Jon Gruden’s a mad man. This isn’t a debate or a poll. It’s just a fact. The 10-year, $100 million dollar man not only required autonomous control of the franchise when he signed his deal this offseason, but just a few months in and he’s already using it to the full extent of its powers — well, maybe not full, he has yet to get Reggie McKenzie fired, which is next.
In the span of two months, Gruden has managed to already trade away his team’s best defensive player, their best offensive player, ruin the confidence of their franchise QB (who could also be traded), has already cut one of the young, highly-drafted members of their secondary and has two more young, highly-drafted members of the secondary on the trade block to be moved any minute now.
Gruden is taking the Raiders’ roster to ground zero, and I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life.
Gruden likely won’t stop until there is no trace of the old regime anywhere on the depth chart, but he will eventually have to start rebuilding it with his own handiwork. So far, that will be to the tune of three first round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and a basket full of picks after that throughout the weekend.
It appears that Derek Carr is not wanted by Gruden, and likely won’t be around long one way or the other. But it’s not like Gruden is a bigger fan of A.J. McCarron. There will likely come a time in 2019 where Gruden makes the move for a quarterback, and we expect that to come through the draft.
But if Carr isn’t a Gruden quarterback, than who is? We’ve watched Gruden’s QB Camp for years, and we can remember some of the quarterbacks he coached in Tampa Bay long ago.
Does Gruden have a type? I think he does.
Here are three quarterbacks that are draft-eligible this year that best fit the mold of a “Gruden QB”.
Brett Rypien, Boise State
While in Tampa Bay, Gruden worked with the likes of Brian Griese and Chris Simms. Those guys didn’t have the best arms in the world, but they did what was asked of them within a system. They had experience and they were going to take the game as it came to them.
That is certainly a characteristic of a Gurden quarertback; consistency — predictability. If his track of quarterbacks in the NFL tell us anything, Gruden can’t stand guys who are high variance. I mean, he even passed on drafting Aaron Rodgers when he had the chance.
Rypien is an experienced starter for Boise State who has a decent arm but a ton of consistency. He’s never thrown double digit interceptions in a single season in his four years in college, and his completion percentage is at an all-time high this year.
Rypien might not be a guy Gruden takes super high in the draft, but he’s a Gruden fit.
Easton Stick, North Dakota State
Another guy who could be a sneaky good fit in Gruden’s mind is NDSU quarertback Easton Stick.
Though Gruden still needed an element of predicability, he did show a liking towards more athletic signal callers and guys who could extend plays with their legs late in his tenure with Tampa Bay when he started Bruce Gradkowski and Jeff Garcia.
Stick definitely has some Garcia in him. Stick is a tough kid who is also an extremely high character guy. After Carson Wentz went down with a broken wrist in 2015, Stick, then a redshirt freshman, took over and led the Bison to a National Championship Game berth. In that game, however, Wentz was healthy enough to play again and Stick humbly gave Wentz his spot back. That’s the team-first stuff Gruden might eat up.
Stick, like Garcia and Gradkowski, is a smaller, more mobile quarterback. He’s not one to take major risks and instead understands where to go with the ball to move it down the field. Stick is a winner, he’s won over 40 games in college with only three losses, and I imagine that kind of cheesy crap will still mean a lot to Gruden.
Stick is a Gruden fit.
Daniel Jones, Duke
Duke’s Daniel Jones is the ultimate Gruden fit, and you know why? Because he’s as close to Brad Johnson as Gruden is going to get.
I understand that some of you might roll your eyes at that, but I was at the press conference in Tampa Bay when it was announced Gruden was going into the Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor. Gruden gave a speech about his time in Tampa Bay, and one guy he couldn’t stop gushing about was Brad Johnson, who he invited and was there in the crowd that day.
Paraphrasing Gruden’s words, Johnson was a bull. He was a tough son of a gun who played through pain. He laid it all on the line for the team. He was also smart. He knew when to throw it away and when to take a shot down the field. Johnson wasn’t gifted with the best arm or the most mobile legs, but in Gruden’s offense during the Super Bowl Era, he was perfect for what Gruden wanted to do — be consistent. Gruden relished Johnson and said that to this day they don’t make many like him.
Jones is close.
Jones is a 6-foot-5, big bodied quarterback who is also tough as nails. He had surgery on his shoulder earlier this year and was back practicing nine days later. Jones isn’t afraid to throw the ball away and he isn’t afraid to push it down field when he needs to.
It appears Gruden is still stuck in some of his old ways, and when it comes to picking his next quarterback, I feel like he will have flashbacks to Brad Johnson when he interviews and studies Daniel Jones.
Don’t be surprised if he gets nostalgic.