When the NFL Draft kicks off in April, there's a good chance you're going to hear a lot about the Raiders on the first day of the event and that's because Oakland will be going into the first round with more draft ammo than any other team.
Over the past five months, Jon Gruden has slowly been stockpiling first-round picks. Back in September, the Raiders traded Khalil Mack away to the Bears in a deal that for 2019. The Raiders then in October when they traded Amari Cooper to the Cowboys.
Thanks to those two deals, the Raiders will now be going into the first day of the draft with three picks in the first round (fourth, 24th and 27th overall).
So what exactly do the Raiders plan to do with those three picks? According to Gruden, the team might look to shake up the entire first round by making a few trades.
"I think there's a lot of potential for trades, and I think that's one of the things I'm excited about [with new general manager] Mike Mayock," Gruden said this week on the team's podcast.
The advantage of having Mayock, who was NFL Network analyst apparently knows everyone in the business., is that the former
"What he brings to the table, he's got great resources around the NFL," Gruden said. "He's been in every building, he's on a first-name basis, everybody knows Mike and I think he's going to be on the phones quite a bit with the two picks you talked about. Who knows, we may move up with the No. 4 pick, we may move back with that pick. We'll see how it all unfolds."
If you're wondering what the Raiders might do with their bevy of picks, our draft experts have a few theories. In his latest mock draft, CBSSports.com NFL editor R.J. White has the Raiders trading away the fourth overall pick to the Jaguars in exchange for Leonard Fournette. The move would drop the Raiders to the seventh overall pick, but they'd also get a former first-round pick in Fournette. With Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin both over the age of 30 and Gruden being an old-school guy who loves to run the ball, the move makes a lot of sense.
In another mock draft, CBSSports.com NFL writer Jared Dubin has the Raiders moving down from the fourth pick to the sixth overall pick in a trade with the Giants. In this case the Raiders would make the move to pick up more draft capital for Day 2 and Day 3, which would allow them to fill a few more holes.
If you want to check out any of the mock drafts we have here at CBSSports.com, be sure to click here.
As for Gruden, he actually hasn't been spending much time on the draft just yet, and that's because he's been honed in on free agency, which starts on March 13.
"That's what we've been doing the last 10 days," Gruden said when asked about preparing for free agency. "We've been doing nothing but studying free agents. Guys [whose] contracts are up, obviously we aren't looking to add players that are at the end of their career. We're looking for blossoming young players, those guys usually don't get to free agency."
Gruden is hoping that he can team with Mayock to find a few "diamonds in the rough."
"The pickings are slim for everybody, but there are a couple diamonds in the rough," Gruden said. "We'll see where the market goes, but you don't want to spend all your money that you have on a few free agents, you want to try and keep some of that money available in case a trade might develop during the draft."
This is definitely a big offseason for the Raiders. Not only does the team have the salary cap space to make a splash in free agency, but they have the draft capital to completely revamp their roster. If Gruden can't turn things around in 2019, then this team could be in some trouble as they get ready to move to Las Vegas in 2020.