3. Las Vegas Raiders need a starting-quality quarterback
What a season it has been for the Las Vegas Raiders. After a Week 8 loss to the Detroit Lions, Raiders owner Mark Davis fired head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler less than two years into their tenure. The locker room was divided with McDaniels at the helm, with players voicing their displeasure over the head coach. To fill in for the rest of the season, Davis promoted linebackers coach Antonio Pierce to interim head coach. As it turns out, Pierce was just the coach the Raiders needed.
Upon taking over, Pierce led the Raiders to five wins in nine games, including a victory over the rival Kansas City Chiefs on Christmas Day. After the season, Davis planned on conducting a search to find a head coach. But after learning from his error of moving on from Rich Bisaccia after the 2021 season and from hearing from the likes of Maxx Crosby and Davante Adams vouch for Pierce, Davis removed the interim tag. Thus, Pierce was the permanent head coach starting in 2024.
While this was a no-brainer for the Raiders, Pierce has to figure out the quarterback position.
Upon taking over as interim coach, Pierce immediately sent Jimmy Garoppolo to the bench, who went 3-3 in six starts immediately after signing a three-year, $72.75 million contract months prior.
Filling in for the Raiders was Aidan O'Connell, a rookie out of Purdue. O'Connell led the Raiders to five wins in 10 starts while throwing for 2,218 yards, 12 touchdowns, and seven interceptions on a 62.1 completion percentage.
While O'Connell filled in admirably, it's unknown if he can be the team's quarterback of the future. With the AFC West having Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, the Raiders need to find a long-term answer. Moving up to draft a Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, or even a Caleb Williams if he falls down draft boards would be the best move possible for the Raiders.