Antonio Pierce wants new Raiders GM to draft a quarterback who's a 'proven winner'



After taking over as the interim coach following Josh McDaniels’ firing, Antonio Pierce is officially the Las Vegas Raiders head coach. This marks Pierce’s first NFL Combine as a head coach and he is preparing for his first NFL Draft in the role.

Tom Telesco is in his first offseason as the team’s general manager and Pierce is hoping the two can work together to build a winning group and the new head coach wants to be aggressive when selecting the next players. 

“I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but Telesco better start working his magic,” Pierce said (via the Athletic), smiling. “I told him: ‘It’s your turn now. All eyes are on you. I am going to be undefeated for six more months.'”

The Raiders currently have the No. 13 overall pick in the draft and there is always a chance they trade up, especially with some solid quarterbacks on the board like Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels.

“I am sure that’s something that Telesco has already spoken about, but that’s my personality,” Pierce said on potentially trading up. “As you guys saw and witnessed, I am a go-getter. But obviously that has to be a collective agreement.”

Last season, Aidan O’Connell started 10 games, replacing Jimmy Garoppolo, who started six. Pierce is looking for a quarterback who can be a “leader” and is the face of the franchise going forward. 

“I would hope whoever we draft, that’s the route we go, that’s who the starter becomes,” Pierce said. “You don’t want to put a Band-Aid at that position. That’s old … that’s old, man. I think the Raiders … we’ve seen that enough in this organization.”

With the Kansas City Chiefs, who have gone to the Super Bowl in four of the last five years, also in the AFC West, Pierce knows he needs a QB who isn’t afraid to face the AFC powerhouses twice a year.

“I want a guy that can lead, that wants to compete. I want a guy that’s not afraid of a challenge because this is a big challenge that we have in front of us. We’ve got the world champs in our division again. You know what you have to deal with each and every year as long as you have Patrick Mahomes in our division,” Pierce said. “I want somebody that says: ‘You know what? I am up for that challenge.’ That’s the same way I look at it going against these three coaches in this division.”

Pierce is looking for someone who “wants the ball” with the game on the line and is a “proven winner, somebody that knows what it’s like to grind and go through some adversity.”

Whether that player ends up being a first-round pick, later pick or O’Connell will be determined as the offseason progresses. 

The first-year head coach made it clear that he wants someone who has already shown they can win games consistently, not just someone who he calls a “one-hit wonder.”

“You want someone who has been battle-tested, that has been through adversity, had challenges and wasn’t just handed the keys. Because that’s going to be the process here no matter what we do,” Pierce said. 

Pierce is realistic about what his time will look like in Vegas, but no matter how the season turns out, he plans to be the same person he was before.

“When I leave this job, I am going to be the guy I was before. This is a temporary seat. I am not a fool. I got hired and I am going to get fired. But the one thing they are not going to change about me is who I am,” Pierce said. “How I talk, how I walk, how I act. I don’t mince my words or bite my tongue. It is what it is. Like it or love it or don’t, this is me. It’s not a gimmick. I walk through the halls and see all these coaches, former players and scouts. Those were the same guys who told me I couldn’t do what I was going to do or had my back. I keep receipts.”

The Raiders went 5-4 under Pierce last season and many players on the team voiced that they hoped he would be hired as the full-time head coach. Those players got their wish and get to see what Pierce can do with a full 17 games. 





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