Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux can really be the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft

Oregon’s Kavyon Thiodeaux has elite potential

By: Chris Thomas

Even though the 2022 NFL Draft is months away it is never too early to speculate about who could go first overall. Two weeks into the college football season it appears that a non-quarterback may go first overall since Myles Garrett was drafted in 2017. Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux is the consensus #1 non-quarterback prospect. He is also thought of by many as the potential number one prospect of this entire draft. Here is why Thibodeaux could be the first overall pick in the draft in late April. 

Lack of premier quarterback talent

An NFL Draft class is defined by its quarterbacks. Over the last couple of seasons, it feels like there has been a premier quarterback prospect that has been on top of the class and went first overall. After the first two weeks of the college football season, none of the speculated upon top quarterback prospects have been over impressive. Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler had a brutal debut where he threw only one touchdown and two interceptions against Tulane. Oklahoma barely won that game. North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell had an even worse season debut against Virginia Tech. Howell threw for only 208 yards and one touchdown. He finished the game with three interceptions as well. Both quarterbacks bounced back in their second games of the season, but at this rate, none have looked like a first overall pick quarterback. The standard a quarterback must reach to be taken first overall for it to be worth it is Kyler Murray, Joe Burrow, and Trevor Lawerence.

Recently there have been a couple of quarterbacks that have gone first overall that was not worth the selection. Some of these quarterbacks aren’t considered busts but during their respective predraft processes other non-quarterbacks were considered better prospects and turned out to be much better than the quarterbacks taken first overall. Those quarterbacks are Baker Mayfield and Jared Goff. Both are solid starters but both the Browns and Rams had better options available. Cleveland could have drafted Saquon Barkley, Quenton Nelson, or Bradley Chubb with the first pick in 2018. All three of which are considered more talented than Mayfield, when healthy. Then the Rams showed they regretted trading up for Goff in 2016 when they packaged him with two first-round picks to Detriot for Matthew Stafford. Los Angeles could have drafted Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey, Ronnie Stanley, DeForest Buckner, or Laremy Tunsil with the first overall pick. 

This draft class is shaping up to be similar to the latter where there may be multiple non-quarterback prospects who could end up being better than the quarterbacks in this class. Whoever lands the first overall pick may want to learn from the previous mistakes of those teams and take the best player available which is Thibodeaux.

Production

Kayvon Thibodeaux is the number one edge rusher in a loaded edge rusher class. He isn’t just the number one edge rusher prospect in the draft class like Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, or Dante Fowler Jr. Right now he is spoken about above the likes of Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, and Chase Young who were elite pass rusher prospects in their respective drafts. Thibodeaux has been placed in the same tier as Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett who were no doubt first overall picks in their respective draft class. He has been placed in that tier of player for good reason. 

During his first season at Oregon, Thibodeaux had 9 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. PFF gave him a 79.9 grade that season which was the best in the Pac-12 and ten points higher than any other freshman edge rusher in the Power Five. In seven games last season Thibodeaux had 3 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. Already this season Thibodeaux has a sack and forced fumble in one game played. He earned an 87.2 PFF grade for his sophomore season.

This is a player who has dominated college football over the last three seasons. Scouts have anticipated this season because Thibodeaux is now eligible for the draft. From what he has shown on the field, he is the type of player that scouts love the opportunity to analyze and potentially add to their roster. 

Multiple #1 pick contenders have a young quarterback

In a decent amount of cases when a team drafts a quarterback that team usually doesn’t improve dramatically from where they finished the season before. These are teams who selected quarterbacks early in recent drafts could be picking near the top of the draft and be in the range of this year’s top quarterbacks. These teams include the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, and Cincinnati Bengals. They are a few teams who could be in range to select a quarterback in this upcoming draft but should be content enough with their quarterback play to not consider selecting another one early this year, especially in a potentially weak quarterback class. 

Other teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Detriot Lions, and Las Vegas Raiders have a great enough quarterback in house to pass on a quarterback. Also, the Houston Texans have shown in recent history that they are willing to take a pass rusher first overall went they have to choose between an elite one and a quarterback from a weak class (Mario Williams 2006 & Jadeveon Clowney 2014). Since they took Davis Mills in the third round it is likely they want to give him a shot to be the team’s potential QB1 before taking one in the first round. 

All of the teams listed could potentially land the first overall pick. If they land it they would likely have to choose between trading down to a quarterback-needy team or taking the draft’s best prospect Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Overhyped NFL teams after Week 1

Who are the overhyped NFL teams?

By: Thomas Cunningham

Okay, football fans, as week one of the 2021 NFL season has officially closed, it is time to reflect on those teams that were let down this past weekend. As teams do every year, there were many big-name signings, even bigger contract extensions made, and some future pillars of rosters drafted.

However, let’s first just all be thankful that football is officially back, regardless of the outcome of your team’s game. It is the time of year where you are wearing your favorite jersey, on the edge of your seat, just waiting for that next big play to be made. Speaking of big plays, as the title of this article suggests, we will break down some well-overhyped teams leading into week one that did not live up to expectations.

Now, some may find this list subjective or unfair due to it being the only week one, but the next few teams listed not only had fan base hype but national media hype and did not come close to living up to either expectation. So let’s get into shall we?

“America’s Team” could not pull out the win.

That’s right, folks; the Dallas Cowboys were on out in full scale during their Thursday night matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys have had a lot of hype coming out of training camp about their condition, how well wide receiver Ceedee Lamb and running back Ezekiel Elliot looked, and how improved their defense will be coming into this season.

Well, to say the least, “Dem Boys” will always be just “Dem Boyz.” Last year, putting points on the board was not the Cowboys’ problem; it was keeping opposing teams off the scoreboard that was ultimately Dallas’ downfall. Fast forward to this season, and that trend seems to have continued along with multiple stalled red zone drives after having multiple takeaways from an otherwise unprepared and injured Buccaneers team.

The good news for Cowboys fans is that quarterback Dak Prescott did have an impressive first outing, with over 400 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. However, just like the past few seasons, it looks like Prescott is once again left out on an island to defend himself. It truly seems that Dallas has picked up right where they left off last year.

Did “Who Dat” actually put the league on notice?

This past Sunday, the New Orleans Saints absolutely embarrassed the Green Bay Packers, winning handily 38-3. With such a dominant win, the thought would be that the Saints mean business this season; however, you have to place this game into context. Though Jamis Winston threw five touchdowns, he only threw for 148 yards. This game actually belongs to the Saints’ defense, which helped put their offense in great field position. It also has to be put into the minds of everyone; the Packers absolutely gave up in that game, especially on offense. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is regarded as one of the best QB’s of all time, looked as sloppy and uncaring as one player could.

This only made the Saints’ life easier as the game went on, especially after the Packers’ defense was completely gassed. The Saints will make some noise this season, but ultimately this “high powered” offense will lose steam, especially when they start facing top defenses.

We have all seen this from the Las Vegas Raiders before

Okay, sports fans, if this story sounds familiar, it’s because it is. The Raiders had a lot of hype surrounding them last season because they were able to beat teams like the Kansas City Cheifs and New Orleans Saints, but did all of this to only go 8 and 8 on the season and also lose to teams like the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots

The hype begins again after their victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Now the victory was earned, even if the Ravens fell flat on their face. However, it has to be said that as the season continues, the Raiders will seemingly fall into a similar pattern as last year, especially with their faith in Derek Carr possibly wavering.

Could the AFC West have four Playoff Teams?

Could AFC West feature four playoff teams?

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

With the NFL Playoffs expanding its field of Wild Card teams to three per conference instead of two, it is now possible for an entire division to make the postseason. That is what the AFC West division will be looking to accomplish this season, as all four teams have aspirations of making the playoffs. It would be the first time NFL history for that to happen, but the question is whether or not that is a realistic scenario. Let’s first take a quick look at each of the four teams’ outlooks for the upcoming 2021 NFL season.

Kansas City Chiefs

The two-time defending AFC Conference Champion Kansas City Chiefs are pretty much a lock to make it to the playoffs as long as superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes is healthy. They were the best offense in the NFL last year by a wide margin, with their 415.8 yards per game leading the second-best offense, the Buffalo Bills, by almost 20 yards per game. As an example of how big of a gap that is, the 12th ranked New Orleans Saints offense were 20 yards behind the second-ranked Bills. The Chiefs are returning both of their key offensive weapons in Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill so there is no reason at all to believe that their offense won’t once again be a dominating force. Pair their elite offense with one of the greatest offensive minds of all time in head coach Andy Reid, and even an underrated defense to go with it too, and the Chiefs are without a doubt one of the best teams in the NFL.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers are a team that has the potential to take the next step this season. The main reason being that it looks like they found a star quarterback in Justin Herbert. He put together a very impressive rookie campaign by completing 66.6 percent of his passes for 4336 yards and 31 touchdowns on his way to leading the Chargers to a solid seven-win season. If he can continue to improve in his second season, he can already be a top ten quarterback in the league, which always gives any team a chance to make a run into playoffs. They have a solid defense that ranked 10th in the NFL last year at 343.4 yards allowed per game and will get a huge boost this coming season with the return of superstar Derwin James. He is not only one of the most dynamic players in the entire NFL but also one of the absolute best all-around defenders. With the rise of Herbert and the return of James, the Chargers have a shot to make some noise this year.

Denver Broncos

On paper, the Denver Broncos are stacked on both sides of the ball. Their offense has a ton of dangerous skill position players including Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, Melvin Gordon, and Javonte Williams while their defense is loaded with talented and productive players like Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Kyle Fuller, and Justin Simmons. The only real problem with their team, and it’s a huge one, is the question mark at the quarterback position. There’s an old saying that “if you have two QBs, you have no QB” and that applies to the situation in Denver with Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock. Neither of them are necessarily bad, but they are definitely not impressive either., If one of the two QBs can emerge as a reliable option, or if they trade for an upgrade, then they can surely be a contender because the rest of the team is fully built and ready to win now.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Las Vegas Raiders, who finished in second place in the AFC West last year with eight wins, are the type of team that has a low floor but also a high ceiling heading into the 2021 NFL season. They were the 8th ranked offense last season at 383.3 yards per game, mostly due to their two stars in tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs. They did add another back in Kenyan Drake, which adds another dimension to their offense because of his pass catching abilities out of the backfield. The Raiders biggest loss by far this offseason is to the offensive line, which used to be a major strength of the team. They very strangely traded away three of their starters in Trent Brown, Gabe Jackson, and Rodney Hudson to rebuild a unit that didn’t appear to need it. Regardless, they will enter this year with hopes of competing for a postseason appearance, which is something they fell just short of last year.

AFC Playoff Picture

Anything can happen in the NFL, but realistically it appears that 12 of the 16 teams in the AFC have a shot to make the playoffs, excluding the Jaguars, Texans, Jets, and Bengals. Of those 12 teams, four of them will get in automatically for winning their division, so that guarantees one team from the AFC West. Along with the remaining three teams from the AFC West competing for the three remaining wild card spots there will also be five other solid teams that were not division winners fighting for those same spots. That field of teams joining the race will likely be some combination of five of the following teams including the Bills, Patriots, Dolphins, Ravens, Steelers, Browns, Colts, and Titans.

All things considered, it is very likely that the AFC West will get at least two teams and there is a real shot that they will get three teams in the playoffs, but because of the competition that they are facing, it is unlikely that all four will find their way into the NFL Playoffs this year.

Three potential trade destinations for Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr

Where will Raiders QB Derek Carr be traded?

By: Reese Nasser

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr could soon find himself on a new team. With his contract currently set to end after the 2022 season, he could be a name to watch between now and the trade deadline. 

After seven seasons with the Raiders, Carr has never appeared in a playoff game and has won double-digit games just once. He also has a career record of 47-63, but that does not tell the whole story. In his time since entering the league, Carr has been very efficient with the ball. He has 170 passing touchdowns to just 71 interceptions throughout his career. 

Even without ever having a prolific receiving room, Carr has been a consistent playmaker. He had been a reliable QB1. He has also been one of the clutchest players in the league. He has 24 game winning drives in his career. 

When looking at all of this, it is clear to see why teams would be intrigued by adding Carr to their roster. He is still a solid quarterback who would be an upgrade at the position for most teams. Many teams believe that they have the roster in place for a super bowl run and are just missing a quarterback to get them over the hump. Other teams are just trying to find a piece to build around, and at just 30 years old, Carr could be just that. There would be no developing Carr, unlike what you would have to do with a younger quarterback. He is also coming off arguably the best season of his career. 

There are a few different teams that could be in a position to go after Carr. It could end up taking a large draft package to land the veteran quarterback. Some teams may be more willing to give the Raiders what they would like as opposed to others. Here are three  teams that could prove to be top destinations for Derek Carr. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers future at the quarterback position is unclear, to say the least. Longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is entering the final year of his restructured contract. He will also be entering his 18th season as the Steelers starting quarterback and is 39-years old. 

Outside of Roethlisberger, the Steelers have not seemed to create a concrete plan as to who will be their next quarterback. Backup quarterback Mason Rudolph has been subpar in his nine career starts. He could be who the Steelers look to for their future, but he hasn’t yet shown that he can be a number one quarterback on a team. 

The Steelers also recently signed former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins this off-season. Haskins underperformed in his two years in Washington, recording a record of 3-10 and throwing just 12 touchdowns. He has struggled since entering the NFL, and much like Rudolph, hasn’t lived up to expectations up to this point. 

With no proven options past Roethlisberger, if there is a struggle at the quarterback position, the Steelers could look to go after a quarterback such as Carr. The Steelers have a team that is built to win now and can’t afford to have an offense being held back by poor QB play. Carr could play out his final two years of his contract in Pittsburgh and then sign a long-term deal to remain the QB1. 

Washington Football Team 

Washington currently has a surplus of quarters back on their roster, yet there is still no clear QB1. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Taylor Heinicke, and Kyle Allen will all have an opportunity to win the starting job. 

But Washngton may feel like none of these three quarterbacks meet their standards and this could cause them to go after someone such as Carr. 

Washington has assembled a potential top-10 defense and they have young and talented offensive pieces. With Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel preparing to become a top receiving duo and running back Antonio Gibson on the verge of stardom, this offense has all the making of a powerhouse. 

Carr could be what this team needs to take them over the top, and Washington is one team that could create a package that is good enough to land the quarterback. 

Miami Dolphins 

The Miami Dolphons coild prove to be an intriguing landing spot for Derek Carr. The decision to trade for him would also be baeed entirely on second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s performance in the first half of the season. 

Tua struggled on multiple occasions last season, being replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick on more than one occasion. But, it is still too early to move on from the young quarterback, at least for now. He scored 14 touchdowns in his rookie season and showed flashes of potential.
The Dolphins have a team that can win games, proving this last season by securing 10 wins for the first time since 2016. They also added quality playmakers on the offensive side of the ball through both the draft and free agency. 

Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle will look to be a centerpiece for this team, and eventually Miami’s main target. Wide receiver Will Fuller will also receive a heavy workload for the Dolphins in his first season with the team. 

With a potential top receiving unit, the Dolphins may believe that they can’t afford to wait for Tua to develop. If he does struggle in the start of the season, they could center a package around him and send him to Las Vegas in exchange for Carr. 

Carr is Miami’s offense could be lethal and this team could be positioned to make a legitimate playoff run. 

Is 2021 a make or break season for Derek Carr in Las Vegas?

Is Derek Carr in his last year in Las Vegas?

By: Reese Nasser

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has had a long, yet relatively uneventful career up to this point. There have been moments where he has appeared to become a top-tier quarterback, but it has never lasted. 

In his seven seasons of being the QB1 for the Raiders, they have all ended the same. He has yet to play in a playoff game and has only had a double-digit win season once. 

The lone double-digit win season for Carr came in 2016. He played arguably the best football of his career, throwing 28 touchdowns and nearly 4000 yards. He also held onto the ball in a way that he has never been able to, throwing just six interceptions. 

Carr was also the very definition of clutch in 2016. He led the Raiders one seven game winning drives and was the reason that they were in a position to make a playoff run. After leading the then Oakland Raiders to a 12-3 record, tragedy struck. Carr broke his fibula in the fourth quarter of a week 15 game against the Indianapolis Colts. This injury ended Carr’s season and any chance that the Raiders had of a postseason run. 

Since that 2016 season, the Raiders have been arguably the most average team in the NFL. They have remained largely in the middle of the pack in regards to the rest of the league. Carr’s career record of 47-63 is very fitting for the organization as a whole. 

Carr’s 2020 season saw him turn in yet another performance that caused people to question whether he crossed into elite territory. The Raiders finished with an 8-8 record, but Carr was one of the top passers in the NFL. He threw 27 touchdowns to just nine interceptions and surpassed 4000 passing yards for just the third time of his career. 

But even with his performance, the Raiders still managed to be just mediocre. Carr has had seven seasons to bring the Raiders over the hump, and he has still not done it. With just two years remaining on his contract, Las Vegas has to decide if Carr is who they wish to continue to build around. 

The quarterback is just 30 years old and a team looking to find a new franchise QB could look to Carr to be that guy. The Raiders could look to trade Carr and get a hefty return through either draft picks and/or promising young players. He also has one of the top arms in the NFL and has shown that he is not afraid to sling the ball. 

So does that technically make this a make or break season for Carr? In a way, yes. But that doesn’t fully explain just how important this season could be for the franchise as a whole, even outside of Derek Carr. So let’s take a look at why exactly this is a make or break season for Carr. 

The State of the Franchise 

While this will be the Raiders second season in Las Vegas, it will be the first for the fans. The expectations for this team will be unreal. They have a new stadium and a whole new city to impress. 

They also don’t necessarily have a roster that is built to win a lot of games in 2021. They are fairly young at many important positions. The receiving group isn’t great, with second-year receiver Henry Ruggs being the WR1 on this roster. A duo of Ruggs and breakout tight end Darren Waller may not be enough to get this team into the playoffs, especially when looking at how good the AFC is. 

The defensive side of the ball is also young, especially the secondary. If the defense struggles, the Raiders may find themselves in a position where they are forced to fight their way back into games. 

When looking at the success of other teams in recent years that have moved cities, near instant success will be what the fans want. Look at the success of both of the Los Angeles teams. The Rams and Chargers both moved cities and have both found success in Los Angeles. 

Both Los Angeles teams, even though the rosters are drastically different, are both in very good positions. Las Vegas could look at both teams as a template to build. 

The Chargers are one of the most exciting teams in the NFL, and are being led by second-year quarterback Justin Herbert. 

The Raiders could look to assemble a roster somewhat resembling that of the Chargers. They could start this process by moving on from Carr and finding a young quarterback. 

Or they could build like the Rams, who have a veteran quarterback in Matt Stafford. Their depth chart is full of veteran players on both sides of the ball.

Why the Raiders Could Move On

With all of these variables, it wouldn’t come as a shock if the Raiders chose to move on from Carr. With being in a new city, finding a new face of the franchise could make sense, especially with looking at the quarterbacks that will be available in this year’s draft. 

From Spencer Rattler, and Sam Howell, to Malik Willis, and Kedon Slovis, this upcoming draft eligible quarterbacks could be intriguing. They are all good at different things and each one could fit in with the Raiders.

It could arguably come down to how well the Raiders perform this season. After an 8-8 record last season, the Raiders draft pick ended up being right near the middle of the pack. They ended up having the 17th selection. 

If Carr leads them to another record around 9-8 or 10-7, they could still find themselves picking right near the middle yet again. This could remove them from contention of selecting a top quarterback, putting them in sort of a no man’s land where they would have no choice but to stick with Carr. 

This could lead to a potential mid-season trade, something that rarely happens with big name players in the NFL. This wouldn’t be the first time that the Raiders have done something like this. They traded for Cincinnati Bengals quarterback right before the trade deadline in 2011. The roles could be reversed with this go-around. With either injuries or a team that feels like they are a “quarterback away” from a real playoff-run, Carr could be that guy.

A team would have to give up a good amount for Carr, especially when considering that they would have him under contract for all of the 2022 season as well. 

When looking at recent trades for a QB1, there is always substantial capital involved. The Rams sent the Lions two first-round picks, a third-rounder and Jared Goff. The Colts sent a conditional second-rounder and a third-rounder for Carson Wentz. 

The Raiders could find themselves receiving something in-between these two trades for Carr. At least one first round pick would be needed to get a trade started. 

If the Raiders find themselves struggling near the trade deadline, a mid-season trade could be what they choose to do. Trading Carr could change the future of the franchise. 

So yes, this is a make or break season for Derek Carr. He is coming off of a career year and is still a very talented player. 

The entire future of the Las Vegas Raiders franchise could be determined by how well Carr and this team as a whole perform in 2021. If he gives them a reason to keep him around, they could lock into him for the remainder of his career. Or, they could move on and restart with a new QB1. 

3 GMs that lost this NFL offseason

Did the Packers GM lose this offseason?

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

The NFL offseason is now more than halfway complete. Between free agency, trades, and the draft it has been eventful as always. Teams have opened camps and players are coming together to start preparing for the upcoming season. The goal of every offseason for a GM is to make roster moves that will improve the team moving forward. Most of the GMs were able to accomplish that this year, but there are some that definitely did not. There are teams that will head into the 2021 season in a worse situation than 2020 because of decisions made by the GM of the team. Here are three that were the biggest losers this offseason.

Green Bay Packers: Brian Gutekunst

The Packers find themselves in a very messy situation right now, and that is mostly because Aaron Rodgers is unhappy with the direction of the team. He feels so strongly that he has not yet reported to the team for camp and rumor has it that he will refuse to play for them this year. He wants out of Green Bay and at least for now is apparently insisting that he would rather sit out this season than play for the Packers if he is not traded to another team. If Rodgers is this unhappy, it is an epic fail by the front office lead by Gutekunst.

Like it or not, when an organization is lucky enough to have a quarterback like Rodgers, they must do everything in their power to keep him happy. He is a once-in-a-lifetime type of player and widely considered a top-five quarterback in NFL history. He is a three-time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl champion, and a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. For as long as he is there, the organization needs to cater to him. He gives the team a real chance to win every game each season no matter what the rest of the roster looks like. He is an absolute luxury and they should be grateful to have him. If organizational decisions have made Rodgers so unhappy that he refuses to play for them anymore, then Gutekunst failed massively at his job.

In addition to the Rodgers disaster, the Packers made some questionable roster moves this offseason as well. First, they gave running back Aaron Jones a big contract extension. This is a bit of an odd decision because they just used a second-round pick on AJ Dillon, who has looked good. The money used on Jones could have better been used to keep center Corey Linsley while transitioning the starting running back job to Dillon. The Packers also gave cornerback Kevin King an extension but still used a first-round draft pick on another corner, which is a questionable strategy as well. All things considered, Gutekunst had the worst offseason of any GM this year and if Rodgers really does not come back, it was historically terrible.

Indianapolis Colts: Chris Ballard

The Colts made an enormous gamble this offseason by trading for quarterback Carson Wentz, who struggled so much with the Eagles last season that he lost his starting job to rookie Jalen Hurts. A strong case can be made that Wentz was the worst starting quarterback in the entire NFL last season after throwing 15 interceptions in just 12 games and recording an abysmal 57 completion percentage. This didn’t stop Ballard from acquiring him in hopes that head coach Frank Reich could get Wentz back to his old form before the injuries and extreme drop-off in production. After all, Reich was with Wentz in Philadelphia when he was playing by far his football.

The idea that Wentz is going to magically return to an MVP candidate after how bad he has been, is a serious long shot. The move may have been worth the risk for Ballard if the price was cheap enough, but that is far from the case. Besides the huge financial burden that Wentz brings with him, which is over 20 million in 2021 and 27 million in 2022, the Colts had to surrender valuable draft picks as well. They sent to the Eagles a third-round pick in 2021 as well as a 2022 conditional pick that will be either a first or second-rounder. The condition is that if Wentz plays at least 75 percent of the snaps for the Colts this season, the pick becomes a first-rounder.

The condition set on the pick is a losing one for Ballard unless Wentz becomes a superstar immediately, which is highly unlikely right now. The Colts can only retain their first-round pick if Wentz does not play over 75 percent of the snaps. There are only two ways that can happen and neither of them is good. It would mean either Wentz once again got injured or he continues to play so terribly as he did with the Eagles that he loses his job in Indianapolis as well. If he does play enough snaps, he would have to have a spectacular season to justify the price tag of a first and third-round pick to go with a nearly 50 million dollar salary hit over the next two years. When weighing risk versus reward, this was a terrible trade by Ballard and is the reason why he was one of the biggest losers this offseason.

Las Vegas Raiders: Mike Mayock

What Mayock did to the Raiders offensive line this offseason was baffling. He turned one of the best units in the entire NFL into one of the worst and didn’t get any real value for it in return. Tackle Trent Brown and center Rodney Hudson are elite at their positions and two of the better offensive lineman in the entire league while guard Gabe Jackson is a very solid player as well. All three of them were traded away this offseason, in addition to two seventh-round draft picks, and in return, the Raiders received just one third-round pick and two fifth-round picks. Rebuilding and retooling is sometimes a good idea and maybe Mayock felt it was time to do that to the offensive line. The problem is not necessarily what he gave away but there is no denying that he did a terrible job at getting back proper value.

Since taking over as the GM of the Raiders, Mayock has been questionable at best when it comes to the NFL Draft. He has often reached on players by over-drafting them when they would likely be available for him to select at a later time. A good draft strategy should be about getting the best value for your selection and Mayock has not done a great job at that. This year was no different when he selected offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall pick. He may very well be a great tackle in the NFL but if that was the guy they wanted, they could have traded down to get him while receiving additional draft capital at the same time. Mayock did an awful job at maximizing the value of his transactions and that is why he had one of the worst offseasons.

3 reasons why Derek Carr won’t be traded anytime soon

Derek Carr trade unlikely to happen?

By: Jake Rajala

Derek Carr, the pocket passer that holds the most late-game comebacks in a quarterback’s first several seasons (20), has been in controversial trade rumors over the past couple of seasons. It’s unclear if Carr will follow in the footsteps of past former elite QBs like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, likely Aaron Rodgers, in switching uniforms in a high level of his career. 

As of right now, Carr is dedicating all of his energy to obtaining a Lombardi trophy in Las Vegas. Carr is so fixated in marriage to the Raiders that when asked about getting traded, this is how he responded, “I’d probably quit football if I had to play football for someone else”.

Carr’s allegiance to Las Vegas is unquestionable. The real inquiry is, “do the Raiders want Carr to be the face of their franchise forever?”. My response to that question: I believe so. 

I will outline the three reasons why Carr will remain the Raiders QB until the death star (Raiders stadium) is inhabitable.

  1. Carr will be the best “long term option” available 

The Raiders signal-caller isn’t only an elite caliber of talent, but he is only 30 years old. Carr is the same age as Taysom Hill, two years younger than Russell Wilson, and two years younger than Kirk Cousins. Carr has at least a decade of quality football left in him. 

As long as Carr is the franchise QB, the Raiders will have an excellent floor each season. The Raiders have improved from four wins to seven victories, to eight wins, under Jon Gruden’s reign. Even if the Raiders miss the playoffs or have an early postseason exit, they should be in a tough spot to acquire a decade-like talent at QB in the draft each year.

There have been talented QBs on the trade block, but the available QB options are no longer available, or the steam has left the QB’s camps. Deshaun Watson doesn’t appear tradeable at this point, Russell Wilson is staying in Seattle, Aaron Rodgers appears to be in a Denver uniform or staying in a Packer jersey, and Tua Tagovailoa will be a franchise QB in Miami if he improves, or below dealing for if he sinks.

To sum it up, Carr will always be the best long-term offseason option to start for the team moving forward. 

  1. The Raiders need to seriously focus on improving the defense

Gruden knows that improving a defensive unit that ranked 25th in 2020 is the highest priority on the horizon. The Raiders had issues against the pass (26th ranked) and opened the floodgates against the run (24th). The Raiders have made this defensive emphasis clear with four defenders getting drafted in the first four rounds of the 2020 NFL draft. 

LV acquired pass rusher Yannick Ngakouye and cornerback Casey Hayward in free agency this offseason. Holes still lie in the secondary for the Raiders defense. CB Damon Arnette hasn’t proven his worth as a first-rounder, while the safety position was an Achilles heel in 2020. Corey Littleton was a sneaky good signing last offseason at LB, but the team desperately needs more consistent production in the LB unit. 

In an AFC West division featuring MVP Patrick Mahomes, OROY Justin Herbert, and potentially Aaron Rodgers, the Raiders have to be featuring a competitive defense (at the very least) in the divisional gauntlet. A lackluster defense with a young, different face at QB could also put the Raiders in a massive hole in their very own division.

  1. Jon Gruden is a Derek Carr supporter

There have been false claims of Gruden wanting “his own guy” or in search of a different QB. This common, false report, can be put to the grave. Gruden AND Mayock firmly stand strong behind their QB held on a high pedestal. 

They’ve expressed their gratitude and defense for their QB after putting on a fantastic showcase in the 2020 season. Carr displayed a career high passer rating (101.4) last season. His personality of grittiness is also very similar to Gruden’s style in the locker room. 

Carr told Vinny Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review Journal that his relationship with Gruden is often misunderstood. He elaborated by saying “what people don’t understand is how close we are. Not just football, but off the field. Whether it’s him texting videos of his dog and what they’re doing, and I’m sending videos of my kids hitting baseballs in their first game. People don’t understand that.”


The young Carr had an amazing season of production in 2020. If Carr ousts another year of mastering the offense and capping elite numbers, the connection should only continue to grow in the upcoming years.

3 remaining free agent targets for the Raiders

The Raiders look to complete the offseason

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

As the NFL offseason continues to wind down, the Las Vegas Raiders are one of the teams that still have some available cap space to play with. This will allow them to continue shopping the free-agent market for players to improve their team for the upcoming season. There are still some high-quality players available and some of them would actually fill a need for the Raiders. All things considered, here are 3 potential signings that would make sense for them.

CB Richard Sherman

A ten-year veteran out of Stanford, the 32-year-old Richard Sherman is still one of the premier coverage corners in the entire league. He is big and strong for a corner which makes him highly effective in press coverage and what he lacks in speed, he more than makes up for with his elite intelligence. Sherman has had some injury concerns in recent years, but when he is on the field he is just as good as ever.

After back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013 where he recorded a career-high 8 interceptions in each season, opposing quarterbacks have wisely avoided throwing in his direction as much as possible since then. He has not recorded more than four interceptions in a single season since then, but it’s not because of a drop-off in his ball skills or athleticism, it’s because of the fear that opposing quarterbacks have of throwing in his direction. 

The Raiders defense struggled against the pass last year, allowing the 7th most passing yards per game with 263.3 and had the 5th least interceptions forced with only 10. Sherman could not only help the Raiders statistically, but he could also serve as a mentor for their very young group of defensive backs. He is a great fit for the Raiders and could help them in several different ways.

LB K.J. Wright

After being drafted out of Mississippi State, K.J. Wright has spent all ten of his NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. He has been a big part of their defensive success through the years, but for the first time, he is now a free agent. His career numbers are very solid, eclipsing 100 tackles in five different seasons while contributing in a variety of ways. Wright is a versatile linebacker who is just as good against the run as he is against the pass.

Wright would offer an immediate upgrade to the Raiders linebackers. It is one of their weakest position groups and was one of the main reasons for their defensive struggles a year ago. Last season they ranked 8th worst in the NFL in yards allowed per game with 389.1 and third-worst in points allowed per game with 29.9. The Raiders defense will need to be better than that if they want to be in the playoff picture this season. Signing a guy like Wright would help them get there.

OT Morgan Moses

Moses has spent all seven of his NFL seasons in Washington after being drafted out of Virginia but he was recently released. This is somewhat surprising considering how solid he has been. He has been both consistent and versatile with no real holes in his game and according to PFF, he is a top 10 right tackle in the NFL. At just 30 years old, he is a valuable asset and will be a big help to the team that signs him.

The Raiders are in the middle of completely rebuilding their offensive line. They have a bunch of young players at this position group looking to develop, so adding a proven veteran like Moses could really help them. He could be the anchor of this line and serve as the one reliable option in a group with a lot of question marks around them. If the Raiders can’t protect Derek Carr and open running lanes for Josh Jacobs, they are going to struggle to win games this year. Moses would be a big help for them.

Why Josh Jacobs is really Due for the Rushing Title

RB Josh Jacobs will finally get the rushing yard crown in 2021

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

Josh Jacobs is still somewhat under the radar, but the running back for the Las Vegas Raiders has quickly become one of the best in the NFL. Now entering his third season in the league, he is just now hitting his prime years for the position. He was excellent in each of his first two campaigns, but there is good reason to believe that he will improve even further this upcoming season.

Jacobs is a big and powerful back at 5’10 and 220 pounds. He fits the mold of Alabama running backs in the NFL, joining veterans Derrick Henry and Mark Ingram, as well as rookie Najee Harris. The Crimson Tide backs run with violent intentions by embracing contact, but also have the burst of speed to break away in the open field. Like the rest of this group, Jacobs is a workhorse who is willing and able to carry a very heavy load.

It’s fair to expect a huge year from Jacobs, and it just might be time for him to break through and win the rushing title. Before looking ahead to this coming season, let’s first look back at his previous two. He has not only been a highly productive rusher but extremely consistent as well.

2019 Season Recap

After being selected late in the first round of the NFL Draft, Jacobs put together a solid rookie season with the Raiders. He accumulated 242 carries for 1150 yards, which works out to 4.8 yards per carry, and 7 touchdowns. In all four of those statistical categories, he ranked in the top 15 in the NFL. Maybe most importantly, he ranked third overall in rushing yards per game with 88.5, behind only Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb.

2020 Season Recap

After a successful rookie campaign in which Jacobs was one of the top running backs in the league, he followed it up with a similarly productive second season and even increased his output in some statistical categories. He ranked third in the league in carries with 273, eighth in yards with 1065, fourth in touchdowns with 12, and tenth in yards per game with 71.

Raiders Team Trends

Since they drafted Jacobs, the Raiders are in the top ten in the NFL in rushing attempts per game over the last two seasons combined. Philosophically, they are an offense that wants to commit the rushing game and then work off of the play-action from there. This just means that there will be plenty of opportunities for Jacobs to carry the ball.

It’s also important to point out that he is a true feature back and there is nobody on their current roster to really challenge him for carries. He has already accounted for nearly 60 percent of the carries and rushing yards since joining the team, and it is realistic to believe that percentage could go even higher.

2021 Season Outlook

The commitment that the Raiders have shown to the rushing game, as well as the confidence they have displayed in Jacobs, give a good reason to believe that he will get another heavy load this season. Pair that with the fact that he has already demonstrated great talent and could very well improve even further this year, and his expectations are soaring high.

Something important that the Raiders did this offseason that could potentially help the production of Jacobs is attempting to improve the offensive line. They did so by bringing in five rookies, including using their 17th overall pick in the NFL Draft on Alex Leatherwood, a tackle from Alabama. It’s a young unit, and one that is being rebuilt, but it could be better than it was a year ago when it all comes together.

In conclusion, Jacobs has been one of the best running backs in the NFL since joining the Raiders two years ago. His solid and steady production and improvement, paired with the organizational commitment to his abilities, indicate that he could be due for a real breakout year. It will take a monster season to dethrone Derrick Henry, but don’t be at all surprised if Jacobs wins the rushing title this season. It’s time for him to come out from under the radar and into the spotlight.

Reflecting on the Khalil Mack trade: Who won?

Who won the Khalil Mack trade?

By: Jake Rajala

The dust has cleared away and It’s been nearly three years since one of the biggest NFL trades of the decade occurred. The trade that shocked the football world: Las Vegas Raiders trade Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. The disgruntled All-Pro Mack was shipped along with a second-round pick and a fifth-round pick to the Bears for two first-rounders, a third-rounder, and a sixth-rounder. The question begs to ask as a few years have passed: which team won the blockbuster exchange?

What did the Raiders get?

Let’s start with the more mysterious case. The Raiders used the draft choices they garnered in the trade on Josh Jacobs, Damon Arnette, and Bryan Edwards. Jacobs has 2,215 combined rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns in his first two seasons. CB Damon Arnette was a rookie last year, but had bright moments and proved to be a locked-in starter heading into 2021. Then last, but not least: Bryan Edwards. Edwards had a mere 11 receptions for 193 yards and hasn’t shown yet that he will be a long-term fit in Gruden’s design.

At first glance, it may appear that the Raiders used the picks to get a few starting-caliber players. After looking closer, it’s evident that Las Vegas didn’t get a highly gifted asset, nor multiple profiles that seem to change the tide of the game. Jacobs was a quality addition, but there’s lots of reason to believe the Raiders would have found a player at the less prioritized RB position with near the same production.

The Raiders cleared lots of money off the books with pardoning Mack, but haven’t broken the bank on any notable acquisitions to date. There’s little reason to believe that any extensions would have been impossible by retaining the All-Pro defender.

What did the Bears get?

The Bears were gifted a future Hall of Fame pass rusher from Gruden’s squad. Mack was a Defensive Player of The Year type of player for the Raiders and continued to be top of the barrel in the Windy City. 

Mack knocked out 12.5 sacks and was All-Pro in his first year of vengeance as a Bear. Over the past two seasons, Mack registered 8.5+ sacks each year. Mack hasn’t reclaimed his All-Pro status, but his attention has been met in nearly every game. His contributions have also been indispensable amid a team that’s reached the playoffs with dreadful QB performances.

The Bears have reached the playoffs and now have found a very talented franchise QB in Justin Fields, despite giving up the hefty draft compensation. There have been glimpses of damage put on the Bears offense with its lack of talent, but they’ve leaned on their defense — which has come through on plenty of occasions. On the outlook, Mack is only 30 years old and clearly holds a few more seasons of high performance. 

Verdict:

The Bears win the Khalil Mack trade. The Raiders discovered a quality RB in Josh Jacobs, along with a couple of other quality contributors. Yet, Gruden’s choices of talent to be picked with the draft picks obtained from the Mack trade and extra cap space have not even obtained an elite standard as a whole. Mack continues to be a player that changes the game — whether he’s making the play, or creating opportunities for another teammate. The Bears hold an elite Hall of Fame player on a team that’s found their franchise QB and will look to return to the playoffs in the competitive NFC North

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