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Dueling mock drafts: Trade up or trade down

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NFL Combine
Anthony Richardson, CJ Stroud
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders have been the subject of trade rumors when it comes to the upcoming NFL Draft. Some believe the Raiders will trade up to draft their “quarterback of the future” while others feel they’ll move back to add more picks in the middle rounds.

So, for each situation, what might the draft haul look like for the Silver and Black?

Below are two mock drafts; one where Las Vegas trades up and another where they trade down. This way, we’ll have an idea of what they can get in either scenario, and a poll is included at the bottom where you can vote on your preference. Also, feel free to share your rationale in the comments section and let the—respectful—debates begin!

Trade Up

Trade: Picks 7 and 70 and 2024 2nd-rounder to Arizona for pick 3

Including a second-round pick was pretty much inevitable to get the Cardinals to accept the trade, but at least it’s deferred until next year. The Raiders will still make at least one selection in every round and only lose one pick in 2023, going from 12 picks to 11.

Round 1, pick 3: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

With Bryce Young and CJ Stroud going first and second overall, the Raiders get the third-best quarterback available who arguably has the highest ceiling. This would be a great landing spot for Richardson as he can sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo and develop for a year or two while Las Vegas picks up their quarterback of the future.

Round 2, pick 38: Daiyan Henley, LB, Washington State

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Washington State at USC
Daiyan Henley
Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was tempting to go with an offensive player here as Ohio State offensive tackle Dawand Jones, TCU guard Steve Avila and Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave were available, and all three could fill needs for the Silver and Black. However, the team’s defense needs a major face-lift and Henley has the coverage skills defensive coordinator Patrick Graham covets from linebackers.

There were also a couple of intriguing edge rushers in Kansas State’s Felix Anudike-Uzomah and LSU’s BJ Ojulari, but I opted for the more immediate need.

Round 3, pick 100: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse

Williams is a great value in this spot. He’s ranked 49th on Pro Football Focus’ big board and has an average draft position of about 77th overall according to their mock draft machine. It also helps that he fills a major need in Las Vegas, but he is coming off a torn ACL and might need some time until he’s back to full strength.

Round 4, pick 109: Moro Ojomo, DL, Texas

Round 5, pick 141: Davis Allen, TE, Clemson

Round 5, pick 144: Yasir Abdullah, EDGE, Louisville

Round 5, pick 175: Jerrod Clark, DT, Coastal Carolina

Round 6, pick 204: Antonio Mafi, G, UCLA

Round 6, pick 214: Quindell Johnson, S, Memphis

Round 7, pick 220: Juice Scruggs, C, Penn State

Round 7, pick 231: Dee Winters, LB, TCU

Pro Football Focus Mock Draft results
Pro Football Focus Mock Draft results
Pro Football Focus

Trade back

Trade: Pick 7 to Pittsburgh for picks 17, 32 and a 2024 4th-rounder

There were a couple of other options where I could have gotten a higher first-round pick in return by trading with the Eagles (10th overall), Packers (15th) or Commanders (16th), but the kicker in the Steelers’ offer was the Bears’ second-round pick. That’s essentially like adding an extra first-rounder since the Dolphins forfeited their Day 1 selection. With this trade, the Raiders will have five picks in the Top 100 and get a fourth-round pick next year.

Round 1, pick 17: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

It’s no secret that the Raiders could use an alpha dog at cornerback. They have a collection of solid to good players at the position but lack top-end talent. That’s where Banks comes in with his 4.35-second 40-yard dash time, 42-inch vertical and perfect 10 RAS score. It also doesn’t hurt that he forced 13 incompletions last season.

Round 2, pick 34: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOV 19 Illinois at Michigan
Mazi Smith
Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This is probably a little early to take Smith for my liking, but there’s no denying the athletic potential he possesses. He was listed as No. 1 on Bruce Feldman’s Freaks list this summer and has plenty of potential to develop into a Pro Bowl defensive tackle. The Wolverine fills a need in Las Vegas and would be a good fit in Graham’s system.

Round 2, pick 38: Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State

The downside of the Darren Waller trade is the Raiders now have a big need at tight end. However, Musgrave has the same length as Waller—both measure in at 6’6”—and can stretch the seam like Waller can with an impressive 4.61-second 40-yard dash time. Taking Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell was also tempting here but after two defensive picks, it was time to add an offensive weapon.

Round 3, pick 70: Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford

If the Raiders do trade back, they’re likely to pick up a project quarterback later in the draft as head coach Josh McDaniels said at the combine that this class is deep at the position. McKee could easily be that guy and Las Vegas is reportedly interested in him. There was an opportunity to draft Williams in this spot, but getting someone under center is more important.

Round 3, pick 100: Karl Brooks, DL, Bowling Green

It’s hard to argue against Brooks’ production. He racked up 10 sacks last year and tied for the second-most pressures among all FBS defensive linemen with 69. He’ll have to make the switch from MAC defensive end to NFL 3-technique and his run defense is a work in progress, but he’ll boost the Raiders’ pass rush immediately.

Round 4, pick 109: Ivan Pace Jr., LB, Cincinnati

Round 5, pick 141: Viliami Fehoko, DL, San Jose State

Round 5, pick 144: Ronnie Hickman, S, Ohio State

Round 5, pick 174: Jalen Moreno-Cropper, WR, Fresno State

Round 6, pick 204: Chandler Zavala, G, NC State

Round 6, pick 214: Jake Andrews, C, Troy

Round 7, pick 220: Gervarrius Owens, S, Houston

Round 7, pick 231: Will Mallory, TE, Miami

Pro Football Focus Mock Draft results
Pro Football Focus Mock Draft results
Pro Football Focus


Vote for your favorite of the two mock drafts—trade up or trade down—and drop your rationale in the comments section!


Which draft would you prefer?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Trade Up
    (160 votes)
  • 68%
    Trade Back
    (355 votes)
515 votes total Vote Now