It is officially NFL Draft season around the league as NFL Free Agency has seen the market dry up drastically as mid-April is upon us and teams begin to make the final push towards the spring weekend that will define NFL franchises for years to come.
Naturally one of the biggest themes of this time of year is draft strategy and who is interested in picking which position in which round as teams set their big boards and league insiders attempt to break as much news as possible during the lead up to the draft. While the constant (and usually conflicting) reports of everything surrounding the Draft can be tedious to some, it is now a genre of football writing and news on its own giving readers and fans more access than ever before.
When it comes to insiders and experts on the NFL there are few better than SI’s Peter King, whose reputation and new MMQB website needs no introduction as the famous NFL writer has sources and information that few can boast. That made his newest MMQB column on the draft interesting as King outlined the Raiders draft strategy when it comes to quarterback position. Citing the lack of buzz on the quarterbacks in the first round, King attached the Raiders to a group of teams that will be waiting on quarterbacks until at least after their first picks in the 2014 Draft.
From King’s MMQB column:
5. A few teams with quarterback needs have an interesting strategy. I’ve heard that at least four quarterback-needy teams—Houston (first pick), Jacksonville (3), Cleveland (4) and Oakland (5)—are strongly considering passing on quarterbacks with their first picks and waiting until their second or third selections. Simple reason: They’re not in love with any of the quarterbacks, and there are too many other good players who are surer things than a quarterback you have sincere doubts about. For that reason, there could be more quarterbacks taken in round two than round one. For instance, Jacksonville really likes Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, and he’d likely be there high in the second round when the Jags pick again, at 39.
One more thing: The great value in this draft will be from about 20 to 50. So guess what team is in great position to capitalize on the depth in rounds one and two? San Francisco, with the ability and the recent history of moving around so well. The rich-get-richer Niners hold the 30th, 56th, 61st, and 77th overall picks. If they want someone in the forties, they’ve got the currency to get him. The Browns are in good shape to do some damage too, with picks 26, 35, 71 and 83.
It is no surprise to hear this report from King as the Raiders spent big money on Matt Schaub and appear to be sold on Matt McGloin as a #2 backup for the time being. That makes it unlikely that the Raiders will be reaching on a quarterback, allowing them to wait and see if one of the top passers available can fall to them in the early second round. A risky proposition, but arguably one that carries less risk than reaching for a quarterback with the fifth pick in the draft if the value is not there. With their 2014 starter seemingly in place in Schaub, don’t be shocked if Peter King’s report comes true on draft day.