- Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer
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It is becoming clearer by the day the Oakland Raiders' wish list in the NFL draft goes something like this: defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, receiver Sammy Watkins, linebacker Khalil Mack, offensive tackle Greg Robinson.
But what if, as is a very good possibility, all four of those players are gone when it comes time for the Raiders to pick at No. 5?
According to ESPN NFL Insider Todd McShay, there are four "elite" players in this draft -- yes, Clowney, Watkins, Mack and Robinson -- before a slight drop-off begins.
Sure, Oakland could stay put and stay "safe" with Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews. But the Raiders are also intrigued by Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald and there have been rumblings about Oakland liking Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan more than Robinson. Still, are either of those guys, or even Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans, worthy of the fifth overall pick?
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie loves his draft picks, and while he now has seven at his disposal, he does not have one in either the fifth or sixth rounds, though he does have three in the seventh.
Trading back in the first round, as Oakland did last year in going from No. 3 to No. 12, could again be in the offing for McKenzie.
But who makes an appealing trade partner?
The way McShay sees it, any of the four teams slated to pick immediately after the Raiders -- the Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills -- could be, as well as the New York Giants, at No. 12.
"If some of the rumors you hear about Tampa legitimately wanting Johnny Manziel [are true and] he's there at 5, I guess that could be a possibility," McShay said in a conference call Thursday.
But McShay is not necessarily a fan of the top quarterbacks in this draft.
"There are four elite players and I think it would be a mistake to draft any of these quarterbacks over those four players," said McShay, referencing Clowney, Watkins, Mack and Robinson again as his "elite" players.
As for the Vikings, who pick eighth, McShay thinks they could get antsy if they want a quarterback.
"If it's Blake Bortles, if it's Johnny Manziel, whoever it is, if [the Vikings] were to look and say, ‘You know what, we need to move up three spots and just get our guy,'" McShay said, then Minnesota might make a good trade partner.
"Let's say Greg Robinson goes in the first four picks," McShay said, "Atlanta's going there at 6, and they're highly concerned about not getting, I think, Jake Matthews. Just my opinion. They could want to move up one spot just to solidify to make sure no other team moves up and goes and gets Jake Matthews, because I think he fits better in terms of what they're looking to do."
All of which could start a domino effect for the Bills or even the Giants, who select 12th.
"I would look at Atlanta as a threat," to trade with the Raiders at No. 5, McShay said, "if I need an offensive tackle."
As far as extra picks go, the Vikings have two third-rounders, at No. 72 and No. 96 overall, the Falcons have two fourths (No. 103 and No. 139, though the latter is a non-tradable compensatory pick) and the Giants have two in the fifth round (No. 152 and No. 174, a comp).
5dEric D. Williams
7dEric D. Williams