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Draft gorge

Scouting Raiders' pick, Briggs' trade value and more

Posted: Tuesday April 3, 2007 4:24PM; Updated: Tuesday April 3, 2007 4:24PM
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If wide receiver Calvin Johnson is the best overall prospect in the draft, why shouldn't the Raiders take him at No. 1?
If wide receiver Calvin Johnson is the best overall prospect in the draft, why shouldn't the Raiders take him at No. 1?
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All draft talk, all the time. That's what I heard at the league meetings last week, that's what I get asked about on most every talk show I'm on, that's the subject of the story (featuring Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas) I'm working on for SI right now and that's what I'm prepping for this week. Fitting that your e-mails are heavy, heavy, heavy on the draft. So on with your draft topics, and a few others.

WHY SHOULDN'T THE RAIDERS PICK CALVIN JOHNSON? From Trevor, of Phoenix: "So if the following are true -- Calvin Johnson is the top-rated prospect overall, the Raiders pick first and no one wants to trade up for the number one pick -- why is it foolish for the Raiders to pick Calvin Johnson again?''

"Foolish'' might be the wrong word, Trevor, though it's very close. "Misguided'' is certainly accurate. The Raiders have one of the worst quarterback situations in football right now, arguably THE worst. At receiver, depending on what level of enthusiasm Randy Moss and Jerry Porter play with this year, the Raiders are somewhere between mediocre and good. Let's think about the relative importance of two positions -- quarterback and wide receiver. We'd all agree, I think, that quarterback is the most important position on a football team. To me, receiver is a position where good to very good players can be found down the line in a draft and in free-agency, players you can certainly win with. And quarterbacks can be found down the line too, quarterbacks such as Tom Brady. But if you need a quarterback, and there are two in this draft with good NFL potential, it makes sense to me to choose one of them. Let's say for a minute the Raiders don't address their quarterback situation until draft day, and let's say they take Calvin Johnson first overall and then Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton in Round 2. So now you've got -- barring a trade -- Johnson, Moss and Porter, elite deep threats all, with Andrew Walter and Drew Stanton and some veteran body like Joey Harrington rounding out the camp roster. You know what this means? It means you're going to have three frustrated receivers on your hands, thoroughbreds running in a rut-filled meadow. I keep hearing the Raiders are serious about taking Calvin Johnson. I understand the thinking of taking the best player in the draft, but I think the Raiders are crazy if they pass on JaMarcus Russell at No. 1 or Brady Quinn a few picks lower.

TRADING DOWN IS A TRICKY BUSINESS. From Paul, of Camp Verde, Ariz.: "What is the value of the first pick in this year's draft? How much could Oakland get for it if they traded down a few spots? Oakland needs help across the board, they are more than just JaMarcus Russell away from even being respectable. The only person worthy of their pick at No. 1 is Calvin Johnson. Even better would be to trade down, pick up a few extra picks and still be in a position to pick Russell or more likely Quinn.''

I'm asking pro personnel guys about why it's been so tough to trade down when you've got a high first-round pick, because it seems to be getting harder every year. I'm thinking of writing this in Monday Morning Quarterback next week. But my gut feeling is that the first pick this year has significant value because Johnson seems like a can't-miss guy. What could they get? Depends on the desperation of, say, Jon Gruden and the Bucs; do they really want to deal up for Johnson, like we're all hearing? Would the Bucs give next year's first- and this year's second-round pick to swap? My gut says no.

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