Oakland Raiders: Did They "Mortgage" the Future or Accelerate It?

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIApril 27, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 01:  Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders drops back to pass against the San Diego Chargers at O.co Coliseum on January 1, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

A common phrase that I have been hearing about the Oakland Raiders lately is that they "mortgaged the future" by trading away future draft picks for players.

It is well documented that Carson Palmer cost Oakland the 17th pick in this year's draft and possibly another one next year.  

It is also well known that the Raiders do not pick in the second round because of last year's trade that got them Taiwan Jones and Joe Barksdale. Their third-round pick is also unavailable because they already used it on Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft.

So Reggie McKenzie will be on the clock for the first time in his GM career when the 95th pick rolls around Friday night.  It will be his first of five picks the Raiders have in the 2012 NFL draft. That is not a lot of picks, especially for a team that is deprived of salary-cap room and depth on their roster.

But is it a problem that the Raiders do not pick until the end of the third round?  Did they really mortgage their future?  I don't think so.

Carson Palmer cost the Raiders the 17th pick in the draft.  What is more valuable?  A franchise quarterback or a draft pick?  Palmer will lead the Raiders' offense with a healthy Darren McFadden for the next several years.  But Palmer is old, what will the Raiders do when he retires?

Oakland already drafted a developmental QB who can hopefully take the reigns within the next five years. Terrelle Pryor was an impressive physical specimen in college, but he is a project QB that could have a battle on his hands to earn the No. 2 job next season.

As far as trading one pick for two picks last year with the New England Patriots, the Raiders didn't mortgage the future, they invested in it.  They got two players in 2011 instead of one player in 2012.  That's not mortgaging the future, that's a bargain.

The Raiders' fourth-round pick this year belongs to the Washington Redskins after the Jason Campbell trade. Campbell had the Raiders on the way to the playoffs last year before his season-ending injury. I would give up a fourth-round pick for a QB who could get us to the playoffs.  

The Raiders don't have a seventh-round pick this year because they got a former first-round pick in Aaron Curry. A seventh-round pick for a starting outside linebacker sounds good to me.

Now, here we are in 2012 and the Raiders are paying for all these trades, but it isn't as bad as people are making it out to be. The Raiders will have plenty of draft picks next year, barring a trading spree from Reggie McKenzie, to get their future back on track.  

Oakland is only on the hook for a first- or second-round pick via the Palmer trade. Even if it loses its first-round pick next year it isn't the end of the world. They didn't pick unti the second round last year, selecting Stefen Wisniewski—not a bad choice at all.

Having only five picks in this one draft is not going to derail the franchise.