Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recognizes West, Texas and Boston Marathon victims and first responders during the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders Draft Strategy: Should Reggie McKenzie trade down?

No matter which you spin it, the best possible scenario for the Oakland Raiders is to trade down in the draft.  It would be nice to get Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack or Sammy Watkins, but the odds are those players will be long gone.  The Houston Texans will more than likely grab Clowney, the St. Louis Rams will probably go after Watkins, the Jacksonville Jaguars are more than likely going to take Khalil Mack, one of the big name offensive linemen will more than likely go to the Cleveland Browns, and that leaves the Raiders at #5 looking at either an offensive lineman, defensive back, or a defensive tackle.

However, the best possible move the Raiders could make would be to trade down with either the San Francisco 49ers or Detroit Lions or St. Louis Rams or Minnesota Vikings.  Trading with the Vikings and Lions would allow the Raiders to remain within the top ten picks (#8/#10), so that may be the best possible landing spot.  Of course dropping to #13 by trading with the Rams isn’t that bad either.  With the depth at many of the specialist positions, falling to the #8, #10, or #13 spot isn’t that bad.  The 49ers have a ton of draft picks to offer up, and the Raiders may even consider falling back to the #30 spot if the offer is right, but that’s a little unlikely.  Landing a couple extra draft picks in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th rounds is a win, win in my book.

Let’s face it, the Raiders need the extra draft picks to bring in young talent to help back up the older talent that they acquired in free agency.  This would assist in solidifying the so-called lack of young depth.  Should a veteran go down due to injury, there would be a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th rounder to step in and help out.  Of course that is the best case scenario.  This is all hinging on whether or not General Manager Reggie McKenzie can spot the talent or diamond in the rough that will be around for the long haul.

The jury is still out on whether or not the Raiders staff can draft well or just get lucky.  Still, players like Sio Moore, Mychal Rivera, and Miles Burris are promising draft choices, but there are still a lot of questions with others like D.J. Hayden, Tony Bergstrom, Jack Crawford, Latavius Murray, Menelik Watson, Brice Butler, Stacy McGee, Juron Criner, and Chimdi Chekwa, etc…  This doesn’t cover all the draft picks that this organization started drafting in 2012, but it gives a basic overview of who the team has started to build with.

Truth be told, the Raiders seem to do better with undrafted free agent rookies like Rod Streater, Greg Jenkins, Matt McGloin, Ryan Robinson, and so on so forth.  In the end, it comes down to production on the field.  Basic, common knowledge, I know, but it’s the measure of every player.  It’s also the measure of every team and organization.

No doubt the Raiders need to have a winning year in order to stop the media harassment, please Raider Nation, and close the door on all the non-believers.  This began with free agency this year.  It will continue into the draft starting on May 8th.  Yes, McKenzie and the rest of the Raiders staff will need to have one hell of a draft, but I believe this organization is doing the right thing.  I believe the draft will make Raider Nation happy and surprise the haters.

The Raiders are back in 2014 to start a winning trend that will continue into the future.  There’s no doubt in my mind that the right path has been started by McKenzie, and he will do Raider Nation proud.  Go Raiders!

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Oakland Raiders Reggie McKenzie

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