2011 NFL Draft: Should the Raiders Trade Up or Down?

The 2011 NFL Draft is all discombobulated. Free agents have yet to be signed, players cannot be traded for picks and the league has told—according to Chris Mortenson—that teams can trade draft picks from future drafts "at their own risk." Um...aren't trades always done at the traders own risk? There has to be more to that menacing comment. Feel free to enlighten us on this if you have any insight.

Also, and most importantly, this draft is like a normal draft only screwier because the Raiders first-round pick has already put in two seasons in the S&B. That means the Raiders get Dick (Seymour that is) in this first-round. Unless...they move up.

I don't know if the league's ominous mob-tone in regards to the future picks will dissuade teams from dealing them, but it is going to keep me from thinking about it. I want to focus on the Raiders trade possibilities with only their picks from this draft.

By consulting the handy-dandy draft pick trade value chart posted on DraftCountdown.com we can get a pretty good idea of what trades may be available.

 

If the Raiders packaged their second and third-round picks they could piece together enough trade points to move up into the first-round, but just barely. That would put them in the neighborhood of the 31st overall pick. And that is way more reasonable than moving up further. If they went Mike Ditka/Ricky Williams crazy and combined all of their picks they would almost have enough for the 24th pick. 

I feel safe in saying we can all agree that we do not want the Raiders to pull a Ditka here. The other option is far more enticing. This move may be worth contemplating if one of the bigger named tackles slides to this point—Derek Sherrod is widely projected to be the last tackle to go off the board in the first-round.

The problem with this scenario is it is very likely Sherrod will not make it past the Bears—who have the 29th pick. If the Raiders wanted to switch places with the Bears they would likely have to combine their second, third and fifth-round picks. Is Sherrod worth that? Is he worth the second and third even?

I think the scenario that is most likely to find the Raiders trading up is if Colorado's CB, Jimmy Smith, falls into the tail end of the first-round.

Given the Raiders recent track record of draft success in rounds beyond the first I would prefer they hold onto their picks. This brings us to the other part of the equation: trading down. 

We don't need to look any further than last year to see how effective this strategy can be. In two separate trades the Raiders went from the 39th overall pick the 44th, and they received the 153rd and 190th overall picks for their troubles. 

They then drafted LaMarr Houston with the 44th pick, Travis Goethel with the 190th pick and traded the 153rd pick with Kirk Morrison for the pick that turned out to be Jacoby Ford. 

Just as an example say the Raiders trade their No. 48 pick to the Bears. According to the chart, the Bears would have to give the Raiders their 62nd and 93rd pick. And by they way, Mel Kiper mocked the Bears taking Stefen Wisniewski with the 93rd pick.

With the cluster of interior offensive line talent the Raiders could trade down in the second and still have a shot at most of the guys we have been discussing.

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