Sports Out West

NFL Draft 2014: Should the Raiders trade up?


Recently, the Houston Texans have been rumored to being open to at least discussing trading down from the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft.  Several teams have been rumored to want to move up but nothing is definite as of yet. 

On Wednesday things could begin to become clearer.

On Wednesday Jadeveon Clowney is scheduled to have his pro day.  He is already seen as the most athletic player in this year’s draft.  If he comes in and is in peak physical condition, it may also begin to answer the questions about his motivation level. 

Many analysts have argued that Clowney is not football savvy.  He doesn’t appear to have much technique to in his repertoire. 

While many pundits maybe turned off by his lack of pass rushing moves, his athleticism cannot be ignored.   He is 6’5, 245 pounds, and ran a 4.53 in the 40 yard dash.  That 40 time is as fast as wide receiver Mike Evans who is slated to be a top-10 pick in May’s draft. 

Clowney is not the first highly sought after pass rusher to have people question him.  Here is take on former No.1 overall pick Mario Williams before he was drafted.

“Despite being so talented, Williams has not dominated like he should. He just seems to disappear at times. For how big and athletic he is, he should just own opposing tackles. Perhaps that is because he still relies on his athleticism to make plays. Whatever the reason, it does cause some concern.”

Williams started slow, having just 4.5 sacks in his rookie season.  In the seven seasons since he has had 72 sacks. 

Where Clowney is as a player today is not the question, the question is where can he be five years from now?  He could be one of the best pass rushers in the league.

The Texans seem not to want the pressure of the No. 1, so what better place for Clowney to go than the Oakland Raiders? 

The Raiders could offer the No.5 pick, along with a second round pick this year and next year.  It would be a steep price to pay, but Clowney would be teaming with free agent acquisition Justin Tuck and learning how to be a professional. 

This would not just be a splash move to make headlines; this would be a move that could be the cornerstone of the Raiders defense for a decade. 

The Raiders do have several other needs, especially in the secondary.  However, nothing helps a secondary better than a dominate pass rush. 

This would be a bold move for general manager Reggie McKenzie but it would also put his signature on the team.  He has yet to make the move that will help to define his legacy as a G.M. 

For better or for worse, this would be that move.

 Photo Courtesy: Stephen Morton/AP

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Keenan Actkins

Keenan Actkins is an Arizona resident living in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He brings a wealth of sports knowledge and passion to the team with his unique insight and strong voice and opinion. He also contributes to Yahoo! Voices and has written for
  • Trufus Teller

    The Raiders could do this, but they already signed Antonio Smith.

    They should hire Danieal Manning, Owen Daniels, Richie Incognito and DeSean Jackson. All free agent signings should be cheap other than DeSean Jackson because they were hurt or have had personal problems that they have to deal with. If the Raiders make these acquisitions for their offense and Danieal Manning as a safety, they could fix much of their defense through the draft. If they don’t hire DeSean Jackson, they could draft Sammy Watkins as their go to receiver.

    There are many positions that can be filled through the draft. Dee Ford, if still available in the second round, could be a nice pick up.— they shouldn’t trade up for Clowney unless they think that he is in fact the next Bruce Smith.

  • Rob Perrotte

    UHH NO! Raiders need to stay where they are at or trade down. If they were just a pass rusher away from being great then I would be all for it. There are just far too many holes to fill and once those are filled there are the Band-aid players that need to have successors in place when their short term deals are over