The Raiders currently own the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL draft. That may not be the case through Thursday’s 5 p.m. hour.
Trading the pick is certainly possible, especially if the first three selections don’t fall according to plan. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has contingency plans for every scenario, and will know exactly what to do when he’s on the clock.
He’s already spoken to prospective trade partners, and has a clear idea of what his No. 4 pick is worth, a value contingent on players left available. As previously discussed, a team looking for quarterback Marcus Mariota may pay a higher price than most due to demand.
“It has to be the right deal,” McKenzie said last week. “It always depends on the player who’s there at your pick. There are a lot of factors that factor into that. But, yes, my phone line is always open. You hear everybody out. If it makes sense and it’s going to help the Raiders, we’ll do a deal.”
[BAIR: Raiders seven-round mock draft]
A top four selection may help the Raiders most. We don’t have access to the Raiders’ big board, but sources indicated the Raiders plan last year.
Khalil Mack was the ideal selection at No. 5 in the 2014 draft. If he was gone, the Raiders were going to look to trade down. If they didn’t like deals offered, receiver Mike Evans was going to be the pick.
It’s known the Raiders like USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams this year. There could be solid receiving options in Alabama’s Amari Cooper and/or West Virginia’s Kevin White if Williams is off the board.
What will they do in that scenario? We might find out later Thursday evening.
If they choose to trade, what’s the end goal? How far would they drop in the first round? Trading down is tricky because there’s no guarantee your guy will be available.
“There are different ways of doing it,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Some teams will trade up for a specific player, but will trade back to get into a clump of players. You have to feel good about where you’re landing spot would be if you do go back.
“There is a lot that goes into the trade element. It’s obviously a very exciting part of draft day, when some of these different trades come up. Everybody is trying to analyze them. At the end of the day, both sides have to feel good about what they’re acquiring.”
That’ll be the case beyond the first round. McKenzie made an excellent draft-day trade last year, exchanging his third-round pick for Miami’s third round pick and a fourth-round selection. McKenzie picked up left guard Gabe Jackson in the third and promising cornerback Keith McGill with his extra selection in the fourth.
McKenzie would prefer to stockpile picks and create more opportunities like one he had last year. Trading down in any round could aid that cause, though the highest picks garner the most in return. There’s no way to predict what trades make sense until the draft gets going. That point applies far beyond Thursday’s first round.
“We go through all those scenarios, absolutely,” McKenzie said. “That’s not just with pick one. That’s all the way down the line. Different scenarios of whether you move up or back, but it all depends on the board at that point.”