Jon Gruden has been publicly steadfast in his support of Derek Carr.
That doesn't mean the Kyler Murray rumors are going away.
Peter King of NBC Sports reported the Raiders coach "loves" Murray and that Oakland "bears watching" as a potential destination.
Much of the attention out of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis has focused on the Arizona Cardinals' possibly selecting Murray with the first overall pick. The Oklahoma product measured in at 5'10" and 207 pounds, numbers that were above some expectations and assuaged some concerns. Given the biggest worry about Murray as a prospect was his size, he's now considered a real contender at No. 1.
Gruden told reporters at the Senior Bowl his opinions on quarterback size have changed:
"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, and now I'm watching this kid, [Kyler] 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."
Those comments led to speculation the Raiders would take Murray in April, which Gruden attempted to dispel at the combine.
"People try to read between the lines," Gruden told reporters. "Some guy asked me a question at the Senior Bowl about Kyler Murray and all of a sudden … honest to God, Jiminy Christmas. People will write whatever they want."
Gruden further clarified that Carr is the team's "franchise quarterback." Carr, a three-time Pro Bowler, threw for 4,049 yards and 19 touchdowns against 10 interceptions last season. His 19 touchdowns were the fewest of his career, and he also had a career-high 12 fumbles. Football Outsiders ranked him as the 22nd-best quarterback in football last season.
If Gruden believes Murray can be in the same sentence as Brees and Wilson, he should do everything in his power to ensure the Heisman winner lands in Oakland. Carr is a fine but ultimately middling quarterback. You're going to need an incredible team around him to compete for a championship. Players like Brees and Wilson can lift up lesser teams and use their brilliance to push them into contention; quarterbacks of Carr's caliber cannot.
There would also be a trade market for Carr if the Raiders went in that direction. That said, the Cardinals may ensure Oakland never gets the chance to make that decision.