The downtrodden Las Vegas Raiders are slated to pick seventh overall in the coming 2023 NFL Draft. There had been speculation about Vegas going quarterback with that selection after replacing Derek Carr with Jimmy Garoppolo during free agency.
That’s died down some with comments made by general manager Dave Ziegler indicating that the Raiders’ long-term situation at quarterback might not be completely settled this year.
However, there’s now increased momentum regarding the Raiders going quarterback early in the draft. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, they are slated to host Alabama quarterback Bryce Young for a top-30 visit in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Meeting with Richardson and Levis is no surprise. Both could end up being available to the Raiders at seven. However, it’s the inclusion of Stroud and Young in the conversation that has us thinking.
Selecting No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers are going to go quarterback. Either Young or Stroud will be the pick with that selection. Unless the Raiders can move up to two or three, adding one of those quarterbacks to the mix is not going to be in the cards.
Las Vegas Raiders could be angling for blockbuster NFL Draft trade
This leads us to believe that Vegas might be looking to pull off the second blockbuster of draft season. It was earlier that the aforementioned Panthers moved up from the ninth overall pick with the Chicago Bears to No. 1 overall.
As of right now, the Arizona Cardinals seem to be the most logical trade partner for Vegas. They boast the No. 3 overall pick and are not looking to add a quarterback with Kyler Murray in the mix. The expectation has long been that Arizona will move down from this spot.
Meanwhile, the Raiders are one of those teams linked to All-Pro Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The idea would be to team him up with Davante Adams to form one of the best duos on the game for stopgap starter Jimmy Garoppolo.
It’s interesting to look at. The Raiders’ decision to sign Garoppolo seemed to preclude adding a quarterback early in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, his contract tells us another story. The Raiders can release/trade Garoppolo after the 2023 season while saving $13 million against the 2024 cap.
As for a broader potential blockbuster trade between the Raiders and Cardinals, Hopkins’ value just isn’t there right now. There has even been talk that Arizona will have to release one of the game’s most-productive receivers of the past decade. His inclusion in trade talks wouldn’t change the dynamics all too much.
Moving up from seventh overall to the third selection this month would likely cost the Las Vegas Raiders a future first-round pick. If Ziegler and Co. are sold on either Young or Stroud, it would make perfect sense to pull that trigger on draft night depening on what happens with the first two picks.
Another possibility is negotiating directly with the Houston Texans at two. This would enable Vegas to guarantee itself either Young or Stroud. Though, that’s a bit complicated by the fact that Houston has a need at quarterback.
Either way, these Raiders are going to be among those most talked about leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft in roughly three weeks. Sin City should be all sorts of fun with rumors swirling and top prospects visiting.