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“Whispers” getting louder that Las Vegas Raiders will select QB in 1st round of NFL Draft

Las Vegas Raiders
Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

New general manager Tom Telesco and the Las Vegas Raiders are at a turning point with less than two weeks to go before the 2024 NFL Draft.

Vegas moved on from Jimmy Garoppolo after the failed one-year experiment. It then signed fellow veteran quarterback Gardner Minshew to presumably compete with 2023 NFL Draft pick Aidan O’Connell for the starting job under new head coach Antonio Pierce.

The question here is whether Vegas will go quarterback with its first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. The Raiders are slated to select 13th overall. They are not in position to land one of the top-four quarterbacks in what is seen as a loaded draft at that position. Short of a trade up (which is a possibility), the Raiders would seemingly be looking in a different direction outside of the quarterback position.

At the very least, that’s the thought process with the annual event set to start here soon. Perhaps, that narrative is a big wrong.

Related: Full 7-round Las Vegas Raiders mock draft

Las Vegas Raiders honing in on Michael Penix Jr. with first-round pick

Michael Penix Jr. NFL Draft, Las Vegas Raiders
Credit: Sara Diggins/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

In his most-recent mock draft, Vic Tafur of The Athletic had a pretty interesting tidbit about the Raiders leading into the draft. Whispers are growing louder that they are targeting Washington product Michael Penix Jr. with the 13th pick in the NFL Draft.

“The whispers are getting louder that the Raiders just might take Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. here. Penix’s stock has risen since he had clean medicals at the NFL Scouting Combine. He has the best deep ball in the draft but, in our book, is still a bit of a project mechanically to be taken this high. It’s bad value.”

Report on the Las Vegas Raiders and Michael Penix Jr.

The medicals as they relate to Penix Jr. are the biggest story here. He suffered multiple torn ACLs during his time with the Indiana Hoosiers before transferring to Washington. If they are indeed clean, he’ll likely be a first-round pick when all is said and done.

  • Michael Penix Jr. stats (2023): 65.4% completion, 4,903 yards, 36 TD, 11 INT

At this point, it’s highly likely that four of the top-five picks in the 2024 NFL Draft are going to be quarterbacks. Caleb Williams is all but certain to go No. 1 to the Chicago Bears. The Washington Commanders and New England Patriots, selecting two and three respectively, are also likely to go quarterback. Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU) and J.J. McCarthy are all options.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals are taking calls for the fourth pick in the draft. Vegas is seemingly interested in a potential trade up the draft board. If that does not come to fruition, it would not be a surprise if Penix Jr. is the selection at 13.

Related: Updated 2024 NFL mock draft

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