Las Vegas Raiders should trade down in first round of 2020 NFL Draft

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: Fans attend Day 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: Fans attend Day 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders have two picks in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft and must leverage one in to more picks to fill other holes in the roster.

The Khalil Mack trade to Chicago was inexplicable for a number of reasons for most fans but besides trading a Hall of Fame caliber player, the most egregious part was sending a second round pick along with him. The Raiders received two firsts and a sixth but for some reason included the 2020 second as if they needed to sweeten the pot for Chicago to take the deal.

That leads us to the 2020 draft where the Raiders currently have seven picks (two firsts, three thirds, one fourth, and one seventh) but none in the second round.  We all know what sort of talent can be had in the second round, including our very own starting quarterback and cornerback.

Many pundits have suggested that the Raiders should package their two first rounders and move up to acquire Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons. While that sounds great in theory, the Raiders are not one linebacker away from contending no matter how good he may be.

Others, including Just Blog Baby’s Site Expert Brad Weiss, have argued that the Raiders should stand pat and keep the 12th and 19th selections. The best option is not to trade up or stand pat, but rather to use one of those selections to trade down and acquire more picks.

The primary needs for the Raiders are at the linebacker, wide receiver, and corner back position in that order. The Raiders will need to address them via draft and free agency but there are far less impact players available at receiver or linebacker than cornerback on the market so those first two positions need to be addressed in the draft.

The linebacker class is not particularly deep so using one of the selections on Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray or LSU’s Patrick Queen would be excellent value. Many mock drafts have the Raiders using the other selection on a wide receiver but this projects to be a very deep class so a first round talent can be had in the second or third.

Whether the Raiders trade the 12th or 19th pick is dependent on the value they receive in return but if we base it on the vaunted draft pick trade value metric from, the return should be enough to push the deal through. Draft Tek gives the 12th pick a value of 1200 points, which would be good enough to get them for example Philadelphia’s 21st and 53rd overall picks.

The 19th pick meanwhile is listed at 875 points which would be enough to get Green Bay’s 30th and 62nd overall picks in return. The other option is to trade the first for a pick swap and a host of third or fourth round picks and use them to move up in to second.  Of course reality does not always match up with the pick value rankings but recent history suggests that there is value to be had.

In the 2019 draft, the Broncos traded pick 10 to the Steelers in exchange for pick 20, 52 (2nd), and a 2020 third rounder. The Seahawks traded pick 21 for pick 30, 114 (4th), and 118 (4th) while the Ravens traded pick 22 for pick 25, 127 (4th), and 197 (6th). All of those trades line up closely with the pick value rankings so it may take moving the 12th pick to land a second rounder. If a second round pick becomes available then the Raiders should take the deal and use it to select a wide receiver.

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Whatever the deals are that come to the Raiders’ war room, the thought process needs to be that the team is not just one or two players away from contending so quantity needs to be emphasized as much as quality. Recent success in the draft for Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock suggests that they have what it takes to find quality players even in the late rounds so they should use their unique position and build up the draft capital to fill out the roster without using up a ton of cap space.