Last year, the Raiders cashed in flailing draft pick Jihad Ward for a sixth round pick. They also unloaded Cordarrelle Patterson for a late draft pick. It was surprising they didn’t unload more players for draft picks on draft day given the Brown trade.
Still, the Raiders could always make some moves before training camp. They might decide to free up some cap and reps if they don’t have plans for a player in the imminent future. Here are some players who could get unloaded for draft compensation on draft day.
Joseph had an awkward year. He started the year battling injuries, but earned his way back to the top of the depth chart. There’s some concerns about his scheme fit in the new regime. Joseph is under six feet and so is free agent acquisition LeMarcus Joyner as well as first round pick Jonathan Abram. Receivers are too big to have two safeties under six-feet-tall but the Raiders have three. You also got to factor in Erik Harris, who the team loves from last year. Curtis Riley and Nick Nelson also are corner and safety depth. Riley made four picks last year which means the team is stacked at safety beyond Joseph.
Plus, K.J. is a product of the last regime and we all know how Gruden likes to get rid of the old for the new. Many feel Abram is already Joseph’s replacement despite them playing together early in offseason activities. That could all be smoke to boost Joseph’s value.
Still, Joseph is only 25 and he is in a contract season, making $3.78 million. The 2016 first round pick registered 186 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions in 40 games with 32 starts. Someone might still try and tap into that potential by using Joseph in a hybrid safety role.
Last year, the Redskins sent a fourth round pick to the Packers for HaHa Clinton-Dix. That was mid season of a down year for Clinton-Dix. Thus, the Raiders could easily cop a third or fourth round pick for Joseph before or during the season. That is probably much better than keeping him as a third safety.
Speaking of former first round defensive backs, the team might move on, insert Gareon Conley. Conley was the Raiders best corner last year with three interceptions. However, he missed two starts last year and played in only two games the season before. Conley still needs to prove his consistency and durability before he becomes an untouchable player.
The Raiders also signed Riley and Nevin Lawson as well as drafted Trayvon Mullen to compete and add depth to the corner position. That means Conley, Nelson and Daryl Worley are all on notice despite major roles with the team last year. Conley is by far the best player and possesses the most potential. That’s exactly why he could be the most likely to move. Any of those other guys they could easily cut with little consequences.
Nonetheless, would the Raiders turn down a chance to get a pick if they believe Mullen can be CB No.1? Better yet, perhaps Conley is the centerpiece for a trade that would net Jalen Ramsey from the Jaguars? All ideas for them to think about if the new regime wants to find another no. 1 corner.
Justin Ellis or Eddie Vanderdoes
Justin Ellis is another player from the last regime who might get cashed in for a pick. Already, there was no surprise when the Raiders brought back Jonathan Hankins. He was one of the Raiders more consistent players upfront. The bigger surprise was that they would keep Hankins and still pay Justin Ellis over $4 million when they can cut him with little dead money.
Ellis only played in six games last year. The 2014 fourth round pick has 119 tackles and .5 sacks in 66 games and 42 starts. Those numbers aren’t gonna jump out at anyone but he is an agile player for his size. He can push the pocket and eat up running lanes. It would be great if the Raiders could get a fifth round pick for Ellis. Shoot, even a sixth or seventh round pick is better than nothing, especially if they take another defensive tackle high in the draft.
Defensive tackles in their late twenties change teams all the time, so a team who is interested in Ellis will probably just wait for him to become a free agent. Oakland will probably keep him until training camp; cough Mario Edwards Jr. last year. Eddie Vanderdoes could also be moved as he is buried on the defensive tackle depth chart too. Vanderdoes didn’t play a single game last year due to injury. That’s on top of the knee injuries in college. Plus, Vanderdoes was a pick of the last regime as well.
He flashed some run stuffing ability in his rookie year and he is only 24. There’s a chance one team might want him for cheap. Then again, they might just wait for the Raiders to move on from him. Oakland might just wait to see if he can contribute.
Either way, they’d be smart to get anything for the 2017 third round pick who is barely on the depth chart. Perhaps a team that runs a 3-4 might be interested in a package with both of these large men. That’s probably the best way to netting some sort of compensation instead of cutting both.
Jalen Richard or DeAndre Washington
Oakland’s running back position got a little less awkward when they drafted Josh Jacobs in the first round. They had two big runners in Isaiah Crowell and Chris Warren with smaller and more agile backs like Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. It was unclear who they would go with. Then, Crowell got hurt and they brought back Martin. Martin is small but more of a downhill back these days. Both Washington and Richard are similar in special teams value and stature. They can both catch and could find a role in Gruden’s offense, despite being holdovers.
In the end, Jacobs is still splitting reps with a lot of these guys. Sure, it is early but you want a first round running back to seize that position battle. Unfortunately, he never really did that in Alabama. Thus, the Raiders need some security at the position, but Washington and Richard are redundant.
Washington was a fifth round pick and Richard was an undrafted free agent. Getting a sixth or seventh rounder for either or both is ideal. Washington is only 26.His only season with more than 100 rushing yards came his rookie year when he finished with 467 yards for the season. Exposure to him has been limited since so a team might not be willing to trade something for him.
Richard is 25 and he has had over 200 rushing yards the past two seasons. Last year he had a career high in receiving yards with 607. That proves he can play in this league and that Gruden will work him into an offense. It also means the Raiders could get some compensation for him, especially since they could keep Martin or Washington for third down.
Either way, the Raiders would be smart to try and find some sort of compensation for these runners, even if it is a late conditional pick. Therefore, it makes sense the Raiders would shop either or both if they take another running back or want one in the third or fifth rounds.
You think anyone wants the Raiders backup quarterbacks? No. Would the Raiders trade players they’ve invested reps like Arden Key, James Cowser, Jason Cabinda or Marquel Lee? Probably not considering their defense is still filled with question marks and those LBs can always play special teams. How about the offensive line with Brandon Parker, David Sharpe, or Denver Kirkland? Nah, the Raiders don’t even know if they want any of those developmental linemen so it is unlikely anyone else does even if they provide good depth for camp. Tahir Whitehead, he can be cut with zero dead money too. He’ll probably stay on the roster until he isn’t. The team is already marketing him as leader and another team is unlikely to give up anything for a thirty-year-old linebacker.
Ultimately, the Raiders could always trade players from the past regime for more draft picks. That is especially true at positions where replacements are employed. We already know Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock are draft savants, so they should want to add assets than cut players outright.