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Raiders coach says ‘everything’s on the table’ in April’s NFL draft

Updated March 28, 2024 - 7:00 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. — It was obvious Antonio Pierce was going to field a question about Louisiana State quarterback Jayden Daniels the minute he sat down to chat with the media Monday at the NFL’s annual league meetings.

Daniels is more than just the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and a top quarterback prospect in April’s draft. He and Pierce share a connection that goes back to when Daniels was a high school star in Southern California.

That relationship, coupled with the Raiders’ need for a franchise quarterback, has created an assumption the two could reunite in Las Vegas. The team would need to move up from the 13th overall pick to make that happen.

Pierce has made it clear he wants to be aggressive. So it was only a matter of time before he was asked about the possibility.

“So are you moving up to get Jayden, or what?” someone asked Pierce.

“You got the pick?” Pierce responded. “Can you go make that happen, please?”

Pierce could not have been clearer about what he wants. He isn’t the type to hide his feelings in the name of secrecy. He’s keeping himself to all options.

“I think everything’s on the table,” Pierce said. “Whatever makes the Raiders better, I’m all for. When I say I’m a go-getter, meaning whatever it takes to win, whatever it takes to get the best player to make our team the best, that’s what I want to do and that’s what I’d like to see us do.”

The Commanders and Patriots hold the second and third picks in the draft, respectively. Both teams have expressed a willingness to explore trade-down scenarios.

Broncos coach Sean Payton pointed out Monday everyone has a price. Denver owns the 12th pick — one spot ahead of the Raiders — and Payton said it is “realistic” the team could move up to take a quarterback.

The Raiders are in the same boat. And Pierce is willing to do what it takes to make it happen.

“I’m always going to be aggressive,” Pierce said. “I want to win. That’s just in my nature.”

Of course, Pierce need to rely on general manager Tom Telesco to get it done.

Telesco’s measured approach balances Pierce’s passion. Pierce said it’s good to have Telesco around “to calm me down.”

The Raiders did meet with most of the top quarterback prospects at the NFL scouting combine. They will host most of them for private visits at their Henderson facility.

Daniels, who threw for 3,812 yards and 40 touchdowns last season, appears to be at the top of Pierce’s list. Daniels also had 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

“One thing about him that separates from the rest is his ability to run,” Pierce said. “He can run, run. He can run like that in the SEC and put up those kinds of numbers. I think that translates very well.”

Other top quarterbacks in the mix are North Carolina’s Drake Maye, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

The group’s depth should play in the Raiders’ favor if they can’t trade up.

“I don’t think you can go wrong with this year’s draft,” Pierce said.

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

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