Oakland Raiders Rumors: GM’s Silence On Khalil Mack Could Be A Smokescreen

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

If you asked a hundred different people about the Oakland Raiders‘ plans for the fifth pick in next month’s draft, you’d very likely get a hundred different answers.

Some think Texas A&M‘s Johnny Manziel will be the pick. Others say Clemson‘s Sammy Watkins. Some believe the Raiders will be there to catch South Carolina‘s Jadeveon Clowney when he falls to the fifth spot, which is probably wishful thinking more than anything. And still others say the team will trade down to accrue more picks.

Nobody knows what to expect as we get ever nearer to draft day, and when it comes to doling out even the smallest nugget of information or even the slightest hint, GM Reggie McKenzie‘s lips have been tighter than spandex shorts on a hippo.

Many are assuming that the Raiders will be taking a receiver with the fifth pick, while many others believe it will be a quarterback. Having addressed some of their glaring offensive problems with their free agent acquisitions though, some are projecting that Oakland is going to opt for defense with that pick. Some are saying that in particular, the Raiders are looking hard at University of Buffalo standout Khalil Mack.

Ordinarily, Mel Kiper‘s opinion is about as useful as a used Kleenex, but his latest mock draft is just the latest in a chorus of mocks that are saying the same thing. And it’s interesting to note that the nobody from the Raiders organization has said word one about Mack, though they’ve been downright chatty when it comes to talking about some of the other prospects in this year’s draft.

Is it possible that where there’s no smoke, there’s fire?

On paper, taking Mack makes sense. He’s an absolute beast on defense who makes things happen. He’s a high-impact player with the potential to be a real game-changer for Oakland. Taking him would add depth to what was arguably one of the only bright spots on the team last season. And paired with standout Sio Moore, they could anchor one of the fiercest linebacking corps in the NFL for years to come.

Though it’s not a huge area of need, taking Mack at five seems like a smart, solid pick. There is absolutely no doubt that he’s the real deal, and that he’d contribute to the Raiders’ retooled defense. He’d be a fantastic addition.

But would he be the right pick?

With the coveted veteran pocket passer McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen have long been looking for in Matt Schaub, it’s now up to the team to surround him with offensive weapons. One of the bigger areas of need on the offensive side of the ball is an explosive, playmaking receiver. Somebody like Watkins, or A&M’s Mike Evans.

There’s little doubt that either receiver would have an immediate impact, but this draft is deep and rich with receiving prospects. It’s feasible that the Raiders could pick up a less-touted, but just as explosive receiver in the later rounds, whereas a talent like Mack is most certainly not going to be available.

Should Mack, Watkins and Evans be available at five, and one or more of the most certainly will be, McKenzie is going to have a tough decision to make. The pundits think it’s going to be Mack — at least they do today. Does McKenzie’s silence on the subject confirm the idea? Or is it just another smokescreen? We’ll find out in just a few weeks.

Kevin Saito is a fiction writer, sports junkie, history nerd, and NFL Contributor to RantSports.com  He’s just a “clown with an opinion,” and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or on Google


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  • Dan

    Sammy please!!!!

    • saito8204

      That would be my pick if I were in charge. Watkins or Evans.

      • Lar Dog

        I agree. Evans looks like a rare talent too. BIG and FAST. A physical receiver with some serious red zone skills.

        • saito8204

          I think having James Jones is a valuable piece to have down in the red zone. To be able add a piece like Evans… which will give Schaub more flexibility and a big target/big threat would be amazing. The only reason I favor Evans over Watkins is the size difference between the two. But I would be thrilled if they picked up either receiver, honestly.

          • Lar Dog

            I get ya. Watkins looks like he is strong too. Evans cold very well be better than Watkins. Big physical WR. Can’t underrate a WR blocking skills too.

    • George McHugh

      Taking a WR in round 1 in the deepest WR draft in decades in a waste. To tier talent will be available in rounds 2 and 3. Use the pick on a position of need that will not have later round options.

      • saito8204

        I agree that this draft is deep in receivers. But I think Evans and Watkins can be total game changers… I think they can take an offense to a level some others might not be able to. Maybe. Who would you like to see the team pick up?

    • Lar Dog

      I get it. Sammy looks to be a rare talent. Something we have been missing. A legit big time # 1 WR. There are some interesting talents in this draft. Who will be the busts?

      • saito8204

        I really don’t think Manziel is going to be as great as people think. And I really wonder if Clowney is going to be as dominant as he’s being made out to be as well.

        • Lar Dog

          My Cousin was just saying that on Saturday about Clowney. Hmmm, we will see once we plays. Manziel is only 21 and wont be 22 until DEC. He is young. If we have the chance to draft him he ends up great, them we messed up badly.

  • George McHugh

    Take Clowney if available (not likely) or Mack. If they are gone trade back for a 2nd round 2 pick a select Aaron Donald. With two picksin the 2nd take the best CB followed by the best WR.

    Taking a WR in round 1 in the deepest WR draft in decades in a waste. To tier talent will be available in rounds 2 and 3. Use the pick on a position of need that will not have later round options.

    Do not take a QB before round 3. Defense is the priority. To be competitive in the AFC West we need D. The 29th rated defense (in ppg) last year could not make a stop and was responsible for several key losses.

    The offense was top 10 (ppg) and even better with McGloin (and would have been even better if the D could have made a late stop or two). Using picks to add 5 or 10 ppg will not get the job done. We need a defense that can puts the brakes on Manning, Rivers and Smith.

    We need to get back to our roots. Even the”Autumn Wind” refers to a crushing defense.

    • saito8204

      Ignore the question in my last comment… I hadn’t scrolled down. I am concerned about the questions about Clowney’s work ethic. I would hate to see them take Clowney and have him turn out to not be the impact player people think. I agree that defense is a priority and wouldn’t be disappointed to see them take Mack. I do believe he’s the real deal. Add him to Moore, Tuck, Woodley, Smith, and the rest of the revamped D and I think that could be a very serious area of strength this coming season. But Schaub also needs some viable weapons to use. Jones was a GREAT add. But D. Moore was way too inconsistent and dropped some balls he should have caught last season. Streater is developing well and COULD be the number one we need… in time. Adding a Watkins or Evans to that mix would give Schaub a great target and would elevate the offense to another level.

      That being said, I do agree with you that the Raiders need to get back to their roots– an imposing, formidable, and entirely intimidating defense. With the adds this offseason, I think they’re starting to turn that corner.