Over this final week and a half, FishDuck.com Feature Writer Caleb Couturie will be analyzing the 25 teams in the NFL Draft that may look to select Marcus Mariota.
**DISCLAIMER: This is part of a project FOR FUN. All trades suggested are merely hypotheticals, and do not reflect my actual opinion of what will happen on draft day. Enjoy.**
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No. 4: The Oakland Raiders
Oakland’s Draft Pick: Fourth
Oakland’s 2015 Cap Space: $59,285,699
Oakland’s Top Needs: CB, WR, OL/QB
Oakland is in a lot of trouble on both sides of the ball. The defense is depleted and they have no offensive fire power. The one bright spot for the Raiders, or so it appeared, was Derek Carr.
The rookie QB threw for 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns, but those numbers come with an asterisk. Although, yes, he threw for 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns, he ranked seventh in the NFL in total pass attempts (599). Of all the QBs with 570 pass attempts or more, of which there were eleven, Carr was the only one to throw for less than 4,000 yards. In fact, his mark of 5.46 yards per attempts was the lowest in the league by a wide margin. Not only that, but Carr ranked 30th in both completion percentage and total QBR out of 33 qualified QBs. To keep it simple, Carr was awful. There were a lot of QBs that could do some amazing things with nearly 600 pass attempts, but Carr is simply not one of them.
The Raiders are tired of years and years of losing, and they desperately need a solid building block to start an offense around. Although Jameis Winston has more of the “Raider spirit,” Marcus Mariota will be too much for them to pass on if they can get him with their high draft pick.
HOW IT CAN HAPPEN:
Oakland trades Derek Carr, their first-round pick (No. 4) and their 2016 first-rounder to Tampa Bay in exchange for the No. 1 pick. Tampa Bay desperately wants a QB, and although Carr was dreadful last year, he did show signs of brilliance. For Carr to shift to an offense with Tampa Bay’s potential, the second-year starter could see a breakout season. For Oakland, they get the star their team has desperately needed for so long.
HOW MARIOTA WOULD DO IN THE EAST BAY:
So close but so far, eh Marcus? Mariota would be across the pond from a storied and playoff-caliber 49ers team, but instead of that he’d be stuck on a Raiders team that seems dedicated to going nowhere, fast. Granted, the Raiders do want to start winning sooner rather than later, so if Mariota can finally prove he’s worth the franchise-player hype he’ll receive, expect Oakland to start making moves to help him thrive.
Honestly, though, I hope Oakland doesn’t take him. They’ve got almost zero offensive weapons on that team outside of an emerging Latavius Murray, and outside of James Jones, Mariota wouldn’t have any solid veteran receivers to look for while he matured. Oh, I almost forgot! The Raiders have expertise at ruining former great dual-threat QBs *cough Terrelle Pryor cough*.
WOULD HE START?:
Almost certainly. Carr started every game as a rookie, and with Mariota coming in as an even more promising prospect, I see no reason why the Hawaiian wouldn’t start the season opener.
Oak’s Projected Record with Mariota: 4-12
Oak’s Projected Record W/O Mariota: 2-14
Mariota’s first year stats: 3,600 Yds/26 pass TDs/14 INTs/8 Rushing TDs
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