With So Many Needs, Raiders Face Tough Decision With Their First Round Pick

Over the past six years, Reggie McKenzie has been one of the most difficult general managers to predict on draft day.

Now, with the added element of the always unpredictable Jon Gruden, the task becomes even more complicated.

Nevertheless, here are a few thoughts and even a prediction of sorts.

1 – With the 10th pick, the Raiders are in great position to trade down. With four quarterbacks expected to go in the top 10, we are bound to see a top player fall to the Raiders – and if one of the top four quarterbacks does fall, the Raiders would surely love to drop down to pick 12 (Buffalo), 15 (Arizona), or even 22 (Buffalo’s other 1st round pick).

Prediction: The Raiders will trade down on the first day of the draft.

2 – If four quarterbacks are drafted before the Raiders are on the clock, take any five players off this list and the rest will be on the board when the Raiders are up: Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb, Derwin James, Vita Vea, Tremaine Edmonds, Roquan Smith, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Denzel Ward.

All would fill a need in Oakland.

3 – What would the Raiders do if Barkley fell to the 10th pick?

Running back isn’t a huge need and there are plenty of good running backs bound for the middle rounds of the draft.

How can the Raiders justify leaving the first round without adding a playmaker on defense?

4 – Will the Raiders finally draft a linebacker in the first two days of the draft?

It would be nice, but somewhere in there they have to take an interior defensive lineman. NaVorro Bowman seems to be holding out to make sure he isn’t replaced in the draft the way he was in San Francisco last year.

If the Raiders don’t draft a linebacker early, there is a fallback plan at the position and they can still survive next season. The same can’t be said of their defensive line. Mario Edwards Jr. is about the best thing going in Oakland at defensive tackle and he’ll be a free agent after the 2018 season.

McKenzie has said he believes games are won in the trenches, but the trenches on his defensive side of the ball have all but dried up.

5 – Like it or not, it’s obvious that most NFL teams don’t prefer to deal with players that are political lightning rods. Is there a player or two that might drop in the draft for that reason?

Decide for yourself who that might be and how it could affect the Raiders.

twitter: @raidersbeat


6 thoughts on “With So Many Needs, Raiders Face Tough Decision With Their First Round Pick

  1. So many needs? Very general statement. Defense needs Defensive tackle and inside linebacker. Offense needs a right tackle. Special teams need a punter. These appear to be “Needs” The other areas are more “wants” e.g. we want another pass rusher, another cornerback in case Conley doesn’t pan out, another big running back. What do you think are our needs and why not put pen to paper and tell us.

  2. I would have to say both OT positions are a big need. RT have a bunch of young guys and a journeyman. LT Penn is 35 coming off a major injury that will require all offseason to rehab. Hopefully a QB drops to 10 where another desperate team trades up. Get McGlinchey and additional pick to get a DT later in the draft.

    If some how Barkely drops to 10th, that’s Zeke Elliot factor for Oakland. Can’t pass him up.

  3. I think the Raiders biggest need is an interior pass rusher and the only one worthy at ten is Mo Hurst. The guy is a great player that is explosive off the line and consistently pressures the QB. He is also very good against the run. Of course the Raiders would have to be comfortable that Mo’s irregular heart beat isn’t a serious issue. Without the medical concern he probably wouldn’t even make it to ten. Of all the players in this draft I think he helps the team the most. Ideally the Raiders trade back a few spots and still get him along with an extra pick in the second or third.

  4. I’m all in on Vita Vea at 10. The Raiders haven’t had someone to dominate on the D-line since Darrell Russel & Vea would unlock #52

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