While much of the attention surrounding the Oakland Raiders first-round pick has been focused on offensive tackle Kolton Miller and whether or not he can succeed, there is another discussion to be had about the first round as well. It would seem that there is a very strong sentiment among Raiders fans and those who cover the team that Oakland got ripped off when they traded back with the Arizona Cardinals.
For those who may not remember, the Cardinals traded their first round pick (number 15 overall) along with their third and fifth round picks in order to move up to number ten.
Now, before we get into the details of the circumstances surrounding the trade, let’s take a look at how the trade value chart says the Raiders did in this trade. The Raiders first round pick was worth 1300 while the Arizona first-round pick was worth 1050 for a difference in value of 250 points. The third round pick of Arizona was worth 195 points and their fifth rounder was worth 39 points for a total of 234 points.
That means, according to the trade value chart, the Raiders lost 16 points of value in the trade back. Not good, but also not terrible. Had the Raiders gotten a second-round pick as many fans wanted, the Cardinals would have lost 180 points of value on the deal.
Of course, the trade value chart is not the bible and teams do not strictly adhere to it, but it gives us a starting point for valuing the picks.
When the trade occurred, many fans were disappointed in the value the Raiders received for moving back. That disappointment turned to outright anger for many once they saw what the New Orleans Saints gave in order to trade up and take pass rusher Marcus Davenport.
The common sentiment among many is that since the Cardinals were trading up for a quarterback, they should have been willing to give up a treasure chest of picks to move up and into the Raiders draft spot. The thing is, while it’s true many teams will give up a lot in order to get a quarterback, the Raiders were at a disadvantage with regards to negotiating standpoint.
Many seem to think that the Raiders had all of the leverage when it seems much more likely that they had little to no leverage.
When the Cardinals moved up, there were two quarterbacks still on the board, Josh Rosen, and Lamar Jackson. In the lead up to the draft, most of the rumors surrounding the Cardinals and a quarterback were about Lamar Jackson. Mock draft after mock draft had the Cards trading up to take Jackson or waiting and selecting him when he fell to them at 15.
Meanwhile, all of the rumors about the Raiders heading into day one were that they were looking offensive tackle. When Mike McGlinchey was taken at number nine, it was no secret that Kolton Miller would be the target for the Raiders. And it was no secret that taking Miller at 10 would have been a huge reach and it’s exactly what Oakland would have done if they hadn’t found a trade back partner.
The Cards, on the other hand, could risk losing Josh Rosen if they didn’t trade up, but worst case scenario, they likely still end up with the quarterback most thought they’d be taking anyway. It was a no lose situation for the Cardinals. Sure, they clearly wanted Rosen over Jackson, but it was also clear that they could have stood pat and gotten a very good quarterback prospect.
Finally, it was also apparent in the lead up to the draft that the Cardinals were really the only potential trade partner for the Raiders. Most other teams rumored to be interested in a quarterback, like the Patriots, were too far back in the first round and couldn’t/wouldn’t pay what it would’ve taken to move up. Because of that, there was no bidding war. The Cardinals didn’t have to compete with other teams.
So while we are used to seeing the team who needs a quarterback being in the weak negotiating standpoint, in this case, thanks to all of the leaked information prior to the draft that was spot on accurate about the Raiders, the leverage just wasn’t there. The Raiders were the ones desperate for a trade back. The Cards could have stayed at 15 and been ok, but if the Raiders had drafted Miller at 10, even they knew it would’ve been a complete waste of value in the number 10 pick.
Was the value of the trade back very good for Oakland? No. Were they ripped off in a situation where they should’ve and could’ve gotten a lot more? Not really.