Raiders mailbag: Is trading up an option in NFL draft?

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As the Raiders head into the offseason, tons of questions surround the club relative to the direction they take. And that means fans are eager for answers.



Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) gets off a pass over New England Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant (27) during the first half of their NFL game at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Left_Eye_Images


© L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal/TNS
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) gets off a pass over New England Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant (27) during the first half of their NFL game at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Left_Eye_Images

Here is a sampling of what arrived in this week’s mailbag:

Lightning McQueen (@TMCsean14): Any chance the Raiders trade up in the draft and get aggressive?

Vincent Bonsignore: All options are on the table, but the Raiders’ draft approach, especially in the first round, could be predicated on what happens one month before in free agency. By the time of the draft in late April, the Raiders will know whether they signed their preferred veteran quarterback. If so, the expectation is they will take the best player available early in the draft, with an eye toward improving the offensive line, then pour significant capital into the defense as the draft unfolds.



Raiders guard Dylan Parham (66) and Raiders guard John Simpson (76) get ready on the line of scrimmage during the first half of an NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Las Vegas. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @HeidiFang


© Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal/TNS
Raiders guard Dylan Parham (66) and Raiders guard John Simpson (76) get ready on the line of scrimmage during the first half of an NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Las Vegas. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @HeidiFang

On the other hand, if they can’t secure a veteran quarterback, they could focus on that position early in the draft, which could create a trade-up scenario.

Paul M (@Texasraider21): Thoughts on who you think will be the starting center next season? Does Andre James get released for cap space and Dylan Parham move to center?

Bonsignore: This is an excellent question for multiple reasons. The Raiders view center as Parham’s best long-range position. And James’ contract jumps from $1 million to $4.9 million in 2023. But there are mechanisms in which the Raiders could move on from him reasonably easily. So, as you can see, there could be practical and financial motivations to move Parham to center. Such a move would open a big hole at left guard, where James played most of last season, and right guard, where the Raiders hope to improve after using Alex Bars there last season. Given how they will explore adding a new right tackle, too, the concern is that might be too much upheaval. It’s something to consider, though.

Mike (Mars) Van Elgort (@MarsMVE): Even though I know you must keep your sources and positive relationships between reporters, the reporting regarding Derek Carr is all over the map. What’s the truth?

Bonsignore: The bottom line is, coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler were hired to build a championship team. Part of that objective meant using the first season to take a hard look at what they thought was working and what needed improvement. They came to the conclusion that they could do better at quarterback. Was part of that conclusion based on the $40.5 million Carr would be guaranteed next month? Finances always play a part in these decisions, but if they thought Carr was playing at an efficient level, they would have stayed with him. Obviously they didn’t.

Thomas Zimmerman (@Zim4halos): Is it possible the Raiders roll with Jarrett Stidham next season as the starter?

Possible? Yes. Probable? No.

RN4LVegasBorn (@sevenohtwodude): Why does the Las Vegas media think Tom Brady would do better on the Raiders? Brady went 8-9 on a team with the ninth-ranked defense in arguably the NFL’s worst division.

Bonsignore: McDaniels and Ziegler might decide that Tampa Bay’s record and Brady’s performance was the result of the injuries on the offensive line, a nonexistent run game and a head coaching change. They also might decide that Brady will benefit from playing behind an improved offensive line and with one of the NFL’s best wide receivers in Davante Adams, one of the best running backs in Josh Jacobs and one of the best tight ends in Darren Waller. And that the offense can become one of the league’s best and explosive enough to overcome a defense that needs to be rebuilt.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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