, he possesses more than enough velocity and arm strength to push the ball downfield to the best receiver in the game, Davante Adams. It’s a win-win.
*Top Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images