With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, the speculation about what teams might do with their first-round picks is heating up. For most teams, football fans can see their genuine areas of need and can hazard a relatively educated guess as to where they’ll spend that pick.
When it comes to the Oakland Raiders though, because the team still has quite a few holes to fill, there is no obvious pick. Will it be a quarterback? Offensive lineman? Linebacker? Receiver? GM Reggie McKenzie certainly hasn’t tipped his hand, and what he plans to do with the pick is a complete mystery.
There are as many theories as there are fans in Raiders Nation, but one rumor that seems to have been gaining some ground lately is the idea that Oakland will trade down out of the fifth spot — possibly to the tail end of the first round.
According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the San Francisco 49ers are looking to make a big move in the draft. Rumor has it that the 49ers are desperate to get their hands on Texas A&M standout receiver Mike Evans, and are willing to deal to make it happen. What’s more, the rumors go on to say that McKenzie and the Raiders are listening.
San Francisco has a loaded draft board with the 30th overall pick in the first round, two picks in the second (56, 61), three picks in the third (77, 94, 100), a fourth-round pick (129), a fifth-round pick (170), and three in the seventh (242, 243, 245). What might be on offer isn’t known at this point, but if it came to fruition, the Raiders could potentially come out of a possible deal with a pretty healthy load of picks.
And for a team with as many holes to fill as the Raiders do, every pick helps.
The idea that the Raiders would trade down out of the fifth pick isn’t without precedent. Just last year, they held the third overall pick and traded with the Miami Dolphins, dropping themselves to the 12th pick where they chose D.J. Hayden, the player McKenzie said he’d wanted all along. In addition, Oakland also got Miami’s second round pick (42 overall) and used it on OT Menelik Watson. If he continues to develop, Watson could become a dominant lineman in the league.
With such a full slate of picks, San Francisco might be willing to offer up more than just a second-round pick, especially if the Raiders are willing to move from the fifth slot all the way down to San Francisco’s pick at 30. And if the 49ers are as desperate to move up to take Evans as Mortenson is hearing, the Raiders could command quite the king’s ransom from them in exchange.
Assuming that Khalil Mack and Jadeveon Clowney are already off the board at five, the Raiders are believed to also be very interested in Clemson‘s Sammy Watkins and Evans. However, with the chance to upgrade the team by obtaining more picks from San Francisco, and with a draft as deep and rich in receiving talent as this one appears to be, McKenzie might be better off making that deal, padding his draft slate, and picking another impact receiver to upgrade the passing attack.
It’s a deal that makes some sense, and could potentially be considered a win-win for both Oakland and San Francisco.