Raiders 2019 Positional Review: Quarterback
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

With less than a month before free agency officially opens, it’s time to take a dive into where the Las Vegas Raiders roster stands in various position groups. Over the next two weeks, we’ll break down seven different groupings: quarterback, skill positions, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, defensive backfield and special teams. This week we’ll cover the offense, and next week we’ll take care of the defense and specialists.

First up? How about the most important position on the field: quarterback.

Under contract: Derek Carr, Deshone Kizer

Free agents: Nathan Peterman (RFA), Mike Glennon

In a lot of ways, it’s fitting that of all the positions to start with we choose quarterback, simply because this feels like the biggest domino that might (or might not) fall this offseason.

For anyone who has been living under a rock, the Raiders have been linked to every quarterback under the sun — most notably, Tom Brady. Of course, this is especially strange given that the Raiders have a starting quarterback under contract for three more seasons.

As for why the Raiders might want to explore their options at quarterback, I think there are two big reasons: first, Carr has never seemed like the right personality fit for Jon Gruden; and second, while his statistics have been solid — he doesn’t always pass the eye test.

As I’ve written about in the past, I think the best thing to do would be to continue to build around Carr and use your money and draft picks elsewhere, but to be honest, this article isn’t meant to debate the merits of any given rumor — but to simply evaluate what the Raiders have in-house.

Derek Carr

In 2019, Carr posted career highs in a number of significant categories: completion percentage, passing yards, yards-per-attempt, quarterback rating and QBR among them. While his 21 touchdowns wasn’t an overly impressive number, he did limit turnovers by throwing just eight interceptions.

If you wanted to make the pro-Carr argument, you’d point to the lack of real weapons around him — most notably at wide receiver — first. Carr’s top wide receiver caught just 42 passes for 651 yards (Tyrell Williams), while rookie fifth-rounder Hunter Renfrow was second with 49 catches for 605 yards. Third on the list of wide receivers? Zay Jones who had 20 catches for 147 yards.

In total, Carr completed passes to 10 different receivers, three different tight ends, three different running backs and a fullback. I’m not entirely sure if that’s impressive or depressing, but it’s one of the two for sure.

If Carr was given the type of weapons most quarterbacks in the league operate with, would his performance put more people at ease? Or does he just lack the “it” factor completely? These are the questions Mike Mayock and Gruden must ask themselves.

Deshone Kizer

Yet to take an official snap for the Raiders, Kizer was the 52nd pick in the 2017 draft by the Cleveland Browns. After playing just one season there, he spent one season in Green Bay before being added by the Raiders in September.

For his career, Kizer has completed 53.1% of his passes for 3,081 yards, 11 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. Because he is still on his rookie deal, he has one year remaining on his contract ($1.1 million) — but can be cut with no consequences.

Nathan Peterman

A fifth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2017, Peterman was signed by the Raiders a year ago as a pet project for Gruden. Of course, Peterman is most famous for having his first career start go as bad as humanly possible: he threw five interceptions in the first half before being pulled.

I’ve always been intrigued by Peterman despite that game for one reason: his coaches must have seen something to pull starter Tyrod Taylor in the midst of a playoff hunt and get Peterman in there. Of course, it went disastrously and the rest is history — but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Peterman brought back to battle Kizer for the second or third quarterback on the roster next year.

Overall assessment

Whether this position needs upgrading is left for the eye of the beholder. If nothing changes, the Raiders wouldn’t be among the bottom third of the league as far as the quarterback position goes, but they’re also not in the top third either. Could the Raiders make the playoffs with Carr? Absolutely. Could they win the Super Bowl? He’d need a lot of help around him (for context, I think it’s hard to argue that Jimmy Garroppolo is a dramatically better quarterback than Carr).

If the Raiders can use their five top-100 picks to give Carr a true No. 1 receiver and then add some nice pieces to the defense, I don’t see any reason they couldn’t go out and win 10 games next season (not even factoring in their large amount of cap space).

Then again, I wouldn’t rule anything out here. Could they draft a guy? Trade-up for a guy? Sign a veteran? Trade Carr? Trade for a veteran? With Gruden, anything is possible.