2023 NFL Draft or Raiders Free Agency? Gm Dave Ziegler has options - Darren Waller

Raider Nation wants a ‘sexy’ move at QB, but the Raiders have other ideas

After nine years of Derek Carr under center, the Las Vegas Raiders are set to begin a new era. One question remains: Who will Dave Ziegler roll with at QB1?

Whether it’s Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson or Anthony Richardson, one thing is for sure; Raider Nation wants a ‘sexy’ move at the quarterback position this offseason. The fanbase doesn’t want anything to do with a move at QB that doesn’t involve a potential superstar.

It’s time to come back down to reality, Raider Nation.

Everyone hopes for that ‘sexy’ move at the most important position in football, but it isn’t always in the cards. The flashy move isn’t always the smartest move, especially when trying to build a complete team. Such is the case with the Raiders.

You can hold out for the spotlight-hogging blockbuster trade you dream of, but I suggest turning the page – it’s healthier that way.

You’ll continue to hear how the Raiders haven’t ruled out big names, but it means nothing. A front office wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t sniff around every possible option at a position of need – it’s called due diligence. The same reason why the Raiders have met with probable first-overall pick Bryce Young, despite picking seventh.

At this point, all signs point to options far less ‘sexy’, but far more practical. When you have a first-team All-Pro wideout and running back, alongside an additional Pro Bowl receiver and tight end, you don’t need a world-class quarterback who carries an overly large cap hit.

The weapons drive the bus, and the quarterback simply does his job without overthinking it.

This is the path the Raiders appear to be walking. What does it all mean?

You’ll hear the Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson and Raiders chatter, but it means nothing

If the only way you’re willing to move on is by hearing Raiders’ general manager Dave Zeigler say an option is off the table, you’ll be waiting ’til the bitter end. As mentioned earlier, a front office wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t explore all options at a position of need.

There are teams willing to go above-and-beyond to land an Aaron Rodgers or Lamar Jackson, and the Raiders are not one of them.

Some feel the chances of a trade-up in the first-round of the draft are high, but it doesn’t seem likely. If one of the draft’s top quarterbacks are available at seven, a rookie in the first makes sense. A trade-up, however, makes much less sense – albeit not impossible.

The thought process is based on where we know Ziegler’s head is at.

Getting inside the head of Dave Ziegler

At the Combine, Ziegler expressed the importance of building a defense “inside out”. “We’ve talked about drafting the best available players, but I think having a deep defensive line that can disrupt – that can run in waves and things of that nature,” Ziegler said, explaining his focus.

“If I was going to kind of lean one way, I would say that would be where I would start from a building standpoint,” he concluded.

The takeaway here is obvious – building the defense through the draft is Ziegler’s focus. A player such as defensive tackle Bryan Bresee or edge rusher Tyree Wilson would likely be the best players available at seven regardless, killing two birds with one stone.

Still, if a player such as C.J. Stroud happens to find his way to seven, it’ll likely be too enticing for the Raiders to pass-up on.

Some fans will want a lockdown cornerback such as Christian Gonzalez or Devon Witherspoon with the first pick, but it doesn’t make the most sense, either. There are about six corners who many have close grades on, and one could easily be there at 38. The position is simply too deep while others are much thinner.

Understand where the Raiders’ focus is at QB

Beyond Ziegler prioritizing defensive building, we can conclude a trade-up for a quarterback isn’t likely based on the signal callers Las Vegas has shifted their focus to.

Yes, the Raiders have met with quarterbacks such as Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson. What’s that phrase again? Due diligence. The team has spent a great deal of time elsewhere, though, seemingly focusing on mid-draft QBs and bridges through free agency.

Two guys who have had ample buzz around them in tandem with the Raiders are Jarrett Stidham, who started two games for Las Vegas in 2022, and future-NFL quarterback Jake Haener, who’s met with the team on several occasions.

It’s not a name that’s been tossed around too much, but Jacoby Brissett is another option who makes sense for the Raiders. Not only is he familiar with McDaniels’ system, but he’s made a career of bridging eras in franchises.

The theme here is the Raiders are content with not chasing an overly expensive signal caller, as they’re plenty confident in the team’s weaponry.

A ‘sexy’ move is simply not likely.

*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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