The Oakland Raiders currently hold the fifth overall selection in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Whether they keep that pick or trade back to acquire more picks is yet to be determined. The draft is less than two weeks away and since general manager Reggie McKenzie began calling the shots in Oakland; their draft strategy has been off the radar a bit. Last season they traded back and took cornerback DJ Hayden in a surprising move. This year they have many options. They filled several needs via free agency, giving them the power to draft the best player available, which has been McKenzie's strategy all along.
On a conference call, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. took time to talk about the upcoming Raiders' draft, especially their first round choice. He believes that their best option could be to move out of the fifth pick and gather more picks throughout. That way, they have the ability to fill more needs.
“I like the trade down possibility a lot for a team like Oakland,” Kiper said. “They have holes at wide receiver, offensive tackle, outside linebacker; the list goes on and on. They let good players go. Lamarr Houston was a good player. Jared Veldheer was a good player and they moved on.”
If the Raiders choose to keep the fifth pick, they will have some options. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney would be a dream, but he is assured to be gone. Kiper felt like it would be a “no-brainer” for the Raiders to take wide receiver Sammy Watkins, if he is available. He singled out three players he liked for Oakland at the fifth spot. The list included linebacker Khalil Mack, offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, and wide receiver Mike Evans.
“Trent Dilfer is big on Fales,” Kiper said. “I'm not as high on Fales as Trent. He played to me more like a fifth-round pick, but some feel like he can be a third-round pick. Garoppolo arm is just average with lots of short completions at Eastern Illinois, but he is a gutty kid and he looked good at the all-star game. McCarron is going to go in the second round out of Alabama. I think Aaron Murray is a little underrated in the fourth round area. Savage has moved up. He's got a big arm so maybe Oakland looks at him out of Pitt in the second or third round. He does have the size and the arm. There are 15-20 quarterbacks that could be draftable this year.”