Antonio Pierce made the bold move of earmarking Kliff Kingsbury as the offensive coordinator for his Las Vegas Raiders. Then, after that fell through, the Silver and Black’s new lead man made another bold move to identify Luke Getsy as his offensive play caller.
If the Raiders are to change their most recent fortunes, they’ll need more bold choices. So be bold once more, Antonio. Trade up to ensure you land a franchise-changing quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Raiders fans, you heard him…
Let me preface the notion with what Pierce himself penned in the Players’ Tribune on Monday titled “Raider Nation, Stand Up!”. (By the way, if you haven’t read what he wrote, I’d recommend giving it a look, Raider Nation.)
“To be honest with you, not everybody’s a Raider player,” Pierce began. “Case in point: There’s what—about 500 guys getting ready for this draft? Well, I promise you, there’s only about five of them that’s really Raiders. Guys that we really want.”
If that’s the case, coach, then go trade up and get your prospect! If it’s indeed accurate, there are only about five prospects who tickle your fancy; make the bold move up and snag the one you’re looking at. Don’t play any games and be resolute in your conviction.
Some might say Pierce was just being hyperbolic in the piece he wrote.
But this is the third paragraph in his letter to Raider Nation:
“This isn’t some rah-rah P.R. thing. What you need to understand is that I’m all about this. This isn’t a coaching job for me. This is my dream. This is my life. This is dead serious. Raider football. The Silver and Black.”
Well, alright, then.
This is pure conjecture, but I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by postulating that one of the prospects that’s really Raiders—in Pierce’s perspective—is LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels. The Heisman Trophy winner has an established relationship with not only Pierce but the Raiders’ head coach’s assistant head honcho, Marvin Lewis, too. In fact, Daniels name dropped the pair amongst all the thank-yous he delivered when presented with the Heisman, as they got to know each other well during their respective stints at Arizona State. So much so that Daniels was present in Allegiant Stadium for one of the Raiders’ home games this past season.
Foretelling or just mere courtesy for a player who has connections with Pierce and Lewis?
The fifth-year senior is a dual threat type QB prospect Las Vegas can certainly use, as the 23-year-old Daniels threw for 3,812 yards with 40 touchdowns and just four interceptions and carried the ball 135 times for 1,134 yards and an additional 10 end zone visits. At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, he’ll need to add weight to handle NFL tackling and punishment, but the foundation is there as a passer and runner. And by all accounts, Daniels showcases the things Pierce wants out of his era of Raiders.
The real Raiders…
“The real ones, the Raider dudes, have mental toughness. They got an edge. They got a sense of family in them—a brotherhood,” Pierce wrote. “They don’t want to be some social media like, a quick click or a retweet. You know what I mean. They’re looking for long-term satisfaction. And they also have a certain makeup to them where they want to make opposing players suffer. I call it ill intent. It’s not about going at the head or doing anything illegal or stupid. No, no. It’s about laying your paws on somebody so hard that you leave marks. That’s what it means to be a Raider. It’s intimidation. It’s winning the game before it’s played. That’s the Raider way.”
One of the best ways to instill fear, intimidate, and gain respect is to have a clear-cut baller as QB1. This isn’t a slight on Aidan O’Connell. He was tossed into the fire and played as well as you’d expect a developmental fourth-round quarterback to. O’Connell has certainly earned the opportunity to compete for the starting quarterback gig in Las Vegas. And he’s got the right attitude about competition, making everyone better.
Raiders QB Aidan O’Connell says it would only be right if the team brought in another QB to compete for the starting job w/ him. Says Antonio Pierce and Champ Kelly allowing him to play this past season was a confidence booster. #vegas #raiders #raidersnation pic.twitter.com/8SEB6a5ptS
— Mick Akers (@mickakers) January 25, 2024
It’s time to get a QB (finally)…
But it’s high time the Raiders stop playing games at the game’s most important position. Go get Daniels—or another quarterback that appeals to Las Vegas, for that matter—and finally take the QB1 spot seriously. Landing a top-flight prospect can be franchise-altering. Just ask the Houston Texans, who were kings of boldness in the 2023 NFL Draft when they picked Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud with the second overall pick and then traded up and snared Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. with the third overall selection.
To drastically change the direction of a franchise, you have to be intrepid and resolute. The Texans’ boldness was a throwback to the scared money don’t make no money mantra.
If Pierce is truly all about that action, he’ll steer his team in that direction.
But hold on, let me clarify something here. Pierce’s tag team partner in all this is experienced general manager Tom Telesco. Tommy T has a history of nailing first-round picks, although not necessarily trading up to do so.
But the team needs a quarterback—someone to be sketched alongside the face of the franchise, Maxx Crosby. And Daniels has the production and swagger to be that face—if the Raiders are brave enough to make it happen.
Because if it’s Getsy cooking stuff and dialing up the offense, cement shoes O’Connell may not be the most appropriate signal caller due to his lack of scrambling ability. It would appear that a quarterback who is equal parts passer and runner is the way to go.
But we shall see.
“Not to just talk about doing it. But to go out and actually do it? Because that’s where this is headed. That’s where we’re going with this,” Pierce noted.
We’ll find out quickly if AP can follow up on his Players’ Tribune piece or if it was just smoke and mirrors—all talk and no follow-through.
Because that’s something that’s been happening since 1983—the last time the team won a Super Bowl—unfortunately.
There hasn’t been much. Just Win, Baby.
It’s been: Just When, Baby?