So we go again, another day, another mock. I'm about one mock over the line, because there are too many variables involved with the NFL Draft and thus most mocks are merely based on the rumors and perceptions of the day.
However, I can state one constant with confidence, that the Oakland Raiders should trade down with the Philadelphia Eagles for two picks in the first-round and another pick.
Or with the Detroit Lions for their first-rounder from Dallas, their second and fourth. But also acquire another first-round pick for a first round pick in 2010.
Why the Eagles Should Do It: They need an impact player now in order to contend for the Super Bowl. Eagle fans are antsy now, thanks to the Phillies. Donovan McNabb's popularity in Philadelphia is on the hot-seat. The Eagles could use the pick to select someone like OT Andre Smith or possibly WR Michael Crabtree.
Why the Lions Should Do It: The Lions not only need a franchise quarterback, but a franchise tackle to protect that investment. The Lions have a future great in WR Calvin Johnson and a good runner in Kevin Smith, but because their defense is a long way away, the Lions should aim to maximize their offense in 2009 like the Atlanta Falcons did (QB Matt Ryan, OT Sam Baker) and worry about the youth on defense for another time.
Despite what some in the Raider Nation think, I'm not convinced that wide-receiver should be the priority for the Raiders: Michael Crabtree's speed is unknown which will likely deter Al Davis, while Jeremy Maclin is too similar to Johnnie Lee Higgins, so I believe that the Raiders need a different approach to the draft than to stay at seventh overall.
I think quantity should be the priority—meaning, several good players rather than one impact player. I think they have big-play guys in Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, JaMarcus Russell, and even Zach Miller plus Johnnie Lee Higgins, but the Raiders need a better foundation around those players in order to flourish.
I've written that the Raiders should target DT BJ Raji; however, if the Raiders can trade down with Philly or Detroit, I think they should.
I know, I know. Al Davis has rarely traded down (if ever). Davis still knows the game like the back of his hand, but he's also stubborn as a result of past success. We Raider fans have given Davis leeway on the issue because of what he's done, but we also know that the Raiders need to update some philosophies—as in, the draft.
Before the great success of the 1983 NFL Draft and the magical trade that was The Trade of Herschel Walker to the Vikings from the Cowboys: The Draft did not have the relevance it has now. And the fact is, the Raiders last won the Super Bowl in 1984.
College players are better prepared for the pros, because their agents prepare them so, in order to maximize their earning potential in the Draft.
Every player at every position strives to be the best at their position, which devalues the importance of one or two players—a team must cover every facet of the game from the wedges and the long-snapper to the tackling-machine and the signal-caller.
I hope though that Al sees this Draft as a new opportunity to collect value after overspending on flops (they know who they are), and I hope that Detroit or Philly would see the value for them in trading up.
The Raiders would benefit greatly by adding an outside linebacker, safety, defensive-tackle, and an offensive-lineman within the first three rounds, so they would need extra picks in order to do that.