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Raiders coach expected to push for aggressive draft moves for QB

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Raiders get a chance to reassess where they stand roster-wise at the NFL’s annual league meetings this week.

It appears first-year coach Antonio Pierce and general manager Tom Telesco are halfway there on their to-do list so far. It’s up to Telesco to complete the next step on the agenda, which is convincing a team at the top of the draft to trade its pick so the Raiders can select their next franchise quarterback.

Telesco checked a major box previously by prying defensive tackle Christian Wilkins away from the cap-strapped Dolphins. That gave Pierce the impact interior defender he wanted next to edge rusher Maxx Crosby.

It’s a different story on the other side of the ball. The Raiders still need starters at right tackle and right guard, as well as depth on the offensive line and at wide receiver.

The team, above all else, needs a quarterback it can go to battle with against the slew of premier passers it faces in its division and conference.

The Raiders do have veteran Gardner Minshew and second-year player Aidan O’Connell. And O’Connell will be given a chance to compete for his starting job.

Pierce isn’t naive, however. He understands he needs a game-changing quarterback to compete for a Super Bowl. The Raiders haven’t had one in decades. Pierce wants to change that as soon as possible.

The question is how.

The Raiders have the 13th overall pick in April’s draft and are out of range for the top four quarterback prospects. That includes Jayden Daniels, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at Louisiana State. Pierce has known Daniels since the prospect was a skinny 14-year-old high schooler in Southern California.

Pierce, a self-described go-getter, will no doubt push and prod Telesco to do whatever it takes to get Daniels. Or North Carolina’s Drake Maye or Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

The Commanders, who hold the second overall pick, need a quarterback but also have a lot of other holes on their roster. They’re fielding trade calls and are open to at least listening to offers, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Pierce has displayed a wise perspective on micro and macro issues in his short time at the helm. He doesn’t want to sabotage the Raiders’ long-term plans for short-term goals. But if the Commanders are open for business, it sure seems like he’s going to be a constant presence in Telesco’s ear telling him to do what it takes to make it happen.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore atvbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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