Raiders shopping recent top draft picks as they brace for an offseason of many changes
Karl Joseph, Obi Melifonwu and Derrick Johnson are among the players the Raiders are willing to move
The deep divide between new head coach Jon Gruden and the holdovers in Oakland's front office was apparent in the purge of players the coach traded or released prior to the season, and efforts to part with several recent top draft picks continue, league sources said.
Gruden has been displeased with the talent he inherited from Reggie McKenzie's recent drafts. He began systematically replacing many such players over the summer and is currently shopping safety Karl Joseph, Oakland's top choice in the 2016 draft, sources said. Joseph has struggled with injuries throughout his brief career and quickly fell out of favor with the new staff, sources said.
The returns on Joseph will likely be limited, given his lack of impact at the pro level, and the fact his injury history at West Virginia gave many teams pause. Team sources indicated that 2017 second-round pick Obi Melifonwu may also be on borrowed time in Oakland; he too has struggled with injuries and is currently on injured reserve for 2018, but could be elsewhere in 2019. The Raiders are also willing to move on from veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson, sources said. Johnson was signed this offseason to be their starting middle linebacker.
The team and the roster remain in great transition and opposing teams believe the Raiders and the Cardinals will be among the struggling clubs most receptive to making moves ahead of the trade deadline, which comes in roughly two weeks.
"It may not be the Wild, Wild West out there like it was with Al (former owner Al Davis), who would be willing to do anything (at the deadline)," said one AFC executive. "But then again, it just might."
Ultimately, what this means for quarterback Derek Carr, Oakland's second-round pick in 2014, remains to be seen, though it's fair to say a growing number of GMs suspect Gruden may entertain offers for him as well in 2019, especially if Gruden's in position to draft his pick of quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. Khalli Mack, Oakland's top pick in 2014, was already dealt to Chicago in a monster deal before the season, and Gruden's pursuit of additional draft picks is not expected to stop there.
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