With the 2014 NFL Draft just three weeks away, the Oakland Raiders are finalizing their draft plans and finishing up their player evaluations. The Raiders hold the fifth overall pick of the draft and being in the midst of a rebuild, the decision that they make could have a major impact on their future. The plethora of needs on their roster give them numerous options on what they can do in the draft. With only six picks in the draft, is a trade down from the fifth slot a better option for the Raiders?
Many experts are saying that the upcoming NFL Draft class is one of the deepest in recent memory, which would put the Raiders at a disadvantage with only six total selections. Of those six picks, only four are in the first four rounds and the other two are in the seventh. So, trading down from the fifth spot could net the Raiders a pretty solid bounty of picks, especially if some of the top flight talent is still available at their pick.
General Manager Reggie McKenzie must debate whether it is better to add one top flight player or several great to good players to a roster starved for young talent. Do you add that one player that could potentially be the cornerstone that you build your franchise around or do you add several players that you can use as the foundation to build upon?
The smart option would be to trade down and collect more picks. This roster needs more than just a single player to change the fortunes of the franchise. The Raiders need a collection of young players to build around, as that has been the key to many of the most successful teams in recent history. Building through the draft is essential to reaching and maintaining success in today’s NFL, especially when a team needs to successfully navigate the salary cap era.
The elite talent at the top half of the draft should increase the trade value of picks in the top seven picks. There are 5-7 players that many pundits would consider elite “franchise” type players and they are at key positions, such as, tackles, quarterback, and pass rusher. Teams on the verge of making players that might be a player or two away will be looking to jump up to add that immediate impact talent at the top half of the first. That should create potential bidding war situations that could create a sellers market in the top seven.
The second and third rounds are where the most value lies in this draft. Trading down from pick number five to the middle of the first round should easily net two to three additional picks in the early to mid rounds. If they traded down even further, then they could possibly additional picks in this draft or start stockpiling picks for next year. The Raiders have plenty of options on their board, so they do not need to panic and feel forced to pull the trigger at pick five.
This draft could potentially be the make or break point of McKenzies tenure as the Raiders’ general manager. His decision on what he chooses to do with his first round pick could have a major impact on the future of this team. McKenzie would be best served by trading down out of the number five slot and pick up additional picks in the top 100 and add several good plays, instead of standing pat and adding one great player.