3 big questions Raiders must answer after NFL Draft

Here's what to ponder about until training camp opens.
Kentucky v Georgia
Kentucky v Georgia / Perry McIntyre/ISI Photos/GettyImages

You thought that just because the draft was over, we were going to stop talking about the draft?! It's only been a week! If anything, the fact that the Raiders may have had the worst draft class of anyone in the NFL gives us more reasons to talk and/or panic. And the great news is that there's nothing on the NFL calendar for the next three months (except, sigh, the schedule reveal). So these burning questions you have can just live rent free in your head for the next 12 weeks! What a terrific way to spend the summer.

The Raiders' draft was admittedly a bit curious at times, and even with team-building being a two- or three-year process, it's not entirely clear how much better Las Vegas got last weekend. So these are the three questions we're going to chew on over the summer, and then probably for, like, most of the season too.

3 big questions Raiders must answer after NFL Draft

1. So it's really going to be Garnder Minshew, huh?

For a minute or two there, it really seemed like the Raiders were going big. There were some last minute rumors about how Jayden Daniels wanted to be reunited with Antonio Pierce (Pierce was a coach on Daniels' Arizona State team), and neither Pierce or new GM Tom Telesco were particularly shy about making their interest in a quarterback public knowledge.

Then, they, uh, didn't get a quarterback. At all. In fact, they were the only QB-needy team in the Top 15 that didn't end up with one of the *six* guys who went over that stretch. In the Raiders' defense, by the time the Falcons threw a wrench in everyone's plans by drafting Michael Penix Jr., they would have had to presumably trade up for either JJ McCarthy or Bo Nix, and if we're being honest with ourselves, Minnesota wasn't going to be outbid for McCarthy. So maybe it's not the worst idea that the Raiders' didn't get reckless with draft capital for this year's 6th best quarterback.

Still, next year's QB class looks pretty underwhelming right now. Which sure does make it seem like the Raiders' plan is really to play Gardner Minshew for both seasons of the two-year, $25 million contract they gave him. It's certainly a choice.

2. What does Jakorian Bennett's job security look like?

It'd almost always be wrong to give up on any player after just one season, but if there was ever going to be an exception, it may be Bennett. Statistically speaking, he was one of the worst corners in football last year – Pro Football Focus had him ranked 124th out of 127. There's really no point in diving deep into what he was bad at, because the answer basically just boils down to "everything."

The Raiders clearly aren't going to run it back this season, as evidence by the fact that they went and took two corners in this draft that are both described as "league ready" by various internet scouting reports. Mississippi State's Decamerion Richardson and Pittsburgh's MJ Devonshire are both big, long-armed corners that should, in theory, come in and immediately challenge Bennett for a starting job on alongside Jack Jones. Decamerion – who's 6'2 and a two-year SEC starter – seems the most likely to challenge Bennett this summer, but it wouldn't be surprising to hear that CB2 is a wide-open competition.

3. Is having Brock Bowers and Michael Mayer really a problem?

This was maybe the biggest talking point of the Raiders' draft weekend, and frankly, I'm not entirely sure why.

The idea that Mayer's on the way out because the team drafted Bowers feels ... shortsighted? Not well researched? In his rookie yera, Mayer played 442 of his 602 offensive snaps as a typical Y, in-line tight end. He ended the season with 27 receptions on 40 targets, for 304 yards and two touchdowns. He is, essentially, a blocking tight end right now. He's not very good at it, per se, but that's his role currently. Maybe that changes over time – tight ends are notoriously slow developers – but after one season, that's about it.

On the other hand, it'd be surprising if Bowers ends up playing over 400 snaps in-line. He's more versatile as a pass catcher than Mayer is, and also never really projected as a typical tight end at the professional level. That's part of the reason why they took Bowers – his versatility is one of his best traits, and part of what makes his fit with Mayer work. The idea that Mayer's time in Vegas is already coming to an end, or the Raiders can't figure out how to scheme two tight ends up at the same time, feels lazy.