McKenzie open to trading down in NFL draft

McKenzie open to trading down in NFL draft
May 1, 2014, 4:15 pm
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Reggie McKenzie has only orchestrated two drafts as general manager, but has a history of wheeling and dealing. (USATSI)

ALAMEDA –- Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie spent most of Thursday’s press conference, ducking and diving. Never once did he get hit with a jab.

He was predictably coy when addressing the press before next week’s draft, answering draft questions without saying a whole lot.

The Raiders seem open to just about anything in this draft, and that includes trading down and out of the No. 5 overall pick.

“Whether I stay at that pick depends on so many things,” McKenzie said. “I can not say what I’m going to do without a doubt right now.”

It will depend, of course, on who is available after the first four picks. If the right guys are already gone, McKenzie could bail out of the No. 5 pick.

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“I can not plan that at all,” McKenzie said. “I can’t just be hardheaded and stubborn and say, ‘I’m not moving.’ But that’s not my style. My phone line stays open on draft day.”

McKenzie has only orchestrated two drafts as general manager, but he already has a history of wheeling and dealing.

McKenzie made three trades last year to acquire more picks, including a deal with Miami that dropped the Raiders from No. 3 overall to No. 12. That’s where the Raiders picked up D.J. Hayden. They used a second-round pick that was part of the deal to select Menelik Watson.

Each time, McKenzie traded down. He did so in 2012 despite limited resources.

With such a deep draft and, without a fifth or sixth round pick in his arsenal, it seems probable that McKenzie would trade down this year too.

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ESPN reported this week that the Raiders were among the teams actively looking to move down.

“(Trade talk) is going to heat up later,” McKenzie said. “Guys are calling, it’s more peripheral, it’s getting a feel. I haven’t gotten a call for an actual firm offer.”

The Raiders have seven selections right now, though three of them are in the seventh round. McKenzie could stockpile picks by trading down, which seems far more likely than trading up and sacrificing a selection they already have.

“Knowing the picks I have going in, whether I lose one or two because I move up, or I gain a couple, this draft thing is, when you’ve got 31 other teams, you have no idea who they want at a certain time,” McKenzie said. “That’s what makes it fun – the uncertainty.”