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2014 NFL Draft: S&BP staff gives their top five for Raiders at pick five

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With our thoughts on the top eight prospects and the idea of trading the pick complete, we wrap up this series with our top 5 options heading into the 2014 NFL Draft.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

For the last month, our writers have given you their thoughts on the top eight players available in the draft, along with the idea of trading the pick. While each player was graded on a simple "draft"/"don't draft" scale, it might be difficult to wade through where players deemed draft-worthy stacked up with one another.

So in the final installment of our 2014 NFL Draft prospect preview, we've asked each of our writers — one last time — to rank their top five options. Included in this list is the ability to trade the pick — essentially answering the question of who must be off the board for Oakland to consider trading the pick.

But enough with the explanation, let's get to their lists:

Jeff Spiegel (@JeffSpiegel):

  1. Jadeveon Clowney
  2. Trade the pick
  3. Teddy Bridgewater
  4. Sammy Watkins
  5. Khalil Mack

For me, the top two spots on the list were easy — it was the bottom three that gave me fits. On top, I think there's no doubt in anyone's mind that Clowney is the most talented player in the draft and a guy who could make a serious impact on Day 1. Safe to say that Oakland is in desperate need of that.

If Clowney is gone, my thought is to trade the pick and stock up on early-draft selections that can fill holes all across the roster. While a playmaker is desperately needed on both sides of the ball, why not give yourselves more chances to find one early on?

The No. 3 and 4 spots were the toughest for me for two reasons: I don't think the QB class is as strong as everyone is making it out to be and I absolutely love Sammy Watkins. In the end, however, I'm swayed by the belief that Oakland needs to be better next season — meaning a worse draft pick in 2015. With $60 million in cap space, Oakland needs to make sure they aren't in a position to draft a top-end quarterback next season, which leads me to believe now is the time to do it (even if it means passing on a slightly better player in Watkins).

Finally, I put Mack at the end of my list because I think he's going to be a stud in the pros — just with a lower ceiling than the guys ahead of him. If Oakland ended up with Mack, I wouldn't be disappointed — I'm just hoping they can do better.

As for the guys not on the list, I'm just not a Johnny Football fan, as I think Oakland needs a safer pick this season. Likewise, Jake Matthews is a safe pick, but I don't see him as a difference maker for a team with so many desperate needs. Lastly, Bortles and Barr are mid-first round talents in my eyes — not top five players.

RDreamer (@RaiderDamus):

  1. Jadeveon Clowney
  2. Trade the pick
  3. Johnny Manziel
  4. Teddy Bridgewater
  5. Khalil Mack

In reality, I am advocating a trade here, as Clowney is going to go first or second overall as either Tampa or Atlanta will likely trade up for Clowney if the Texans pass on him — and if they pass on him it can only be for Bortles or Manziel. I've heard nothing about the Texans liking Bridgewater, although I feel he's the best fit for them overall.

I think Manziel is the biggest risk/reward guy in this draft, he could be Brett Favre or he could be Ryan Leaf. If, in fact, Manziel turns out to be more Leaf than Favre, it means the team which takes him will get their shot at Marcus Mariota, who if he were in this draft would be a no-brainer top overall pick, and barring injury will be the first pick next season. If, however, Manziel plays in the NFL like he played in college he will be an all-time great. That's not a bad risk if you ask me.

Bridgewater is steady and doesn't make mistakes or take a lot of risk, and in my mind is the best overall player right now in the draft — even if Clowney and Manziel have higher ceilings. I don't see Teddy getting much better than he was at Louisville, although that's nothing to sneeze at because he was pretty damn good.

Mack is the safest defensive player in the draft with no questions regarding his character, work ethic, production or athleticism. His only questions are ones of competition level, but there have been many players from mid-major schools to succeed in the NFL lately including Demarcus Ware, Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco. If a guy can play, he can play, and if Reggie takes Mack I won't be too upset.

Marcus Allen Krause:

  1. Trade the pick
  2. Jake Matthews
  3. Khalil Mack
  4. Jadeveon Clowney
  5. Johnny Manziel

For starters, the Raiders have too many holes to fill and getting some extra picks in this draft is too good of a chance to skip. They will still be able to find a playmaker after trading back, and they could get a steal of a pick in the 2nd round with how deep of a draft this will be.

Next on the list is Jake Matthews. If Jared Veldheer were to be re-signed before the draft, or if they were to sign a top free agent like Eugene Monroe or Brandon Albert, then the idea of drafting a LT would fall in priority. However if they lose Veldheer and don't have a replacement signed by the draft, then the tackle position is easily one of the top priorities. Jake has the pedigree and the talent to be the pick the Raiders need if worst comes to worst with Jared.

Third on my list is Khalil Mack, who has been straight killing it with his workouts — nearly meeting or besting Jadeveon Clowney in every category. The area were he tops Clowney the most, however, is character — where there is no question about Khalil's motor. It is easy to believe he is going to be a great player in the NFL and he would be a huge upgrade to the Raiders pass rush opposite Sio Moore.

As for Clowney, there are some red flags, but he is still one crazy man on the field. He is one of the most physically gifted players to come into the NFL ever and if he puts it to good use he could be one of the best defensive players in the league. I have him behind Khalil Mack because he is riskier, but the payoff for him could be Big Bang Theory huge.

Finally, my list is rounded out by Johnny Manziel. There is something about Johnny Football that is just too engrossing not to be interested in. I don't care about his size, he is a crazy talented football player. He may be a "cocky little prick" as Barry Switzer said, but I think it would be amazing seeing that type of swagger back on the Silver and Black. He is the top QB I would draft in 2014.

Levi Damien (@LeviDamien):

  1. Jadeveon Clowney
  2. Johnny Manziel
  3. Khalil Mack
  4. Trade the pick
  5. Sammy Watkins

The Raiders are in dire need of a pass rushing defensive end and there are two worthy of the No. 5 pick - Clowney and Mack. They also need a quarterback, and Manziel is the only one I see as having the intangibles and talent the Raiders need.Trading down is absolutely an option for this rebuilding team. There is some great talent to be had in the mid to late first round that the Raiders would feel a lot more comfortable with than gambling all their chips at the fifth pick. Sammy Watkins is a surefire talent. He is the complete package in terms of receiver skills and the only wide receiver in this draft worthy of a top five pick. That said, he is below trading down because of the deep class of wide receivers and the greater needs at other positions.