The Oakland Raiders currently hold the 5th overall pick in this year’s NFL draft. General manager Reggie Mckenzie will need to identify a player that fits the Raiders philosophy and who will be able to make an immediate impact. Fortunately for Mckenzie, this years draft class is considered the deepest group of prospects in 10 years.
Analysts and mock drafts have the Raiders all over the place. Some have the boys in black selecting stud Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the 5th pick. Others have them taking monster defensive end Jadaveon Clowney, speedster Sammy Watkins or fast rising quarterback Blake Bortles just to name a few.
While all of these guys are playmakers that will some day soon make a general manager very happy, it’s not the end of the world if none of them falls to the Raiders. While Teddy Bridgewater and Jadaveon Clowney may be the type of players you trade up for, Reggie Mckenzie can’t afford to sacrifice current or future selections to jump up and grab either guy.
However, Mckenzie should consider trading down. With multiple holes on the current roster, the Raiders aren’t just one man away. The team’s best bet may be to trade down multiple times to gain a few picks in the early rounds that could be used to fill some of those glaring holes. Now of course any trades would depend on how the Raiders have their draft board arranged to determine the talent level and schematic fits.
If the Raiders were to drop back to let’s say around pick 10, they could still get a quarterback in Derek Carr or a complete wide receiver like Marquise Lee or Mike Evans. If the Raiders are looking to upgrade their pass rush they could target freakish athlete outside linebackers Anthony Barr, Kyle Van Noy or defensive end Kony Ealy.
If the Raiders were to trade down even further to pick 20 or even later the talent drop off isn’t that wide. The top 50 player in this years draft could all be first round draft picks.
This class is that deep.
If players like Teddy Bridgewater, Jadaveon Clowney, Kalil Mack or Blake Bortles are still on the board when the Raiders are on the clock then their is an argument to be made about staying put. Being able to add one of the top players is nice but possibly adding 4-6 players in the first few rounds is an even better deal. Especially in a class that is so deep, guys in the third and fourth round could make an impact as a rookie.
One thing is for sure, May 8th will be a big night for the Reggie Mac and the Oakland raiders no matter what they choose to do with the pick.