Earlier this offseason I wrote a piece saying that the Oakland Raiders should not trade out of the number four spot unless they can convince the Cleveland Browns to give up both of their first round picks and their second-rounder to move up. But despite what I think the team should or shouldn’t do, there is one scenario where the Raiders are almost guaranteed to trade back.
With the first pick of the draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all but guaranteed to take a quarterback, most likely Jameis Winston. The second pick by the Tennessee Titans is a true wild card. Some believe they will take whatever quarterback the Bucs pass on, some think they will trade back and others figure they’ll take Leonard Williams. It’s the third scenario that matters for our discussion here. If Williams is off the board at number two, many believe that the Jacksonville Jaguars will take Dante Fowler Jr. with the third pick of the draft.
In that scenario, the Raiders will be sitting at the number four pick with both of the top two defensive players off the board, both of the top two wide receiver prospects on the board and a top two quarterback just sitting there. In that case, the Raiders would be able to trade back and still land a very good wide receiver (even if it’s not Amari Cooper or Kevin White, the fact that they fell further means other wide receivers will as well). It also means that there is a player available, most likely Marcus Mariota, who will bring a lot of attention and could command a high price.
In this case, it is almost a certainty that the Raiders will trade back. They appear destined to take a pass rusher or a pass catcher in the first round — with Williams and Fowler off of the board, there are no more pass rushers worthy of such a high pick. Even if they trade back out of the top ten and both Cooper and White are gone, guys like Devante Parker and Jaelen Strong will still be available, as will pass rushers like Vic Beasley and Arik Armstead.
If the draft were to play out like this, I would be surprised if Reggie McKenzie passed on the opportunity to stockpile draft picks while still getting a guy to fill one of their greatest needs in the first round.