The Las Vegas Raiders have two quarterbacks on their roster as of the start of April: Jimmy Garoppolo and Chase Garbers. However, both general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels are looking to add another quarterback to this roster. The reason being is that two quarterbacks aren’t enough to carry into training camp and throughout a season.
Garoppolo may be wonderful at running the offense that made him a household name. But he also has an injury history and, in reality, only has a short-term deal with multiple outs. Garbers was largely inactive last season and only saw action in the preseason. It’s clear the Raiders are looking at taking a quarterback if one is available at the seventh pick in the NFL draft.
C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson have all thrown at their pro days, and now it’s time to see where the dust settles.
The “polished” Day 1 starters
C.J. Stroud: In Columbus, Ohio, Stroud once again put on an incredible display of passing accuracy and ball placement. A natural football thrower with impeccable footwork, Stroud completed his workout with only one bad throw. Showcasing his ability to make every NFL throw with touch, velocity, elite placement, and a lightning-fast release.
Stroud is the type of quarterback who could come into the Raiders offense and thrive. He has phenomenal system quarterback abilities: elite pocket passer, quick decision-making, elite ball placement, and the ability to slide in the pocket and extend plays long enough to find a receiver.
Bryce Young: At his pro day in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Young showcased his ability to lead. He directed his receivers through his entire workout. Starting with his warm-up throws and the specialized placement of his receivers in order to preserve their legs, the rest of the workout proceeded with a very noticeable smoothness factor. At no point did Young appear to be anything short of completely in control of everything.
Young had a solid workout. Displaying an ability to make every throw, despite a few overthrows and a couple drops. The best part of his entire pro day was the NFL Network interview with Steve Smith and Mike Garafolo. Listening to Young speak and share his mentality and level of focus spoke volumes.
At the position of quarterback, Young most closely resembles his idol, Steph Curry. He doesn’t have the prototypical size, but he has the most heart on the field. There is absolutely nothing he can’t do on the football field, and he has an elite level of clutch. Young is the type of player that the league will undoubtedly get behind for years to come.
While at Alabama, Young ran a similar system to the one employed by McDaniels with the Raiders. While Stroud may be a better pure passer, Young has “IT,” and that should make him QB1 on every team’s board.
Draft and develop…
Anthony Richardson: Richardson’s pro day was a great indication of both his future growth potential and elite-level measurables. At the pro day, he not only threw a ball 74 yards, but he also threw a ball that hit the ceiling without grabbing the laces. He even called his shot and said he was about to go viral with this one.
At times he showed sloppy footwork, a hop step prior to throws, and used a different throwing angle when on the move. The placement of the ball on his throws was far from perfect in the short to intermediate windows and a smidge late. Richardson did display an ability to execute correct throwing mechanics, but it looked forced and unnatural to him. A 3/4 delivery is how he throws the football and will cause him to have more accuracy issues than someone who is more mechanically sound.
When the play breaks down and something incredible has to happen, the upside for Richardson is limitless. The most natural comparison would be to Cam Newton. Their size and style of play are nearly identical, and in an RPO offense, Richardson can play from day one. He is an elite football player with superstar potential and no ceiling. Richardson is a big, fast, and elusive young man with a rocket for an arm but flawed mechanics. In a pro-style offense, Richardson is going to have to sit. He must continue to refine his mechanics, learn an NFL offense, and learn to read not just defenses but NFL defenses.
.@UKFootball QB Will Levis is getting Draft ready. ?? (via @will_levis) pic.twitter.com/cP9IZtjZ4d— NFL (@NFL) March 29, 2023
Will Levis: The hype didn’t match the combine, and it didn’t match the pro day either. Levis has been heralded as having a big, elite arm and being one of the most pro-ready quarterbacks in the draft. To be fair, Levis had his best throws on in-breaking routes in the intermediate areas of the field. He threw those with more velocity than anyone else.
Levis struggled with timing on short and outbreaking routes, often leading his receivers out of bounds. He hung a couple of deep balls, which died on his receivers. Touch is an issue to keep an eye on; he looked like he was trying to guide it instead of throwing it, causing him to underthrow some of those intermediate outbreak routes.
Levis also followed suit and threw a ball that hit the ceiling of his indoor facility in Lexington, Kentucky, much like Young did at his pro day; he also directed traffic for the entire workout as well. How does Levis fit in with the Raiders? Great question. There are some things he needs to refine about his game as well. Pocket awareness and sliding around to avoid free-blitzing rushers is another of his struggles. With the Raiders, he would have an opportunity to sit behind Garoppolo and then enter the lineup as early as midseason should things not be going well.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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