By finishing 4-12, the Oakland Raiders earned the No. 3 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft.
But will they actually use that pick? Or will General Manager Reggie McKenzie deal it away for a bundle of picks?
With the draft four months away, it’s of course impossible to know how things will shake out and what the Raiders will do. But knowing that the Raiders are hungry to rebuild their roster – and that many high-priced veteran players could be released this off season – it might be very tempting for McKenzie to trade away his prized pick for extra picks that will help him turn around the franchise more quickly.
As it stands now, the Raiders will have the No. 3 overall pick but no second-round pick (a casualty of the trade for quarterback Carson Palmer). The Raiders also will have a third-rounder, a fourth-rounder, no fifth-rounder, a sixth-rounder and two seventh-round selections.
There is, of course, some recent history that shows what a No. 3 overall pick is worth.
In the 2012 draft, for instance, the Vikings had the third overall selection and traded the choice to the Browns, who were to draft in the No. 4 slot. Cleveland wanted to move up to take running back Trent Richardson of Alabama. In return for moving down one slot, the Vikings not only got the Browns’ No. 4 pick but fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round selections.
On the other hand, if McKenzie were to keep the third overall choice, superstar-type talent is available. Since 2005, among the players selected in the position have been Larry Fitzgerald, Matt Ryan and Gerald McCoy. There also have been some major whiffs, such as Vince Young.
As AFC West blogger Bill Williamson of ESPN.com wrote recently, the lack of a second-round pick for a rebuilding Raiders franchise is “a killer,” so the Raiders might be smart to trade down lower into the first round and pick up a second-round pick as well.
“They may need to think about compiling picks because of needs,” he wrote.
The Raiders have multiple needs including an impact defensive lineman, a cornerback, a linebacker and on the offensive line. Plus, depending on what high-price veterans are cut free, there may be further holes.
As the draft approaches and McKenzie knows more specifically what his roster looks like, and what type of talent is available from the 2013 draft class, he may get an offer for his No. 3 selection that will be just too good to refuse.