Aaron Donald (97) during the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders Draft Rumors: Aaron Donald, trading down


The Oakland Raiders have the fifth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and their top targets with that pick are expected to be Khalil Mack, Sammy Watkins, and Jadeveon Clowney in that order of likelihood to be drafted. While the Raiders could very well snag a quarterback in this year’s draft, it makes a lot more sense for Reggie McKenzie to pull a QB in the second or third instead of paying premium at the position with Matt Schaub in the fold and the potential for someone good to slip into the second.

Mack, Clowney, and Watkins are excellent, blue-chip prospects who would immediately be much-needed playmakers on either the Raiders offense or defense. Although the Raiders already have a nice duo of veteran pass rushers in Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley, Clowney would be simply too good to pass up on. Meanwhile, Mack would be a great fit for the Raiders as a DE or OLB, and Watkins would be a big playmaker at WR. Adding Watkins would probably make Denarius Moore a trade chip, as he would be the No. 1 WR with James Jones as the WR2 and Rod Streater as the WR3.

But what if all of those three players aren’t available at No. 5? It’s not inconceivable, and it actually happened in my last mock draft. Since I couldn’t find a trade partner in my head for the Raiders, I was forced to reach a bit for another uber-talented wide receiver prospect in Mike Evans.

In his latest mailbag, ESPN NFL Nation’s Paul Gutierrez wisely stated that the Raiders should look to trade down if none of those three prospects is there at No. 5. Watkins and Mack look like the two most likely options, but both could be gone, especially if nobody in the top four decides to pull a quarterback.

So who could the Raiders trade down for? Gutierrez reports that the Raiders like Pittsburgh Panthers star defensive tackle Aaron Donald “a lot”, and Donald is widely ranked as one of the top ten prospects in the draft class due to his elite interior pass rushing ability. The Raiders have a good group of DTs on paper, but Donald could be too good to pass up on as a dynamic interior weapon in the passing game, especially if the Raiders like him. It wouldn’t make sense for them to take him fifth overall, but they could easily pull him after trading down.


Tags: Aaron Donald Football Jadeveon Clowney Khalil Mack NFL Draft Oakland Raiders Pittsburgh Panthers Rumors Sammy Watkins

  • KloverJane

    We better get the best available.

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Biggest position of need for the Raiders? Playmakers, however and wherever you can get them.

  • Trevor

    I hope we trade down…. It just makes SOOOO much sense. Especially considering we could STILL snag an elite player later in the first while adding another star quality player in the 2nd. Thid draft is LOADED with talent especially in the second round and third rounds. We could really build up our team this draft by being smart and trading down AT LEAST once in the first. I don’t like watkins That much for us. We havr good young wrs as is and watkins isnt a freak like megatron or fitz , ect. Hes a smaller more torry smith type. Too much like the WR s we have now to give up That valuable of a pick

    • J Haskins

      Dude I was on board with your post until you compared Sammy Watkins to Torrey Smith. Torrey Smith? Really? I mean he’s a pretty good player, but please trust me when I tell you, he’s no Sammy Watkins. Sammy is REALLY good dude. Btw, Sammy was a first team All American as a true Freshman.

      • Trevor

        I personally think torrey smith is a stud and watkins is VERY similar to smith. Also similar to guys like maclin or desean jackson or DeAndre hopkins, . He just doesnt have the size to be a mega or green i dont think. I could be wrong… Im not saying he wont be a VERY solid (possibly probowl someday) wr , im just saying he isnt worth a top 5 pick. Not in the draft and especially not with how deep the WR position is in this draft and not to us with our current WRs. Id rather have mike evans (for the raiders not in general). That dude has the size, speed, AND tenacity to be a dominant force for oak with our current wrs. I think Watkins in cle or det or TB would be the best fit for him

        • J Haskins

          I get that you think Torrey Smith is in Sammy Watkins class. I was just trying to set you straight. I guess I was unsuccessful. So stay tuned. Watch Sammy work this year. I don’t even think he gets past Cleveland

          • Trevor

            Haha! Well… I can appreciate that. I think hes a great fit in cle with gordon and cameron. Now if brian hoyer plays like he did last year AND stays healthy… They could be a very dynamic offense. Ill see you at the end of next season and We’ll see who was closer lol

          • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

            I’d say Watkins is better than Torrey Smith, because he’s much more polished than Smith was coming out of college. Better route-runner, better hands, better at going over the middle if needed. As for the Browns, they are serious playoff contenders with a franchise QB and a top WR, whether it’s someone as touted as Watkins or a late first-round guy.

          • Trevor

            I’ll give you that. He is a little more polished as a route runner. I’m more responding to the talk that he is up there with Julio Jones, aj green, and calvin Johnson. I think at 5 he would be a reach for oak given the depth of the position and other elite talent available with the pick. That’s just my opinion. I don’t think Watkins is a great fit in oak at this point. I’d rather see oak trade down and add more talent. We need more than one impact player so trading down and picking up more quality players seems smarter to me

  • J Haskins

    There are actually (4) elite prospects in this draft imo. If Clowney, Mack, and Watkins are gone when the Raiders pick, they could take Mike Evans who is projected to go 7th to Tampa Bay. I also like the idea of trading down for Donald. He is very unique with that quick explosion inside. And he uses his lack of height to his advantage by getting lower than any of his opponents, while using far better leverage. I believe Donald is the best value in this draft. He’s easily a top 5-10 pick. Donald could mess around and win the DROY award. That’s how good he is.

    • Trevor

      I agree with trading down. Love donald… Also LOVE Rasheed Hageman. Dude is HUUUUGE!!! also gives us another great player in the second like Kyle Van Noy or duane bucaanon or hell if for some ridiculous reason teddy drops to the 2nd (i honestly cant imagine it) we could use our extra 2nd on him … We need another safety for woods to mentor this year and take over next.

      • J Haskins

        Yea I’ve been tellin people we need to get a FS. I like Deone Buchanan also because he not only brings the wood, he can also cover. He had a lot of INTs the last couple of years

        • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

          The funny thing about Buc is that everyone says that they love him as a safety after the first round (as in, we’d like to get him since we don’t want to spend too high of a pick on a safety), so it will be interesting to see where he goes.

          Agree with your assessment on Evans, and that’s why I had him going to the Raiders in my last mock with those “big three” guys gone. There are actually a few people who have Evans ranked higher than Watkins, and Evans’s size could be huge for the Raiders offense.

  • rob

    I am not sure why the author cannot think of a trade partner. How about the Giants, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, for starters. I think they can trade down with any team that wants to secure Evans, like Tampa Bay (or the 49ers for that matter), and still grab Donald. Alternatively, if they cant make a trade down in time, they can always take Evans and trade him later or keep him as this guy will eventually be an All Pro.

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Because I don’t think it’s worth it for the Bucs to trade up for a wide receiver when they can get their choice of OBJ or Evans at 7 (OBJ fits them better). I don’t see the Giants trading up this year either, because I don’t think they want to lose those extra picks. Meanwhile, the Vikings could trade up to secure a quarterback, but that all depends on how early QBs go. In the mock draft that I was referencing when I stated, “I couldn’t find a trade partner”, only one quarterback was selected in the top five, so both the Vikings and Bucs (yes, I had the Bucs going QB) didn’t have to make difficult picks at the position.

      But I could definitely see trade partners developing on draft day, and it all depends on who likes who and who wants to pay premium to secure their QB.

  • Buy_More_Guns

    IF raiders trade down they will take Barr or Donald. They are the 2 players with top 10 talent who have the biggest upside. Reggie just like AL is drafting based on future performance. THAT’S THE RAIDER WAY. FANG RULES !

  • Buy_More_Guns

    Clowney has NO football skills and is a DOG = PASS —- Bridgewater just plain SUCKS …….NEITHER will wear sliver & black. FANG RULES !

  • rob

    Good explanation of your analysis. Since not every team drafts for immediate need, and we don’t know the first four picks at this point, I see a number of potential trade partners for the Raiders.