Clowney. Watkins. Mack. Evans. Matthews. Robinson. Manziel. Bortles. Bridgewater.
The names at the top of this draft are sexy — tempting even. But for my money and for the future of this team, Reggie McKenzie needs to look beyond the glitz and the glam at the top and trade back to accumulate more picks.
If we're being honest, this off-season (while successful), has handled the job of securing a lot of short-term fixes. As you look at the names that Oakland signed many of them have one thing in common: experience. (Put another way: they're getting old).
Between Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley, Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt Schaub, and Antonio Smith, there are a combined 48 years of experience in the NFL — nearly 10 years a piece. While I fully believe that all of these guys have something left in the tank, my point is simple: within the next 2-3 years, most of them will need to be replaced and whoever Oakland were to pick at No. 5 can't replace them all.
To be fair, a trade will only make sense if McKenzie can do much better than he did last year — moving back nine spots in exchange for just a second-round pick. I'm thinking the No. 5 pick in a draft this loaded — where the guy picked would have been in play at No. 1 in most years — would have to garner at least 3 picks in the first two rounds this year or next.
If McKenzie was offered a pick in the 10-15 range, a second round pick this year and a first or second rounder next season? I'm interested for sure.
What about a pick in the 15-20 range, a second rounder this year and a first rounder next season? Don't hang up, I'm still listening.
If you look at a team like the St. Louis Rams, it's the RG3 trade that set their franchise on an entirely new trajectory. In exchange for the No. 2 pick in 2012, the Rams received the No. 6 pick in 2012, a second rounder in 2012 and a first round pick in both 2013 and 2014.
The No. 6 pick was then traded again in exchange for the No. 14 pick and another second-rounder. In 2013, the Redskins first-rounder was traded again, this time for the No. 22 pick, a third-rounder and a sixth-rounder. So what did all of that turn into?
In exchange for RG3, the Rams have received Michael Brockers (starting DT), Isaiah Pead (special teamer), Rokevious Watkins (cut), Janoris Jenkins (starting DB), Alec Ogletree (starting LB), Stedman Bailey (reserve WR), Zac Stacy (starting RB), and the No. 2 pick in this year's draft.
In trading down a total of 12 spots, the Rams were able to accumulate five starters (presumably six with their first rounder this year), and that's ignoring the fact that they whiffed on the second round pick of Pead.
If Oakland could get even half of what St. Louis ended up with (which isn't unreasonable), it's pretty obvious that it would set them up remarkably for the future.
I know it's tough to see such big names on the board at No. 5 and embrace the idea of trading down, but this move has a long-term view in sight and not a short-term one. If Oakland can turn the No. 5 pick into three starters this year plus a future pick or two, it's a no-brainer in my mind.
I think a key in the whole equation, however, is McKenzie. Trading down last season was a smart move, but the haul they received in doing so was embarrassing. Last year's draft was weak at the top, but there isn't an excuse for the deal he accepted. This season, he has a chance to right that wrong — the question is, can he pull the trigger?