Raiders NFL Draft: Trading down in the first round may be the smart move

The Las Vegas Raiders are rumored to be moving up on Day 1 of the NFL Draft, but moving down may be the smart move for Tom Telesco.
Raiders NFL Combine
Raiders NFL Combine / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

The Las Vegas Raiders have plenty of decisions to make before the 2024 NFL Draft kicks off from Detroit later this month. For weeks we have been hearing about the Raiders possibly moving up in the first round of the draft, but that should only happen if a few scenarios play out.

The first scenario would be the Raiders somehow find a way to trade into the top-3, but looking at the three teams sitting there, Chicago, Washington, and New England, they all are looking to improve at the quarterback position. If those three teams pick in those slots, Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels will likely be gone, with Daniels being the presumed quarterback the Raiders really want to go up and get.

In this scenario, the Raiders will have to make sure they truly want JJ McCarthy, who is slated to be the fourth quarterback off the board. If that is the case, they should move up for McCarthy with the Arizona Cardinals, but they would have to mortgage their future to do so.

The most likely, and smartest scenario in that instance would be trading back on Day 1, because they are more than just a quarterback away from being a contender.

Raiders should move down on Day 1 if the top-3 stays put

Looking at the Raiders roster, they need to add two starting-caliber offensive linemen in the 2024 NFL Draft, as well as an elite cornerback. Those are pressing issues, and if they trade up on Day 1, leaving them with possibly no second round pick, it will be hard to fill those voids immediately for the 2024 NFL season.

If they decide to trade back, they could land not only a first round pick, but possibly two second round picks, as well as keeping their third. That would enable them to fill a few needs early in the NFL Draft, setting themselves up for success not only in 2024, but in the future.

Aidan O'Connell and Gardner Minshew II can handle quarterback duties if need be in 2024, enabling the Raiders to not only win-now, but look to fill the long-term goal at the position in 2025. Also, if O'Connell builds off his strong finish to 2023, he could be the long-term solution, so there are many moving parts going into the end of this month.