Are Raiders more or less likely to draft QB early after Antonio Brown trade?
Antonio Brown will soon be a Raider, and Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock apparently will pull off the deal by promising $30 million guaranteed and sending Pittsburgh third-and fifth-rounders but preserving all three of their their firsts in next month’s draft.
That’s obviously a big win for Oakland if we’re purely basing it on draft expenditures. But it certainly increases the pressure on Gruden and Mayock to parlay their rare draft war chest into the type of haul that can turn the 4-12 Raiders around quick enough for the Brown deal to make some semblance of sense.
Remember, Gruden traded two of Oakland’s three best players — Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper — last year to position the Raiders for this draft. Now, the Raiders must make good on the goal they stated at the combine of getting younger and more talented — and fast.
Does the Brown acquisition mean the Raiders aren’t in the first-round QB discussion anymore ... assuming they ever truly were to begin? Our gut reaction here says yes, they’re out, and will instead focus on finding the kind of offensive tackle, pass rusher and perhaps another impact defender capable of plugging more glaring holes immediately.
The flip side to that is, if the Raiders can find a legit trade partner for Derek Carr and envision one of the first-round QB prospects having plug-and-play ability, they can potentially secure some financial relief for the Brown move and immediately begin reaping the benefits of a productive quarterback on a rookie deal with all the other draft capital to quickly build around him.
Remember, Brown already has been working out with potential No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray, and no team has more draft flexibility than the Raiders to entice Arizona to trade out of that spot. Gruden also had the highest of praise for Dwayne Haskins, the other prospect still vying for QB1 overall billing.
It seems, then, that the Brown trade didn’t tip the Raiders’ draft hand one way or the other. But it did ensure we’re talking about Gruden’s Raiders plenty over the next six-plus weeks, now with the addition of Mr. Big Chest.