This is very, very early, but it looks like the Oakland Raiders are going to have a very high pick in this year’s draft. On Thursday night, the Raiders lost 34-3 to Nick Mullens and the then-one win 49ers, so it’s easy to think they’ll probably have the first overall pick in this year’s draft. Thanks to the Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack trades, the Raiders will have three total first round picks in this draft. I think they should consider trading their first round pick. Let me explain.
The Oakland Raiders Should Trade Down in the Draft
The Herbert of It All
We’re not sure if Oregon’s Justin Herbert is coming out this year or not, but if he comes out, he’ll be the first quarterback taken. It’s been reported that he’s contemplating staying in school for another year to improve, but you’ve gotta think there are agents and financially invested people that see dollar signs when they look at this year’s underwhelming quarterback class.
Reportedly, Jon Gruden doesn’t want to move on from Derek Carr. Personally, I think it would be much better to see Carr after a full season and a summer in this offensive system before we decide to move on. If this is true, the Raiders won’t be targeting a quarterback early. This means that some quarterback hungry team might want to jump up and get him.
The New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars all need quarterbacks, and the Raiders could pick up some other picks while likely staying in the top ten. This team has a ton of needs at several positions, and the more picks they have, the better. You might be asking, what about Nick Bosa? Well, that’s the next part.
This is an exceptionally deep defensive line class. Sure, every Raiders fan and their mother wants Nick Bosa, but there are a ton of other great prospects that the Raiders could get, even after trading down. The likes of Ed Oliver, Rashan Gary, Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence, Raekwon Davis, Brian Burns, Zach Allen, and Jerry Tillery all have first round grades. Those are just the guys with first round grades.
Nick Bosa looks great, but let’s look at him for a second. Firstly, he and his brother both have this weird history of being injury prone. The best ability is availability, after all. It makes total sense to me why Bosa would choose to skip the rest of his college career. He wants to protect his body, and his investment. However, he did still quit on his team, and as Raiders fans know better than anyone else, you can’t afford to miss on the first overall pick.
You can still get playmaking defenders on the defensive line to pair with Arden Key, P.J. Hall, and Maurice Hurst, while adding a few more prospects. And trust me, the Raiders need to add as many promising prospects as possible.
The Oakland/San Diego/Las Vegas Swiss Cheese
The Raiders have needs. Marshawn Lynch is likely retiring, Martavis Bryant is one a one-year deal, Jordy Nelson isn’t getting any younger, Brandon Parker and Gabe Jackson have struggled mightily, with Donald Penn‘s time with the team likely over, and the entire defense needs a makeover.
With that in mind, if the Raiders want to be competitive, they need upgrades at wide receiver, right tackle, halfback, defensive end, all three linebacker spots, cornerback, both safety positions, and punter. The team will have plenty of cap space going into this off-season, but they’re relying on an amazing draft class to turn this thing around. Gruden has sacrificed Khalil Mack’s Hall of Fame career for this turnaround, so he can’t afford to miss.
Simply put, the more picks that the team has, the more likely they’ll hit on quality prospects. In the history of the NFL, the first overall pick has been traded nine times, with the most recent trade taking place in 2004, where the New York Giants sent the rights to Philip Rivers, the first pick in the third round, and two fifth round picks to the San Diego Chargers for the rights to Eli Manning. Before that, it was 2001, where the Atlanta Falcons sent the fifth overall pick, a third round pick, and a second round pick to the San Diego Chargers to select Michael Vick.
If the Raiders are only moving down two or three picks, and they can add a couple second or a third rounders to their bank? That’s a deal they just can’t afford to pass up.
They’ve Done It Before
The Raiders have traded their first round pick back twice while Reggie McKenzie has been the General Manager. Even during the Gruden era, they traded back in the draft just this year. They were originally picking at #10, and they moved back to 15 to select Kolton Miller. The Raiders know these two drafts will be extremely important to Gruden’s reign with the team. If he drops the ball here, the team will never get out of the hole that he’s traded them into.
It’s #TrustTheProcess time in Oakland. Raider Nation has to have faith that McKenzie and Gruden know what they’re doing. They have to nail these two drafts, and I think it would help them significantly if they had more picks with which to choose the future of this franchise.