As of today, we are under two weeks from the draft. The mock drafts have been everywhere, but what most mock drafts aren’t good at predicting is trades. Something the Raiders did a lot of in last year’s draft. And from the sounds of it, they could be moving around a lot in this draft too. That starts at the 4th overall pick.
“There’s a finite amount [of potential prospects] at four, right?” Mike Mayock said in Thursday’s pre-draft press conference. “And that’s what we have to be prepared for, regardless of the scenario, we have to be ready to pick at four and be excited about a player. Now, we might move up, we might move back, who knows? We won’t know until draft night, but if we are ‘stuck at four’, we have to be ready to go and that’s a heck of a lot easier than worrying about all the permutations at 24 and 27 and 35.”
There have been rumors and speculation all over the place for the Raiders. One is moving up in a trade with the 49ers at the second overall pick to get Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa, who happened to be at their Alameda facility for his pre-draft visit while Mayock was speaking.
When you have a pick that high, there are going to be more options for trading down. Could the Giants want to jump up a couple picks, maybe to get a quarterback? They wouldn’t be the only team that could be making moves to get their QB. The Dolphins, Broncos, and Washington will all be very much in that market and perhaps even the Jaguars despite signing Nick Foles to a free agent contract.
Should Kyler Murray go to the Cardinals with the number one overall pick as many expect he will, Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock would be the top QB needy teams will be vying to get and that often means trading up to get them.
Let’s not limit it to QB’s either. Most mock drafts have Quinnen Williams as the top player on the board when the Raiders pick at 4. Some consider the big defensive lineman to be the top prospect in this draft. If that’s how the draft falls and a team below the Raiders covets him more than the Raiders do and are willing to send a high second round pick or more their way to make that move, might the Raiders do it? They’re certainly listening.
Making it clear they are all ears when it comes to trades will no doubt have a lot of teams on the phones with them once the Raiders are on the clock. Knowing this, the first time GM will be running simulations in the days leading up to the draft, preparing for a frantic, high-pressure situation, focusing mainly on the prospect of teams calling in to propose trades and lining up the trade values.
For that, there is are trade value charts, which according to Mayock, who is probably more familiar with the war rooms from around the league than most GM’s due to his time as a draft analyst for NFL Network, said vary, but only slightly.
“They’re all within points of being the same thing,” said Mayock. “If you’re on the clock and you have two minutes left and somebody is calling about a trade, unless it’s for an existing NFL player, you have to have a way to see what the benchmark is quickly. I think all teams are using these trade charts that are very, very similar. Now, you have to use your gut a little bit, and there are different times where you might want to get more, and there are other times where you might take less, but that’s kind of the benchmark to start with.”
In most cases, the draft value chart doesn’t really apply when a team is trading up to get their franchise quarterback. They are expected to have to pay more to do that, presumably because they are competing with other teams and the success of the trade is crucial to their team’s success.
Last year the Raiders had the 10th overall pick and traded down with Arizona to 15 so the Cardinals could select quarterback Josh Rosen. That probably should have meant the Cardinals offered more than the draft value chart suggested, but the Raiders took the deal at value which was a third round pick. Then, of course, they threw it away by sending that third round pick to Pittsburgh for Martavis Bryant. But that’s another story.
If you would like to go strictly on value, though, here is what you’d be talking about with regard to the Raiders potential draft movement using the classic Jimmy Johnson chart.
Trade up to 2nd overall (SF) — cost Raiders’ 4th and 24th overall pick
Trade down to 6th (NYG) — Yield Giants’ 3rd (95) and 4th (108) round picks
Trade down to 7th (JAX) — Yield Jaguars’ 3rd (69) and 4th (109) round picks
Trade down to 9th (BUF) — Yield Bills’ 2nd round pick (40)
Trade down to 10th (DEN) — Yield Broncos’ 2nd (41) and 4th (125) round picks
Trade down to 11th (CIN) — Yield Bengals’ 2nd (42) and 3rd (72) round picks
Trade down to 13th (MIA) — Yield Dolphins’ 2nd (48), 3rd (78), and 4th (116) round picks
Trade down to 15th (WAS) — Yield Washington’s 2nd (46), and two 3rd (76, 96) round picks
This doesn’t factor in potential future draft pick considerations as well, which if you’re talking about moving outside the top ten, those trades very well could include future picks. It also doesn’t factor in a team upping the ante to make that move.
Also consider that the Raiders may not be interested in a move down that doesn’t include a 2nd round pick. Mayock said flat out that he loves the picks between 20 and 60. The team has three in that range, but you can’t have too many.
“I love 20 to 60. I’d love to get a couple more picks in there,” Mayock said. “I just think we have a lot of holes that need to be filled. I think that’s a really good place to go fishing.”
There’s also the possibility of trading up or down with their picks at the bottom of the first round at 24 and 27 as well at at the top of the second at pick 35. That’s a lot of ammo to use to move up as well as pieces to offer other teams looking to move up.
Mayock reiterated that the Raiders “need to be nimble” and ready to move around at a moment’s notice if appropriate.
According to the draft value chart, packaging picks 24 and 27 could move them as high as Detroit at 8th overall. They could move up as far as 12th overall with picks 27 and 35. Should they want to keep two of that group of three picks, the best they could do is Pittsburgh’s pick at 20 overall.
The final scenario is trading down with one of those lower first picks. Often times, teams will get antsy and look to jump into the bottom of the first round to grab a player on day one, if only to ensure they get that 5th year option. The Raiders don’t have a pick in the third round (traded to Pittsburgh for Antonio Brown) and if they’d like to get one, that would be the way to do it.
Just about any team in the top half of the second round could make that trade up to 27 by adding in a third round pick. If more than one team is interested, the team with the higher pick in each round wins.
The possibilities here seem endless. This should be fun.