NFL Draft: Raiders A Perfect Trade Up Partner?
With the NFL Draft closing on us there are so many possible options and we are so excited for it to get here. (Side note: Really would like the Textgate issue to get resolved quickly as well.) The upcoming NFL Draft has some very good players, depth at important positions for the Cleveland Browns and the team, at least for now, has 10 picks to try to upgrade a team that was a surprising 7 – 9 last season.
GM Ray Farmer has shown that he is more than willing to move around in the draft. He traded down from 4, up from 9 and all around from the 3rd round on. That puts the Browns in place for a ton of moves. They could move down to try to pile draft picks for next year, with eyes possibly on a QB, or could trade up to make sure they got “their guy,” much like they did with Justin Gilbert last year.
Trading up, while it means giving up value, makes a lot of sense for the Browns this year. While the Browns clearly want to build through the NFL Draft, we reviewed recently that the team may only have 10 open roster spots next year. With many players still available in free agency, undrafted free agents and the Browns draft picks, filling 10 spots could be very easy. So instead of having to cut someone that they may have kept, by trading up they just get a better player and keep that last guy.
It isn’t a no lose situation at all but the option seems clear and the Oakland Raiders could be the perfect move up candidate, at least given information we get from our friend Eric Galko:
"-Back to Mariota. The current thought is that the Titans at #2 is the spot for a trade up, but I’ve heard the Raiders and Redskins are also actively looking to trade down. Two drafts ago, the Raiders moved from #3 to #12 without asking for too much (only a second rounder. I’d expect a similar situation this year.-I’ve repeatedly heard the Raiders don’t want to draft a receiver at #4 overall if possible. It doesn’t fit their board or value, despite it being a need, but they may have to if they can’t trade down. Ideally, the Raiders want to trade down to the teens to add a 2nd round pick, drafting a receiver or a defensive end (Shane Ray?). The Raiders do want to add a receiver in the first two rounds, but getting an edge player may be more important. In the second-round (or late-first trade-up), look for the Raiders to have serious interest in UCF WR Breshad Perriman and Mississippi State’s Preston Smith."
So two years ago the Raiders traded to 12, where the Browns currently sit, for a 2nd round pick. This year, not wanting to draft a receiver and wanting to add more players, the Raiders could be looking for something similar. So would the Browns be willing to part with #43 to move up from #12 to #4?
It would all depend on what player was available at the 4th pick, which would also impact if the Raiders were willing. For the Browns there are two, maybe three, players we could see them willing to move up 8 spots for: Leonard Williams, Marcus Mariota and Kevin White.
Williams is widely considered the best defensive lineman in the NFL Draft. He wouldn’t fill a hole at the nose for the Browns but would be able to fit in at either of the other DL positions. He can hold at the point of attack as well as get up the field pressure. Williams is the type of dominate defensive lineman that the Browns lack.
My love for Mariota is well known. I don’t believe he should start in Year 1 but believe that if he sits a year he would be a Franchise Guy. I also don’t believe the Browns are going anywhere without a QB and worry that Johnny Manziel just won’t be that guy. For the “cheap” price of a second rounder, Mariota may be worth it. Obviously some/many Browns fans are worried about a spread QB guy, understandable.
White is an interesting case. Most have him as the best receiver in the draft but Amari Cooper and Devante Parker may not be far behind. With the way Farmer values, or doesn’t, receivers and the great depth in this draft, trading up for White would be surprising but possible.
This is where Textgate raises its ugly head for the Browns. With 10 picks and 2 in the first, trading a 2nd to move up 8 spots is reasonable. That is still true if one of the Browns extra 4th rounders, or something lower, is taken but what happens if the league takes the Browns 3rd as we predicted as “severe” punishment? Trading a 2nd without having a 3rd rounder would be a tough pill to swallow for a draft heavy team.
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While trading away the future is not something we would recommend for any player in this draft, trading a 2nd rounder to move up 8 spots is a reasonable cost. The Raiders did it before, maybe the Browns take advantage this year to get “their” guy. Could Textgate punishment squash any chance of the Browns getting that chance?
Would you be in favor of this trade up? If so, for who?