Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole claims that the Oakland Raiders are likely to trade out of the number four slot in the upcoming NFL Draft. That, however, would not be very wise under most circumstances. The most ludicrous move would be to trade up in order to get USC defensive end Leonard Williams, as Cole suggests the Raiders could do. The team is nowhere near being one player away from contending — in fact, they need more than the seven draft picks they currently have. While Williams is a very good player who will greatly help whoever drafts him, giving up more picks to get him would be foolish.
Trading back, however, is a move worth more thought. The Raiders need a lot of help and trading back means more picks to address their litany of needs. Plus, the two biggest areas of need, wide receiver and pass rusher, are considered two of the deepest position groups in the class. The problem is, while those positions are deep, they are not deep in terms of elite players.
If the Raiders trade out of the number four spot, the chances they are able to land an elite player diminish greatly, while staying in that spot means they are all but guaranteed to land Leonard Williams, Amari Cooper or Kevin White. Yes, the team needs a lot of help, but more than that, they need great players. As it currently stands, the team really only has one guy that you can say is great and that’s Khalil Mack. Derek Carr has the potential to be great, as do players like Justin Ellis and Gabe Jackson on the lines, but Mack is the only one you can all but guarantee is going to be great for a long time.
Teams can’t win it all in the NFL without at least a handful of transcendent players. Just look at the two Super Bowl teams from last season, and it wasn’t just Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. Without guys like Rob Gronkowski, Darelle Revis, Devin McCourty, Marshawn Lynch, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, those teams are not nearly the same.
For that reason, the Raiders need to stay at the number four pick and relish the opportunity to add another great player in Cooper, White or Williams.
That is, unless the Cleveland Browns come knocking.
The Browns are the only team with the picks necessary to convince the Raiders to trade back. While they don’t have a pick inside the top 10, which would be ideal, they hold number 12 and another pick at 19. Giving up the number four pick might be worth it in order to get two first round picks and a second round pick back in exchange. That way, the Raiders can get two very high caliber players at 12 and 19 while also finishing with four picks in the first two rounds of the draft where starters are often found.
But unless that situation presents itself, Reggie McKenzie needs to stay at number four where he would be hard pressed to make a mistake with the pick.