Raiders begin draft-pick healing process

April, 30, 2012
4/30/12
2:20
PM ET
I know a lot of Raiders fans wanted to see new general manager Reggie McKenzie make a big splash and compensate for having less than a full slate of draft picks by trading up in the draft.

McKenzie, in his first year as a GM, made one deal as he moved down 10 spots in the fifth round and added a seventh-rounder. However, there were no bold moves.

It was the right call because the Raiders have to stop mortgaging the future. Compensatory picks can't be traded, so the Raiders could only deal their fifth- and sixth-round picks this year. Those picks have little value, so McKenzie likely would have had to include future picks if he wanted to trade up and pick higher than No. 95.

The problem is Oakland has a reduced draft class again next year, so McKenzie would have been foolish if he dipped into that class. McKenzie is not a fool.

The Raiders still owe Cincinnati a first- or second-round pick next year and they still owe Seattle a fourth- or fifth-round pick in 2013. The Bengals, as part of the Carson Palmer trade, will get the Raiders' 2013 first-rounder if Oakland goes to the AFC title game. If not, the Bengals will get the Raiders’ second-round pick.

As part of the Aaron Curry trade, the Seahawks will get either Oakland's fourth- or fifth-round pick based on Curry’s playing time.

The Raiders were bailed out by three compensatory picks this year. Don’t expect much of a comp-pick haul next season. The Raiders signed several free agents and lost Jason Campbell and Michael Bush to Chicago as free agents. So, unless Bush goes off in Chicago or Campbell has to play because of an injury to Jay Cutler, the Raiders aren’t going to get much in the way of comp picks. Yes, Oakland released several players who caught on elsewhere but released players are not part of the comp-pick formula.

Thus, Oakland is looking at a small draft class for one more year. McKenzie is playing it smart by being patient and careful. By 2014, it should pay off with a full draft class.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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