Even with quarterbacks on the board, Buffalo's Khalil Mack may be the Raiders best option.
General manager Reggie McKenzie and his staff have been busy this offseason trying to rebuild a Raiders roster that went 4-12 in 2013.
In March, according to CBSSports.com, the Oakland Raiders traded for veteran quarterback Matt Schaub from the Houston Texans for a sixth-round pick. On top of adding Schaub, the Raiders re-signed running back Darren McFadden, safeties Charles Woodson and Usama Young and defensive tackle Pat Sims while agreeing to terms with tackle Austin Howard, defensive ends Justin Tuck and Antonio Smith, linebacker LaMarr Woodley, cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers, wide receiver James Jones, guard Kevin Booth and running back Maurice Jones-Drew, via CBSsports.com.
Because of the overhaul of talent via free agency, the Raiders' options when they pick at No. 5 could be endless. They could just draft the best player available, whether a quarterback, linebacker or wide receiver.
The Raiders' offseason spending spree does not make them an automatic contender in 2014, but they do have a chance to add an immediate impact player at No. 5.
With the addition of Schaub at quarterback and the level of talent at the position in the draft, the Raiders may try to move Terrelle Pryor during the draft. After the acquisition of Schaub, Pryor asked for his release, according to NFL.com’s Marc Sessler, via Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie.
In all likelihood, McKenzie will do his best to shop Pryor around to try and see what sort of value he can get.
The luxury for the Raiders will be waiting to see which player falls to them in the draft, and they may luck out if Buffalo's outside linebacker/defensive end Khalil Mack or Clemson wide receiver are still there when they pick fifth.
Watkins may not last that long because of his explosiveness and speed. A team like the Tampa Bay Buccanneers may be inclined to move up to try and grab him.
If Watkins is off the board, Oakland will have the tough decision of deciding between Mack and one of the quarterbacks that are left.
In a year-end round-table, McKenzie was asked if he'd be reluctant to start a rookie quarterback, and he responded, according to Vic Tafur of SFGate.com:
Yeah, rookies, it would be great if we can have them sit until we’re really ready to throw them in there, absolutely. But, to me, you have to make sure you surround those young players like that with good football players, whether it’s weapons, protection from an offensive line standpoint, run game.
McKenzie's comments make it appear that the team would be more willing to draft a quarterback in Rounds 2 or 3 to develop behind Schaub. They would be more inclined to go after Mack with the fifth pick.
Mack is an excellent edge rusher who has the ability to step up against the run and could excel as both an outside linebacker and 4-3 defensive end in the Raiders' scheme. Adding him to a defense featuring Tuck, Woodley, Sims and linebacker Sio Moore, the Raiders front seven would be a significant upgrade from 2013.
If Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater or Fresno State's Derek Carr slip in the draft, the Raiders could try and jump back into the first round and solidify their quarterback position for years to come.