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Matt Schaub was acquired to be the Raiders’ quarterback of the present. If all goes well, the near future too.
Head coach Dennis Allen already declared Schaub the starter in 2014 and possibly beyond, but it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of taking one in this week’s NFL draft.
“What (having Schaub) does is just give us some stability at that position, and we needed that,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said last week in a press conference. “Because we traded for Schaub does that mean we’re going to bypass a guy that we’ve got graded a certain way? No.”
While McKenzie would never say so directly, Schaub takes away the pressing need to select a passer. With Schaub in the fold and so many pressing needs on a team charged with showing real progress in the win column, it’s extremely unlikely the Raiders go quarterback in the first round.
[RELATED: Raiders draft outlook: Quarterbacks]
The team has worthwhile options in the second, third or possibly fourth round. Assuming, of course, McKenzie chooses to use them.
“I’m not going to feel like I have to take anybody, really,” McKenzie said. “There are some good players in this draft.”
There are good players in those rounds who have a realistic chance to contribute right away. A young quarterback does not. McKenzie has said he prefers a rookie quarterback sit his first year, develop and prepare for the rigors of starting in the NFL.
Again, that’s why Schaub was brought in. Matt McGloin is capable in the No. 2 slot, with six starts in 2013 to prepare him for an emergency call-up.
That takes all the pressure off the Raiders to take quarterback they aren’t in love with. The Silver and Black devoted significant time to evaluating quarterbacks during the pre-draft process, from meetings to private workouts to attendance at important pro days. We'll know in a few short days if they fell head over heels.
If they didn't, the Raiders could skip a quarterback all together and focus on other positions of need. Since they’ve gone all-in on Schaub, the Raiders could wait until 2015 to draft a quarterback of the future.
The Con: the development of a franchise quarterback wouldn’t start for another year. That might not be a good thing for the Raiders’ long-term health.
The key here is finding the right quarterback at the right value without ignoring other areas of greater immediate need.
There is plenty of talent to be had outside the first round, including Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Georgia’s Aaron Murray are all quality options. There’s a possibility that Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater slips into the second round.
The Raiders haven’t drafted, developed and featured a young franchise quarterback in decades, which makes the timing and investment in this quarterback so key to the long-term success of the franchise.
They don’t want to waste time on another Andrew Walter, Tyler Wilson, Marques Tuiasosopo, JaMarcus Russell or Todd Marinovich.
No matter when the Raiders take a quarterback, they desperately need to get the right one.