Oakland Raiders Face Dilemmas Aplenty in 2009 Draft

Colin MehiganCorrespondent IApril 22, 2009

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 08:  Wide receiver Michael Crabtree #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during play against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Jones AT&T Stadium on November 8, 2008 in Lubbock, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. once famously stated that if he were an NFL general manager, he would do everything in his power to trade out of an early draft pick.

Kiper is of the opinion that Top 10 draft picks are too expensive and too risky.

He is absolutely correct.

When they gather in Northern California this Saturday, the Oakland Raiders face dilemmas aplenty in determining their crucial first round selection.

If the Raiders select a wide receiver, they could choose Michael Crabtree (currently injured and unable to set a pre-draft 40-yard time) or Jeremy Maclin (serious knee injury in 2006).

If the Raiders opt for an offensive tackle, they could select Andre Smith (dubious performances in both the SEC Championship Game and with his postseason workouts and attitude) or Michael Oher (greater consistency needed at the next level).

If the Raiders ultimately opt for the likes of B.J. Raji, defensive tackle from Boston College, or Brian Orakpo, defensive end from Texas, they will be accused of reaching at best or ignoring the aforementioned players at worst!

No matter what direction the Raiders take this Saturday, the recipient of their first round selection will have much to prove and will be expected to deliver consistent performances immediately.

The last three Raider first round picks (Michael Huff, JaMarcus Russell, and Darren McFadden) have yet to excel in the Silver and Black.

Huff has lost his starting place, and McFadden spent much of last year injured, while Russell faces a crucial 2009 as newly acquired backup QB Jeff Garcia patrols the sidelines with a clipboard in one hand and ambitions to start in the other.

There is an obvious solution for any team not wishing to gamble on an early first round pick in 2010 and beyond.

Win more games.