Josh McDaniels wants QB who can 'be a Raider for a long time'

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Tuesday, February 28, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS -- Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said Tuesday that he would meet with "most of the quarterbacks" at this week's NFL combine and gave a sense of what the Raiders are looking for as their search for a new QB continues.

"They've got to get us into the end zone, and, ultimately, we've got to win," said McDaniels, who is entering his second season with Las Vegas.

"It's not one-size-fits-all, but there's a lot of things you're looking for if you're going to commit to them. ... The goal eventually is try to have a young player that's going to be a Raider for a long time."

Although McDaniels has had four quarterbacks with four markedly different skill sets the past four years -- with Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Mac Joneswhen he was offensive coordinator for the New England Patriotsand Derek Carr in Las Vegas last season -- he said, "Our system's going to fit the player. They don't have to [have] a specific set of traits. If they have talents that we can use in other ways, then we're going to use them."

McDaniels also said benching Carr late last season had nothing to do with a potential pursuit of Brady, who instead retired.

With the release of Carr, the team's starter since 2014 and holder of most team passing records, on Feb. 14 and Jarrett Stidham hitting free agency, Chase Garbers is the only quarterback under contract with Las Vegas.

The Raiders hold the No. 7 draft pick but would likely have to trade up to get any of the top three prospects at the position -- Alabama's Bryce Young, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, Kentucky's Will Levis -- and have also been linked to Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo and Stidham.

"The goal for us, eventually, is to have somebody that's going to be here for a long time," McDaniels said. "You see the teams that are having success right now in our league, our conference and specifically in our division, they're young players that were drafted by their clubs and they're being developed there under the same continuity.

"Do I think you have to do that if you're not sure or sold on the player and now you're making a mistake just to try and say that you're trying to solve a problem? I don't think that's really a smart decision. ... So we're going to do everything we can do to evaluate every player at that position, both in the draft and free agency, and try to do what we can do to improve the room. I mean, there's certainly going to be a number of players added at that position."

McDaniels was asked specifically about the 6-foot, 194-pound Young, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner.

"There's different ways to throw, so if you lack height, you have to find some windows sometimes and it's about their ability to see through the rush, into the defense, and read the coverage properly," McDaniels said. "I'm not sure anybody's done it better than Bryce here for a while in college football. Height is not a prerequisite, and I think you see that now with, look, Russell [Wilson has] had a great career. Kyler Murray has been really good for his short time in the league. There's other really good players in the league that lack the ideal 6-foot-4-inch height that we used to have.

"Fifteen, 20 years ago, everyone was kind of looking for the same thing. College football is different. It's producing a lot of different types of players. And guys can figure out how to throw the ball. So, to me, when you're watching the tape, if the height doesn't impact his ability to find open receivers, throw the ball well and accurately, and his body size hasn't been a problem relative to overall durability, then I think you've just got to evaluate the player."

McDaniels said he and general manager Dave Ziegler, also in his second year with the Raiders, would "recalibrate" after the combine.

"Once we identify who's going to be [the quarterback], there's certainly an expectation that we're going to get good play out of that position," McDaniels said. "We have to get good play out of this position because if we don't, it's difficult to win in this league. That's my job."

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