Going into Thursday’s first round of the NFL Draft, Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie knows he’s one of the most popular guys in the league.
Plenty of other GMs from across the NFL are calling him this week to say hello – and also see what it would take to pry the No. 3 overall pick from his hands.
In a meeting with Bay Area reporters Tuesday, McKenzie said there has been plenty of “action” from teams contacting him.
And for now, that’s his strategy. He’ll sit back and wait for offers to come in. If he gets one too good to refuse – he’ll make a move. Otherwise, he’ll stand pat and take the best available player at No. 3.
But whenever he makes his first pick – at No. 3 or a position lower in the first round – he says he’ll draft the best player available. He’s not going in with a specific need he believes he must address in the first round. Drafting for a specific need would come later.
“The key is drafting the best player,” he said of his first selection. “I don’t think you can draft for need, especially in the first round. I think you draft the best player, try to fill that need down the line.”
And, coming off a 4-12 season and with holes all across the roster, McKenzie has plenty of needs to address.
One popular scenario is that McKenzie will be able to sit tight on draft day until it’s time for his pick at No. 3, trade down to about the seventh spot and still pick up a top defensive lineman such as Florida’s Sharrif Floyd while picking up a second-round pick. As of now, Oakland is without a second-round choice because of the Carson Palmer trade in 2011.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com reports he’s heard the Arizona Cardinals, at No. 7, would be willing to make that move.
One thing McKenzie definitely has decided is he doesn’t want to go through another draft like the one he went through last season, when he had to sit by and watch the first round go by without a selection.
That won’t happen again.
“Try to keep your first-round pick,” McKenzie told reporters. “It will be more fun on Thursday when you’ve got one.”
As of Wednesday, the Raiders have seven picks in the draft: A first-rounder (No. 3); a third-rounder (No. 66 overall); a fourth-rounder (No. 100); three sixth-rounders (172, 176 and 205); and a seventh-rounder (209).