NFL

NFL Draft Betting: Are the Raiders Hunting a Quarterback With Their First Pick in 2024?

Austin Swaim
Austin SwaimASwaim3
NFL Draft Betting: Are the Raiders Hunting a Quarterback With Their First Pick in 2024?

The Las Vegas Raiders arguably went into the offseason with the most positivity of any 8-9 team in NFL history.

After shedding a struggling Josh McDaniels (and general manager Dave Ziegler) on Halloween, the Raiders appointed Antonio Pierce as the interim head coach, and the former New York Giants star became an instant hit. Las Vegas closed the year with a 5-4 record in Pierce's tenure, headlined by a Christmas Day win over the Kansas City Chiefs that represented K.C.'s final loss of the year.

Of course, the Raiders were doing this without a franchise signal-caller, as rookie Aidan O'Connell didn't even complete a second-half pass in the Chiefs win. Las Vegas' defense was third in numberFire's Offensive Net Expected Points (NEP) per play allowed after Pierce took over (-0.06).

The Raiders signed Gardner Minshew early in free agency to a mid-level contract, and they also added Christian Wilkins as a running mate for Maxx Crosby. That's left plenty of ambiguity as to their particular strategy in this year's draft.

FanDuel Sportsbook has NFL Draft odds available for which position a wide range of teams will take with their first pick. Let's look at the Raiders' odds and which position seems like the best bet.

NFL Draft Odds

Position of Las Vegas' First Pick
Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)
Offensive Lineman+140
Cornerback+185
Quarterback+400
Defensive Line/EDGE+650
Wide Receiver+1400
Tight End+10000

Offensive Lineman (+140)

While the Raiders would love to upgrade Minshew or O'Connell to a bonafide franchise quarterback, the 13th overall pick gives them minimal access to do so. That's why other positions are favored in this market.

If they can't snag a signal-caller, offensive line would make plenty of sense. Former first-rounder Kolton Miller holds down their left tackle spot well, and center Andre James was inked to a new deal. Every other position would likely welcome competition, and that's especially true at right tackle after Jermaine Eluemunor left for the Big Apple in free agency.

However, this was PFF's 10th-ranked unit last year, and pieces like Dylan Parham and Thayer Munford Jr. will still return to it.

Nonetheless, this is a deep class for tackles, and any of Oregon State's Taliese Fuaga, Washington's Troy Fautanu, Penn State's Olu Fashanu, and Alabama's J.C. Latham would be a huge boost to this unit that'll likely need to rely on the run and protect a below-average passer.

Cornerback (+185)

With just slightly longer odds than offensive line, it wouldn't be overly surprising to see Pierce -- and new GM Tom Telesco -- add to his native side of the ball.

Telesco drafted Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and Jerry Tillery in the first during his time with the Los Angeles Chargers, and there's really one logical place for Vegas to add in the first round.

Anchored by Crosby, Wilkins, and 2023 first-round pick Tyree Wilson, the Raiders' defensive line is one of the best in football. You don't take linebackers early in drafts. They'd add in the secondary, which already has decent safeties in Trevon Moehrig and Marcus Epps.

Jack Jones was a huge addition for the Raiders after the New England Patriots let him go; he intercepted Patrick Mahomes twice on Christmas and added another highlight in the Raiders' 63-21 win over the Chargers. He could use a running mate, though.

That's why Alabama's Terrion Arnold and Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell are commonly mocked by national sources to Las Vegas, but Iowa's Cooper Dejean and Clemson's Nate Wiggins could be options if the board shakes that way.

Quarterback (+400)

Of course, there's no doubting Las Vegas' true largest need.

You don't enter an NFL season with Gardner Minshew and Aidan O'Connell and expect to win a Super Bowl, and the Raiders' offense is loaded with weapons like Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, and Michael Mayer -- along with a plus offensive line -- that seems ripe as a plug-and-play contender.

It appears truly two quarterbacks are realistically on Las Vegas' draft board if the market shakes out their way. Antonio Pierce's existing relationship with LSU's Jayden Daniels has been floated in media circles for a while after J.D. even thanked Pierce in his Heisman Trophy speech. If the Washington Commanders and New England Patriots pass on Daniels for other quarterbacks, Pierce and the Raiders could get extremely aggressive to move up and select him.

The other circulating name is UDub's Michael Penix Jr., who starred in front of Vegas reps at his pro day to the point where the odds to select Michael Penix Jr. at FanDuel Sportsbook now show the Raiders (+380) as the betting favorite. Penix is a far more likely possibility at the #13 slot.

Personally, I'd wager here with the other positions not extreme areas of need. With Michigan's J.J. McCarthy seemingly moving up draft boards, it's not a foregone conclusion an unpolished passer like Daniels wouldn't slip to a spot where Telesco executes his owner's wishes.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.