ESPN Predicts Raiders Trade for ‘Controversial’ Star to Take Over QB Job

Raiders potential 2025 draftee Shedeur Sanders

Getty Raiders potential 2025 draftee Shedeur Sanders

It might be a year late as far as Raiders fans are concerned, but finally, in 2025, the team will land its quarterback of the future with a major draft-day trade. And what a quarterback: It’s Shedeur Sanders, the controversial Colorado star who captivated the college football world early last year but slid back when the Buffaloes fell apart after the first three games.

That is according to ESPN, which released draft analyst Jordan Reid’s early mock draft last week. Without the crowd of top-rated quarterbacks in 2025, Reid foresees the Raiders being able to move up via trade to No. 6 to take a crack at drafting Sanders, considered by many to be the top QB prospect in 2025.

A talented pass-catching crew would be awaiting Sanders, of course.

“With Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers and Brock Bowers on offense, the Raiders can set up a young passer really well. And Sanders is a smooth operator whose game centers on his great ball placement (69.3% completion rate last season, eighth in the FBS) and calm demeanor when protected in the pocket,” Reid wrote.

Shedeur Sanders Had Hot Start at Colorado

After two stellar seasons at Jackson State playing for his father, Deion Sanders, Shedeur Sanders followed his father to Boulder last year, and made an immediate splash, when he threw for 510 yards and four touchdowns against 16th-ranked TCU in his Colorado debut. That was followed by a hot streak that left him with a 3-0 record, 1,451 yards and 10 touchdowns in three games against major-conference foes.

But the Buffaloes went 1-7 after that headline-grabbing start. Sanders might have entered the 2024 NFL draft, except that questions emerged, primarily about his talent as a pocket-passer and his ability to adhere to his internal clock.

Last year’s draft was top-heavy on quarterbacks, with six picked in the first 12 selections. So Sanders stayed in school. But he says that if he had not, he’d have been the top pick. At the very least, he might have seen to it that the Raiders still have a quarterback on the board at No. 13.

“I’m biased, but I don’t see a quarterback that’s better than me,” Sanders told Sports Illustrated’s Brice Butler during Super Bowl week. “I don’t see a quarterback that went through as much adversity as me, that had four [offensive coordinators] in four years.

“Coming from an HBCU, coming to a Power Five [program], having real pressure on me. A lot of people don’t understand, that’s a lot more adversity than you think just even being the son of Deion Sanders.”

Raiders Might Welcome Controversy at QB

Sanders has courted controversy elsewhere, too. Last week, after defensive back Xavier Smith transferred out of Colorado, he told The Athletic that Deion Sanders “never even tried to get to know me,” Shedeur snapped back, calling Smith “very mid” and saying he did not know who he was.

He was also dubbed “controversial” last season after he taunted the Arizona State student section following one of Colorado’s four wins.

Not a good look for a leader. But the Raiders have never been a team to shy away from controversy.

The bigger question is whether the Raiders feel they need a quarterback after 2024. It’s entirely possible that either Gardner Minshew or Aidan O’Connell—the team’s current tandem—wins the job, leads a playoff run and puts fears about the position to the side.

If not, maybe it’s Sanders season. He just needs to get better, at least on the field.

“He took 52 sacks in 2023 behind a struggling offensive line, so Sanders’ internal clock must speed up before he gets to the next level; he tends to compound mistakes by holding on to the ball too long. But he has a ton of talent and can certainly be the answer for Las Vegas. I see a lot of similarities to Geno Smith in his game,” Reid wrote.

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