Oakland Raiders

Should the Raiders risk drafting a troubled player?

There are two players in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft with some off-the-field concerns whom the Oakland Raiders could seriously consider drafting. Though it is against Reggie McKenzie’s M.O. to draft guys with off the field issues, players with as much talent as Randy Gregory and Dorial Greeen-Beckham are rare. If McKenzie believes either player is contrite and dedicated to improving himself, the Raiders could take a shot.

Gregory likely only comes if the Raiders decide to trade back. Given his failure of a drug test at the NFL combine he will not be taken in the top four. However, if the Raiders trade back they could get another draft pick this year and still land a top five talent. That’s a darned good deal and one the Raiders could really use, given their need to upgrade at so many positions.

With Green-Beckham, the Raiders would be getting a guy with early first round talent at the top of the second round. However, he has much more baggage than Gregory and did not even play football in 2014.

When looking at a guy like Green-Beckham, the Raiders need to be concerned with whether he is the next Josh Gordon or the next Justin Houston. Gordon has elite talent but just cannot seem to keep himself on track. Meanwhile, Houston, who also failed his drug test at the combine, has been productive and without incident since joining the NFL. Ideally, you want a guy like Houston who made a mistake, paid for it in his draft status and then made the changes necessary to be successful.

DGB has much more Josh Gordon in him and as such is a bigger risk. And with the Raiders out in front of the league when it comes to their commitment to domestic violence prevention, Green-Beckham’s past — he was accused of forcing his way into a girlfriend’s apartment and pushing a woman down some stairs, but never arrested because witnesses were reluctant to lodge a criminal complaint out of fear — might take him off Oakland’s board entirely. Meanwhile, Gregory does not have a long history of problems and would seem likelier to end up more like Houston. So if the Raiders are going to take a risk on a guy with off-the-field issues, Gregory seems to be the better bet.

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