In his latest mock draft, ESPN's Todd McShay has the Oakland Raiders drafting USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams. If Williams truly were available at No. 4, there's no doubt that he would be the best player available — and at a position of need for Oakland, no less.
But after everything that has happened this offseason, have the Oakland Raiders backed themselves into a corner with their lack of receiving weapons? Is there really any choice for Reggie McKenzie but to draft Amari Cooper or Kevin White?
As in every situation, a number of factors must be considered when making a decision like who to draft with the No. 4 team.
With a roster like Oakland has, the obvious strategy is to draft the best player available, and, as McShay alludes to, there might be a better player out there at No. 4 than a wide receiver.
But where does that leave Derek Carr?
After what many consider to be a successful season, the Raiders and their fans are hoping for bigger and better things in year No. 2. As players like Randall Cobb, Andre Johnson, Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron became available, many believed the Raiders would pounce on a shiny new toy for their young quarterback.
But, alas, every receiver and tight end on the market came and went without signing an Oakland Raiders contract. With Cobb at least there was some reported interest, but that he opted to re-sign in Green Bay, leaving the Raiders empty handed.
Some assume Oakland doesn't need to spend tons of money on a play-making pass-catcher because drafting Cooper or White would fill that hole at No. 4 overall.
Aside from the fact that Oakland still has $22 million left to spend (meaning that signing Cobb or Thomas would not have disqualified them from any of the moves they've subsequently made), their reluctance to provide Carr with more weapons is puzzling.
This isn't a knock against James Jones, Andre Holmes or Rod Streater by any stretch, it's just that none of those guys are ready to be a No. 1 receiver. Of course, the question about whether guys like Cobb or Johnson or Dwayne Bowe are still No. 1 receivers is a valid one.
Then there's another theory, which is that with such a deep receiving class, surely Oakland could wait until Round 2 (and pick No. 35). The problem with that idea is that it's hard to imagine they'll find a sure-fire No. 1 there — maybe a solid No. 2, but definitely not the next Julio Jones or A.J. Green.
So taking this idea full circle, we're back to the question about what Oakland should do with the No. 4 pick.
You have a young quarterback that desperately needs someone to throw to, someone he can count on in big situations to go up and get a ball away from an inferior defender. All of last season, Carr was defended with the argument that his sub-par numbers were the result of a poor offense and a lack of weapons.
Well, the offense has changed, but the weapons surely haven't.
The future of the franchise lies in the hands of Derek Carr, plain and simple. If this team is going to the playoffs in the next 3-5 seasons it's because Carr has made the leap towards becoming one of the better quarterbacks in the league, and whether he can do that without an elite receiver is not a question we should wait around and find the answer.
Had Oakland gone out and signed a playmaker, they would be left with the ability to take the best player available — which very well could be a player on defense (worst case scenario, they would have signed an offensive weapon and drafted a second). But they didn't, and so they're left with holes in two places and only one top-five draft pick to fill them.
If I'm Derek Carr, I'm hoping for a receiver. If I'm defensive-minded Jack Del Rio, I'm hoping for Leonard Williams. But as a Raider fan? I guess I'm not sure what I'd be hoping for anymore.