The Raiders could certainly trade down from one of their three first-round picks to pick up extra selections later in the 2019 NFL Draft.
An early trade would net a strong return that could add Day 2 picks to their cache, something general manager Mike Mayock discussed a few weeks back.
There’s a window where this would work best however, considering the Raiders own selections at Nos. 4, 24 and 27 in the first round. Sliding down from the fourth pick would reap the most return, though it only makes sense to trade down into the teens with two selections waiting on deck in the 20s.
We also covered some early Day 2 options, some of which would likely be available with a pick gleaned by a slide down from 24 or 27. Let’s focus our efforts on options after trading out of No. 4, and still landing a top defensive lineman the Raiders so obviously need:
DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
Say what you want about his stat line. Rashan Gary can create chaos when he’s heathly and going strong. He’s an athletic freak, with crazy speed and agility for someone his size. He regularly wins one-on-one reps, and could be a dynamic playmaker if coaches can help him find the football faster.
And, it can’t be ignored that Gary’s a perfect Raiders scheme fit.
He has the size and strength to play defensive end for Paul Guenther. He can set an edge, do some dirty work and also get after the quarterback. He has all the raw tools, just like last year’s first-round pick, Kolton Miller. Jon Gruden took a high-ceiling athlete who nailed the combine last year following a trade down. He could do the same here with Gary.
One issue: The Raiders might not want to trade too far back if Gary’s the target. He could go at No. 6 to the Giants or several other teams right after that. It might require a small trade down or (gasp!) to just take him at No. 4 if a run on defensive linemen starts when the draft begins.
DL Ed Oliver, Houston
We talk about Oliver as a trade target, but reports out of New York suggest the Jets could take him at No. 3. The Raiders should proceed with caution if Oliver’s a trade-down target, lest he be gone quickly.
There are lots of Aaron Donald comparison’s floating out there, and even if that standard’s unfair, it also suggests there’s high esteem for a tenacious interior lineman with enough athleticism and versatility to play anywhere up front. He could even play end in the base defense, and Guenther could find imaginative ways to use this premier talent.
He’s one to keep an eye on for the Raiders if they move down a bit, or if Quinnen Williams is gone and they just write Oliver’s name on the card at No. 4.
DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
Ferrell enters the NFL already a pro’s pro. He works hard, has a wide range of pass-rush moves and knows how to play a prototypical 4-3 defensive end spot against the run and pass. He doesn’t rock the athleticism of the prospects above him here, but he brings great effort and can get off blocks.
He was an efficient producer in college. Many scoffed at a previous suggestion at his bust potential, but I’ll reiterate here what I said there, he could have a solid pro career, but will NFL production match worthiness of a mid-first-round pick? That’s a question mark, though I don’t think he has a super low floor.
That said, Ferrell is someone the Raiders could get trading into the teens with a team like Washington or Miami on a quarterback hunt and pick up significant capital in return. It’s certainly an option to consider with Ferrell and the bounty coming back.
DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
The interior lineman’s name hasn’t been associated with the Raiders much, but we’ll try and think outside the box a bit and suggest the Raiders could go after this big, imposing presence should they trade into the middle of the first round. He had 16 sacks and 40.5 tackles for loss in college, so he can make plays inside.
Wilkins offers a strong interior presence if the Raiders want and miss out on Quinnen Williams or trade out of the opportunity to select him or Oliver.
T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
Let’s throw an offensive player in here as well, despite a belief the Raiders are looking for defense from their top pick. A frontline tight end is also on the priority list, and Hockenson is expected to be the first skill player off the board.
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He’s pro ready and can excel as a receiver and a blocker, meaning Gruden could move him all over the formation as a wild card capable of doing anything. He would pair well with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams and make the Raiders offense tough to stop.
This is another case where the Raiders couldn’t trade down far and expect to secure someone expected to be a top 10 pick.