The Raiders are meeting with former Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert on an official top-30 visit. Well, the term “visit” might be a stretch considering nobody is allowed inside NFL facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pre-draft meetings still are happening, but those face-to-face interactions now are done over FaceTime or Zoom or Skype or whatever video conferencing platform you prefer.
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Herbert will be meeting with the Raiders in this way, as the Silver and Black try to refine their options in the NFL draft.
Each team gets 30 meetings during the pre-draft process, though they’re often used on players from lower rounds or with character questions they need to examine further.
This meeting is sure to raise some eyebrows considering Herbert’s position and eventual draft status, but this should be viewed as an exploratory exercise of the Raiders doing due diligence.
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Herbert should be taken in the NFL draft’s top 10, well before the Raiders draft at Nos. 12 and 19. The Raiders have the capital to trade up in the draft if they choose, but it would be costly to move up high enough to get beyond the quarterback starved Miami Dolphins at No. 5 and the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 6.
They also have a quality quarterback room with Derek Carr as the starter and Marcus Mariota as the backup. There are far more pressing needs at receiver, cornerback and safety and maybe defensive line that could use talent available in the first round.
It’s possible the Raiders draft a quarterback later in the draft, but it seems unlikely in the first round.
Let’s also recall that the Raiders met with top quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins before last year’s draft and didn’t take either guy.
While the Raiders don’t have an immediate need at quarterback, general manager Mike Mayock always says the team will consider upgrades at every position. Head coach Jon Gruden loves meeting with quarterbacks and learning how they think.
Herbert is ranked high among the NFL draft’s best options at quarterback, typically third behind Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa. He has ideal size for a quarterback at 6-foot-6 and 236 pounds, with great arm strength and field vision. He can throw on the move and is confident throwing the ball downfield and making smart decisions going with shorter and intermediate options.
NBC Sports Bay Area’s latest mock draft has Herbert going No. 5 to the Dolphins.
NFL Network also reported that Herbert has a video conference scheduled with the Bolts.