In an offseason where the Raiders have a lot to consider with their 17 unrestricted free agents and salary cap situation, they won't be able to be big players in free agency. With that said, the Raiders only choice to make themselves better will be through the NFL draft.
In the draft, the Raiders will have many needs to address and will need as many picks as they can get in the draft to have any shot at competing for the playoffs next year.
The Raiders should get some more compensatory picks, but even those would be no higher than the third round. Considering it took a departing free agent as respected as Nnamdi Asomugha to get them that third round compensatory pick, the Raiders compensatory picks this year will likely be further back than the third round.
Now we get to the option of trading some picks in exchange for more picks.
There are a lot of factors to consider when trading down in the draft. Among those factors are the needs of other teams, because if a team is going to give up something to move up it will be because they want an available player.
Another and more important factor, is the Raiders' own needs. The Raiders could use a pass-rusher and there will certainly be some good prospects available here. If the Raiders stay with the third overall pick, they will certainly get an impact player on defense who can rush the quarterback.
But because the Raiders have so many needs, can one impact player be expected to make a huge difference on this team?
If the Raiders don't trade down in exchange for more picks, they will be off the clock until the third round barring another trade taking place.
If the Raiders were to trade down to the middle of the first round, they would need to demand a second round pick in exchange to shorten the time between picks. This brings us back to the needs of other teams and if they see a player available that they are willing to part with a first and second round pick for.
The problem is that the only time you would see a team part with such high draft picks is if there was a franchise-changing player available and that is not the case in this draft.
I don't think the Raiders will be able to get enough in return for the third overall pick. If they can find a deal that gets them back into the second round as well as the middle of the first round then they should do it.
If I were Reggie McKenzie, I would look to trade players such as Rolando McClain and Tommy Kelly for more draft picks. Those trades would get the Raiders closer to being under the salary cap and it would help build up a stash of picks.
Moving into the second round could be possible by packaging that stash of late picks and looking for an interested team. If not, the Raiders can hoard picks towards the end of the draft and find some decent players there as well.
If the Raiders could add that impact player like Jarvis Jones with the third overall pick and stack up picks later in the draft, they could add a lot of help in the 2013 NFL draft.
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