Look, there are so many different directions that the Oakland Raiders can go in the 2014 NFL Draft. Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack, Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Jake Matthews, Aaron Donald, Justin Gilbert, Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan, or trade up or down within the top 15 picks, or make a controversial draft move downward out of the top 15 for a load of picks. This is the decision that the Oakland Raiders face with the #5 pick.
The way I see it, the Raiders should do what is best for this year. With the moves made in free agency in 2014, it was obvious what direction the Raiders were headed. They bolstered their offensive and defensive lines, and they brought in veteran defensive backs to help develop D.J. Hayden. The Raiders also grabbed a quarterback who can start now (Matt Schaub) and a receiver to help the young up and coming receiving corps with the acquisition of James Jones. To me, this shows an obvious direction in which the Raiders will be pointed on Thursday, May 8th.
Obviously, if Khalil Mack is available at #5 he will be drafted by the Raiders. There is a definitive need at LB, and Mack also provides that Lamarr Woodley/Sio Moore type of player. He will rush the QB as well as drop back in coverage while stuffing the run. If Mack is there at #5, grab him.
However, if Mack is gone, the next direction the team will be pointed in is either OT, DT, or WR. With the depth of talent at these three positions, the ability to drop down in the draft and pick up extra draft picks makes the most sense. How far they drop is the big question. Staying within the top 15 is probably the best option. This will allow the Raiders to pick up two additional picks (More than likely 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th rounders) along with the 1st round position they drop to. The likely candidates to trade with the Raiders are the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, and my wild card team is the New York Jets.
Yes, the Jets are outside of the top 15 at #18, but they have 12 draft picks in 2014. Therefore, the Jets could look to be moving up the draft board to pluck a player they really want. The Raiders could pull 2-3 extra draft picks, or 2 ‘2014’ draft picks and future draft picks if a deal is struck with the Jets. Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie is known for his willingness to move down in the draft to gather more picks, and this deal would not be unheard of.
Although I have reported many times about the possibility of the Raiders moving to the 30th pick with the San Francisco 49ers, it does seem unlikely that the Raiders would want to drop that far with so many needs at pivotal positions. However, I stand by my words and believe that this move is not totally absurd. Maybe far-fetched, but not out of the ballpark.
The way I see it, the Raiders will make the best move available to them at #5. Even if a selection is made at #5 by the Raiders, the possibility of picking up more draft picks remains within the 2nd round at pick #36. That pick could be traded for some later round picks within the 4th, 5th, or 6th rounds.
Again, if Khalil Mack, Sammy Watkins, or Mike Evans is available at #5, the best move for the Raiders is to pick one of them up. However, there are stranger things that have happened, and the Raiders could move a couple of slots down to still get one of these three or Taylor Lewan or Jake Matthews or Aaron Donald or Justin Gilbert. It just depends on which players are taken before the 5th pick.
I definitely can’t wait for Thursday night. It seems like it has taken forever to get here. Still, it is almost here and we, Raider Nation, will be watching intently to see what Reggie McKenzie does to make this team better. Make no mistake, McKenzie has his plan, and he will give the Raiders what they need. This is the way I see it.