2019 NFL Draft: Jon Gruden Praises Duke QB Daniel Jones, Meets with Will Grier

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2019

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 18:  Head Coach John Gruden of the Oakland Raiders walks onto the field prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on November 18, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

Although he effectively gave Derek Carr a vote of confidence in December, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden appears to be keeping all of his options open ahead of the 2019 NFL draft in April.

Speaking to reporters during the buildup to the Senior Bowl on Saturday, Gruden said Duke Blue Devils quarterback Daniel Jones "will be a first-round pick," per the draft's official Twitter accountAlthough Jones had one more year of eligibility at Duke, he said Tuesday he decided to enter the draft after the NFL's advisory board gave him a first-round grade, per the Miami Herald's Adam Beasley.

According to The Athletic's Joseph Person, Gruden also said he met with Will Grier and was impressed with the West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback.

Gruden discussed Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray as well and how the 5'10" Oklahoma Sooners passer is forcing him to shift his attitudes toward the quarterback position.

"I used to think that a lot, until I saw Drew Brees twice a year in Tampa, then I met Russell Wilson coming out of NC State," Gruden said, per Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith. "Now I'm watching this kid, Murray, coming out of Oklahoma and I'm putting away all the prototypes I once had. I used to have a prototype for hand size, height, arm strength, all that stuff."

Although Murray already has a minor league deal in place with the Oakland Athletics, who selected him in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft, he announced earlier this month he was declaring for the NFL draft.

Carr is under contract through 2022, and he had a career-high 4,049 yards in 2018. Still, some fans couldn't ignore the seemingly frustrated glances Carr and Gruden exchanged during the season. Carr also finished 21st in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement) among qualified quarterbacks on Football Outsiders.

The Raiders do have an out should they want to go in a different direction this offseason. According to Over the Cap, Oakland would save $15 million, with $7.5 million counting against the salary cap in dead money, if it released Carr before June 1. Were they to wait until after June 1, the Raiders would save $20 million while carrying $2.5 million in dead money annually over the next three years.

Considering his team owns the No. 4, 24 and 27 overall picks, Gruden will have plenty of chances to land the quarterback of his choosing if he's not sold on Carr as the long-term option.

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