As the Oakland Raiders depart for Las Vegas next season, signs are pointing to a change at starting quarterback to match the change in hometown. CBS Sports NFL reporter Jason La Canfora, citing "team sources", stated that the Raiders and head coach Jon Gruden might be headed for a breakup with current starting quarterback Derek Carr.
While Carr has flashed brilliance at times - he's led an impressive 19 game-winning drives - he has also been prone to boneheaded mistakes and sloppy play, such as his decision to throw the ball away under pressure on fourth down against Tennessee. For a rookie, such a thing might be acceptable once or twice, but Carr is in his sixth season, and there's reason to believe that Gruden has lost patience and is ready to move on. Here are three possible options for Carr's replacement.
1. Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock was spotted at an Alabama football practice in November, presumably to scout ahead of the next year's draft. This was before Tagovailoa suffered a season-ending hip injury, but Mayock had to have seen enough of him to make an evaluation. The Raiders already have Tagovailoa's former college teammate, rookie running back Josh Jacobs, on the roster, so Tua would have a friend on the Raiders' offense. Of course, this depends on the Raiders' draft position, the status of Tua's hip, and whether he even declares for the draft.
2. Justin Herbert (Oregon)
Another quarterback in the NFL Draft class is Oregon's Justin Herbert, who led the Ducks to the Rose Bowl. He looks like the prototypical NFL quarterback - tall, lanky, and athletic, with a cannon for an arm - exactly the kind of quarterback that Jon Gruden likes. While Herbert is a more realistic option for the Raiders than either Tagovailoa or Joe Burrow (the latter of whom will likely go by the top three), and is perfectly healthy, there are concerns about his consistency, as displayed in the Ducks' loss to Arizona State, where the Sun Devils forced the worst game of his career.
3. Jordan Love (Utah State)
An outsider's pick, but one who fits the classic "gunslinger" mold. Watch his highlight reels, and he comes across as the second coming of Brett Favre with his ability to keep busted plays alive and turn them into great plays. While he has spectacular upside, he has just as spectacular a downside, as all such quarterbacks do. Love has thrown 17 interceptions this season, highest in big-time college football. There is the question of how well the Mountain West quarterback will adapt to the NFL - we've seen plenty of hotshot passers from gimmicky offenses try and fail in the pros (David Klingler and Andre Ware come to mind).