Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie would rather grab greatness at wide receiver early in the NFL draft than wait and land a lesser pass-catcher later. At least, that's what he's saying, raidersbeat.com reported via Twitter.
As with anything an NFL general manager says these days, particularly when they're speaking into a microphone, grains of salt should be handy. But in this case, parsing McKenzie's meaning might not be so difficult. If he's to be taken at his word, the Raiders would be thrilled to land Clemson's Sammy Watkins, or perhaps Texas A&M's Mike Evans, with the No. 5 overall pick in the draft.
It would certainly fill a need for the club, and both figure to be gone early.
But what message might McKenzie be sending to his GM peers from a posturing standpoint? It probably sounds something like this: Watkins and/or Evans won't fall past us, so you'd better be ready to pick up the phone if one or both fall to No. 5.
Watkins figures to be a significant threat to be chosen at No. 2 (Rams), No. 3 (Jaguars) or No. 4 (Browns). Yet, his availability to Oakland isn't necessarily far-fetched. After all, who would be surprised, for instance, if that gap was bridged by Greg Robinson, Khalil Mack and a quarterback? That would be an ideal scenario if McKenzie were either hoping to acquire Watkins himself, or be in a great position to trade down in a deal with a team willing to pay to be in position to land Watkins.
Absent Watkins, the Raiders could see Evans as a viable option that early in the draft, but the trade market to move up for him might not be quite as strong.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.