McKenzie in a Powerful Position Entering Draft

Raiders GM can wait, watch and deal -- or use No. 4 overall choice -- in Thursday's Round 1 of the NFL draft

With the hours slipping away before the NFL draft begins Thursday night, Raiders fans are growing more excited about the team’s possibilities.

With the fourth overall pick, Oakland is poised to pick up one of the premier players in the entire draft.

Yet it also seems just as likely now that general manager Reggie McKenzie could trade the pick. With all the jockeying at the top of the draft – with teams in need of a quarterback looking to move up to snag either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota – McKenzie says he’s already received several phone calls about trading for his No. 1 choice.

“My phone is always open,” McKenzie told the media recently. “You hear everybody out. If it makes sense and it’s going to help the Raiders, we’ll do a deal.”

One of the latest rumors is that the Atlanta Falcons, who have the No. 8 overall choice, might trade with Oakland for the No. 4 pick so they can select defensive end Dante Fowler of Florida, a player they allegedly covet. That move would no doubt net McKenzie the eighth pick, plus another high pick – a strong move that could help stock the roster for new head coach Jack Del Rio.

As Conor Orr of noted recently, the Raiders’ No. 4 pick could end up being one of the most interesting choices in Thursday night’s draft. Will McKenzie be able to pick up an impact player such as Fowler, USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams or Alabama wideout Amari Cooper? Or will he “help the Raiders” by dealing the pick for the chance to bring in even more talent?

McKenzie has given the media the impression that the Raiders are sitting in a great position heading into Round 1, and that he’s content to sit, wait, and see how things play out. He’s keeping all options open, but confident he’ll be able to add a player – or players – in the first round to help the Raiders improve.

“Our phone lines will always be open,” he told Bay Area media. “We just focus on our draft board and whatever happens on draft day happens. We still have the fourth pick. We’ll just sit and wait and see what happens. We don’t worry ourselves with who’s going to number one or number two, unless we want to move up. That’s all.”

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