What to make of Raiders reported interest in Geno Smith

USA TODAY Sports

The rumors and "sources" keep popping up about Raiders having interest in West Virginia quarterback, Geno Smith. Let's explore that, shall we?

Several times this off-season, national reporters have cited sources who say the Raiders are showing interest in West Virginia Quarterback prospect, Geno Smith. On one occasion, the report went as far as to say the Raiders were "in love" with him.

Is it crazy talk, or does it seem possible? First let's look at value.

The Raiders have the third overall pick which by most estimations would be a reach for any quarterback in this draft. But if you really want a player, you take him. For this reason, Geno Smith was the top pick in many mock drafts this off-season despite the general feeling that he was valued much lower.

That pick makes a little bit of sense for a team like the Chiefs who are starved for a quarterback. Now, the Chiefs have reportedly agreed to a deal with the 49ers to trade for Alex Smith. This means Geno Smith will almost certainly not be going number one overall.

No sooner did the trade reports come out but the "leaks" of the Raiders interest in Geno Smith happened again. This would lead one to wonder what's going on at Raiders headquarters. Either they like Geno Smith so much, they just can't stop talking about it, or these "leaks" are by design.

Let's start with the first possibility.

Geno Smith is the consensus top ranked quarterback in the 2013 draft. He threw for over 4000 yards last season for West Virginia. The Raiders already have Carson Palmer as their starter but in the top part of the draft with little or no locks at positions of need for the Raiders, drafting a player who they see as their quarterback of the future isn't the worst idea. It just might be far from the best idea, however.

Now the second possibility.

There is plenty to gain by convincing other teams the Raiders have their sights set on Geno Smith. The Raiders would like to trade down to collect more picks in this draft. There are several teams in the top ten of this draft who need a quarterback. If they think the Raiders will take him before they can, they will have to make a deal with them to ensure that doesn't happen.

Another benefit to showing interest in Smith is the Jaguars with the number two overall pick could decide to grab Smith instead. The Jaguars are in much need of a quarterback and much like the Chiefs before them, could decide it's worth the reach to get smith at #2. Or another team could jump up in a trade with the Jaguars to get Smith, which is essentially the same thing.

The Jaguars other major need is pass rush. This happens to be a weak area for the Raiders as well. So, if the Jaguars (or another team) take Smith instead of a defensive lineman, that means it's likely the Raiders will have their choice of all the top defensive linemen in the draft. That also means, if a team behind them would like to have that luxury, they will have to make a trade to get it.

It appears this is a mighty big smokescreen. Or is it? That will be up to other teams to decide if they're willing to take that risk. Meaning making your interest in Geno Smith known, whether real or gamesmanship, carries a low risk/high reward. This is how the game is played.

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