The fifth pick in the NFL draft is a valuable commodity.
At No. 5, the Raiders will be able to select an immediate-impact player, and one who might be around a long time.
In recent years, the Cardinals took cornerback-kick returner Patrick Peterson at No. 5 (2011) and the Chiefs got safety Eric Berry (2010). Both have been difference-makers.
So if the Raiders stay at No. 5 for the first-round selection on May 8, Oakland could wind up with one of the most highly-rated players available, such as wideout Sammy Watkins, linebacker Khalil Mack, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, one of three touted offensive tackles or a quarterback for the future.
Yet some believe the Raiders’ best course of action is to move down – as Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie did last year – and collect more picks.
Longtime NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. of ESPN in his latest mock draft has the Raiders taking Buffalo linebacker Mack with the fifth overall selection, but Kiper is partial to the idea of the Raiders moving out of that spot and picking later.
“I like the trade-down possibility a lot,” Kiper said in a conference call with reporters Thursday. “They’ve got holes at wide receiver, defensive tackle, outside linebacker, corner. The list goes on and on. They let some really good players go. Lamarr Houston is a real good player. Jared Veldheer is a real good player.”
Last year, the Raiders had the No. 3 overall choice and traded back to No. 12. They then took cornerback D.J. Hayden with their first pick and took offensive tackle Menelik Watson with the second-round choice they acquired in the deal, addressing two needs.
Also, Kiper believes the Raiders shouldn’t take a quarterback in the first round, and that several quarterbacks with potential could be available in the second round or later.
A rookie quarterback could have time to develop this season while playing behind designated starter Matt Schaub, the veteran picked up from the Texans via trade.
San Jose State quarterback David Fales is one possibility, Kiper said, as are Tom Savage of Pitt, Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, A.J. McCarron of Alabama and Aaron Murray of Georgia.
“He (Fales) played to me more like a fifth-round pick, but some feel like he can be a third-round pick,” Kiper told the media. “Garoppolo's 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 … 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.”