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Raiders still have their eye on quarterback in the draft

The Raiders found their backup quarterback on Tuesday in veteran Brian Hoyer. But the addition of the 14-year veteran on a two-year contract does not mean they won’t select a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft.

In fact, adding Hoyer, who played under Raiders coach Josh McDaniels for parts of four seasons when McDaniels was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, gives the club a security net behind new starter Jimmy Garoppolo but also an ideal veteran mentor and support system for the young prospect they are expected to add in the draft.

As McDaniels recently explained, the Raiders want to identify their quarterback of the future.

“I think the goal though is to try to eventually draft a player at that position that you continue to move forward with and develop,” McDaniels said.

In fact, it almost seems inevitable they will add another quarterback through the draft.

“I would love to have a quarterback room that’s got guys that are young, developing, under contract, that you can continue to work with every year,” McDaniels said. “As opposed to try to do the veteran route every season. So, we’ll see how it goes and how this next month and a half shakes out.”

The biggest question is, at what point in the draft do the Raiders pull the quarterback lever?

The Raiders have not ruled out any scenario, according to people with knowledge of their thinking. That includes drafting a quarterback with the seventh pick overall. Or perhaps even trading up in the draft to select their preferred target.

The consensus among talent evaluators is that Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud are the top two quarterback prospects in the draft. The Raiders were in the mix to acquire the first pick overall, seemingly with the intent of choosing between those two. But the Chicago Bears opted to trade that pick to the Carolina Panthers.

Carolina is expected to draft either Young or Stroud, although the sense is they are still sorting through all the various options. Whichever quarterback they decide on, it will leave the Texans, who are drafting second overall, in position to grab either Stroud or Young.

There remains an outside chance the Texans could draft Kentucky’s Will Levis or Florida’s Anthony Richardson, who are slotted right behind Young and Stroud.

That leaves the Cardinals, who are drafting number three, in an enviable position. With Kyler Murray in the fold, they are not expected to draft a quarterback. As a result, they can leverage their position to create an advantageous trade-down scenario with a quarterback-needy club.

The Raiders could figure into that equation, depending on where their quarterback evaluation leads them. McDaniels, general manager Dave Ziegler and assistant general manager Champ Kelly have been heavily involved in the quarterback fact-checking over the last month, and a combination of all three have been prominent presences at the Pro Day workouts for Young, Stroud and Richardson.

The group also met with Levis before his Pro Day and then hosted the former Kentucky standout this week as part of the 30 private prospect visits each NFL team is allowed. Richardson is scheduled to visit their Henderson practice facility next week as part of those visits.

On one hand, by adding Garoppolo and Hoyer this offseason the Raiders lessened the need to reach for a quarterback at number seven or give up valuable assets to trade for one.

On the other hand, the presence of Garoppolo and Hoyer is also conducive to adding a young prospect who will learn from them over the next year or so. Even one they trade up to secure.

Both Richarson and Levis profile as developmental prospects who might not be ready to start day one of their NFL careers. Each, however, has high-ceiling potential that, if reached, could yield upper-echelon quarterbacks in the future.

One or both could be available at number seven. But if the Raiders are convinced one or the other is too good to let slip through their grasp, they would not hesitate to trade up for them.

If the Raiders opt against using their first selection on a quarterback, they will have opportunities at various points in the draft to circle back to that position.

Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, Stanford’s Tanner McKee and Fresno State’s Jake Haener are among a group of quarterbacks who could be available on day two of the draft and beyond.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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