I hate this draft. Not from a talent perspective, from a predictability standpoint. Any number of the most talented players in this draft could be available when the Raiders select at 10 overall. It puts them in position to make a tough decision – albeit a good one – when deciding who to select.
Or they could trade the pick to another team far more certain as to what they want make the selection at ten.
That’s what I think they should do.
Just look at the Raiders top needs – Cornerback, defensive tackle, linebacker, wide receiver, and offensive tackle.
Cornerback and defensive tackle are two of the deepest and most talented positions in the draft, with strong prospects to be had throughout the first round and even perhaps at the top of the second.
The top linebackers are Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds. Both worthy of the tenth overall pick, but the Raiders major need is at middle linebacker and both Smith and Edmunds could be better suited to play outside linebacker.
Wide receiver and offensive tackle are somewhat lacking this year with no talent worthy of a top ten pick.
I would never simply suggest a trade down for the sake of trading down. It always sounds good to fans because the idea of getting more picks and still getting the players you want is great in theory. But in most drafts there are no guarantees the player the team wants will still be there at a lower position so it can be a risky proposition.
This draft is different.
It is prime for a trade down with regard to the Raiders and their draft position for the above reasons. When the 10th overall pick comes around there will inevitably be a team or several who are more laser focused on one of the players who will be on the board than the Raiders are, presenting a great opportunity for quantity and quality.
Here are five potential trade down scenarios:
Buffalo Bills at 12
I see no way the Bills don’t move up in this draft. Most likely that move will be into the top six in order to ensure they get one of the top quarterbacks. But if for whatever reason they can’t make a deal to jump up that high and a top QB is still on the board at 10, they certainly could move up to get him. It’s just two spots, but if it ensures the Dolphins don’t take their guy at 11 or another team doesn’t trade ahead of them instead, they will make that move. That move is not worth the Bills’ other first round pick at 22, but they also have two second round picks (53 and 56), and two third round picks (65 and 96), so giving up one of those would be no skin off their nose.
Green Bay Packers at 14
The Packers need help in the secondary. One or more of either Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Florida State safety Derwin James, and/or Ohio State corner Denzel Ward will almost certainly be available at 10th overall. The Packers could absolutely move up four spots to get their guy. They pick at 45 overall in the second round and at 76 in the third.
Arizona Cardinals at 15
Exact same scenario as with the Bills. If somehow a QB slips through the Cardinals would be hot after that 10th overall pick to get him. The Cards interest in nabbing a QB is one of the main reasons the Bills would trade up even if it’s just two spots. Arizona has a pick at 47 overall in the second round.
New England Patriots at 23
With the Patriots trade of Brandin Cooks, they have two first round picks at 23 and 31 making them a threat to package those to move up. The Patriots are notorious for making trades in the first round when they have more than one pick with which to work. They also have two picks in the second round (43 and 63) offering them plenty of collateral. The catch here might be that they have very similar needs to the Raiders — cornerback, tackle, and linebacker, so they may be perfectly happy staying put. However, there is some buzz that the Patriots like QB Lamar Jackson, and with several QB needy teams well ahead of them, they may need to trade up if they are to get him.
Carolina Panthers at 24
They too would be very interested in either Derwin James or Minkah Fitzpatrick and it seems very likely one or both will be there when the Raiders are on the clock. To move down 14 spots in the first round would require some serious draft pick compensation. They have pick 55 in the 2nd round and two 3rd round picks (85 and 88) to offer up for that move.
Minnesota Vikings at 30
This would be a long drop in the first round for the Raiders to make, so it would take a lot. Who the Vikings could be after is Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, widely considered one of the top players at any position in this draft. The question is if the Vikings would be willing to give up the kind of draft picks necessary to jump up 20 spots in the first round. And would they do that for a guard? Add that Nelson is fairly likely to be gone before the Raiders pick, and you see why this scenario is a long shot. No worries though. Just throw in Xavier Rhodes and let’s make a deal.