Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland Raiders hired a general manager who is known for building teams through the draft, so how should Reggie McKenzie handle his second draft with the Raiders?
The Oakland Raiders clearly have a ton of room for improvement this off season. After finishing the 2012 campaign with only four wins, the Raiders need to upgrade the majority of their roster if they have any hopes of being competitive in 2013. In my first few off season requisite articles, I detailed how the Raiders should handle their offensive coordinator search, how to handle the current roster and how to handle free agency.
Now we take a look at how to handle the 2013 NFL Draft.
While the Raiders do not have their full compliment of draft picks again this year, they do have more impactful picks than they did in Reggie McKenzie's first year as general manager. This year, the Raiders are missing their second and fifth round picks. The second round pick went to the Cincinnatti Bengals in the Carson Palmer trade, and the fifth went to the Seattle Seahawks in the Aaron Curry trade.
The Raiders also did not have a second round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but the big difference is that this year, not only do the Raiders have a first round pick, but they lay claim to the third pick of the draft. Sure, they also have a third, fourth, sixth and seventh as well as any compensatory picks that may come, but the truth of the matter is that the third pick is what everyone cares about.
Thus, the focus of how McKenzie handles the draft must focus on how he handles the number three pick of the draft.
If the Raiders were one player away from being a competitive team, clearly using the number three pick to get that guy would be the wisest decision, but the Raiders are much closer to being 10 players away from being competitive.
Additionally, if there were a once in a generation player in the draft, clearly using the number three pick to get such a player would be wise. Unfortunately for the Raiders, after the 2012 draft was stocked with such players, the 2013 draft looks to be a pretty thin draft when it comes to elite players.
So, given the Raiders need far more than just one player and there do not appear to be many, if any, once in a generation players in the 2013 Draft, what do the Raiders do with their first round pick? Simple, they trade it.
What, then, do they trade it for? Simple, as much as you can possibly get for it.
There are two ways to approach trading the pick. Get a known quantity and a pick or two, or stockpile a bunch of picks, with the first option being the best one.
As I have already noted numerous times above, the Raiders need A LOT of help. But that does not necessarily mean they should just trade the number three pick for the best deal they can get numbers wise. Sure, the Raiders could get a truck load of picks, but is that necessarily the best option?
In my mind, no. The need help and they need help now. The Draft is great for building towards the future, but most teams with a full compliment of picks will be lucky to get more than two players who can contribute right away, and even then, those players are on a learning curve and are not likely to make a huge impact.
Therefore, the best option for the Raiders would be to leverage the number three pick for a current NFL player or two and some picks. By doing this, the Raiders can increase the number of picks they have in the Draft while also obtaining a known quantity that is guaranteed to be a contributor in 2013.
If the Raiders cannot find such a deal, then trading back for more picks is the way that McKenzie should go. But with that being said, the Raiders have so many needs at so many spots, I'd find it hard to believe that McKenzie would not be able to find a deal that includes both a current player and draft picks for the number three pick.