When you hear draft speculation this far ahead of the NFL draft, it is usually just posturing.
The latest hot rumor concerning the NFL draft is that the Oakland Raiders are interested in drafting West Virginia alumnus Geno Smith with the third pick overall.
If the late Al Davis (RIP) been in charge of the Raiders, I’m sure that he would be overly interested in Smith. Davis, especially in his twilight, had a propensity to taking huge draft gambles on prospects that run freakishly fast 40 yard dashes. Geno Smith’s 4.59 seconds 40 yard dash time would certainly have got the old man salivating.
But the Raiders are under new management, a group that brought in Carson Palmer and Terrelle Pryor in recent seasons at the quarterback position. Palmer played fairly well last season for the Raiders, throwing for 4,018 yards and 22 touchdowns while the Raiders seem fixated on getting Pryor more playing time this season in read-option packages.
So why then would the Raiders have a need for Geno Smith? The only rationale reason for drafting Smith is if the Raiders decide to part ways with Palmer. That could be a possibility should Palmer not agree to restructure his contract, due to pay him $13 million this season. Given the way team typically front load deals with guaranteed money to alleviate salary cap concerns, it seems highly likely that Palmer would agree to restructure his deal.
With all that said, it seems as though the Raiders real motivation is to drum up trade partners to move back in the first round of the draft. By making the rest of the league think they really want Geno Smith, they might be able to entice the Bills or Cardinals into dumping a second or third round pick to move up a couple spots to nab the former Mountaineers signal caller.
Until the Raiders move Palmer or Pryor, there is no need to purchase a black and silver Smith jersey from your favorite “legally frowned upon” site.