Week 18 for the Las Vegas Raiders gave Antonio Pierce one more chance to put a stamp on a potential long-term deal as the team's head coach. After the win, one that moved him to 5-4 since taking over for Josh McDaniels, there was a lot for the team to be happy about.
For starters, Pierce led the Raiders to wins over another AFC West foe, giving him a victory against all of the divisional rivals the team goes up against. Also, it gave the Raiders momentum going into next season, as the vibe surrouding the team has been different since Pierce took over as interim head coach.
Unfortunately, it was not all positive, as it dropped the Raiders down in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. If they had their eyes on Jayden Daniels, coming off a Heisman Trophy-winning season at LSU< those dreams may be shattered.
On Sunday, Daniels was inside Allegiant Stadium to show support for Antonio Pierce, a former coach of his back at Arizona State. While Daniels in the Silver and Black would be an outstanding turn of events next offseason, the win on Sunday may have made him going to Las Vegas a moot point.
Will the Raiders win force them to miss out on Jayden Daniels?
In a recent mock draft by Bleacher Report, Daniels lands at pick No. 11 overall, as the Minnesota Vikings reset at the quarterback spot with Kirk Cousins entering free agency. Minnesota is picking two slots before the Raiders select at No. 13 overall, so the team would have to either trade up, or pivot to another signal-caller in this instance.
Looking at Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz's mock draft for USA Today, Daniels rocketed up to the No. 3 overall selection, so his stock is definitely on the rise as we come into the new year.
Rookie Aidan O'Connell played well down the stretch for the Raiders, tossing eight touchdowns against zero interceptions, and he is definitely in play to be the starter next season. However, if a guy like Jim Harbaugh is lured away from Michigan, he may want to select JJ McCarthy, who has helped the Wolverines to the CFP National Championship Game this season.
The 2024 offseason is going to be a wild one in Las Vegas, but the first order of business is deciding on which head coach to lead this team next season, and what general manager to help lead the way as well. Once that decision is made, the decision at quarterback should get a bit clearer as we inch towards the 2024 NFL Draft.