Jon Gruden sees 'a lot of potential' in trading picks

Upon his return to the Raider Nation, coach Jon Gruden's first season back with the Raiders -- in his hopes of rebuilding the once storied franchise -- became more noted for the two trades and three first-round draft picks than the meager four victories.

As the offseason has proved to be much the same in its chaotic ways with the Raiders still searching for a 2019 home before moving to Las Vegas in 2020, Gruden contends the wheeling and dealing might not yet be done.

The Raiders own the fourth, 24th and 27th picks in the first round of the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft with the latter two selections coming via trades with the Bears and Cowboys, respectively.

When asked if the late-round picks could be in play for a trade, Gruden said they could. And so could No. 4.

"I think there's a lot of potential for trades," Gruden told J.T. the Brick on "The Game Plan" podcast. "I think that's one of the things I'm really excited about. [New Raiders general manager] Mike Mayock what he brings to the table, he's got great resources around the NFL. He's been in every building, he's on a first-name basis; everybody knows Mike. And I think he's gonna be on the phones quite a bit, not only with those two picks you talked about, who knows, we may move up with the No. 4 pick, we may move back with that pick. We'll see how it all unfolds."

While the Raiders struggled to a 4-12 season that planted them firmly in last place in the AFC West, the Bears won the NFC North crown after trading for pass rusher Khalil Mack and the Cowboys claimed the NFC East title after obtaining receiver Amari Cooper. Most notably, the Raiders' trades of Mack and Cooper garnered them a pair of first-round picks, but those two might be traded off, apparently.

Currently, studying up on free agents is the priority, but the draft looms larger ever now it would seem.

"That's what we've been doing the last 10 days. We have been doing nothing but studying free agents, guys that's contracts are up," Gruden said. "Obviously we're not looking to add players that are at the end of their career, we're looking for blossoming young players. Those guys usually don't get to free agency. So the pickings are slim, for everybody, but there are a couple diamonds in the rough. We'll see where the market goes. But you don't want to spend all your money that you have on a few free agents, you want to try to keep some of that money available in case a trade might develop during the draft."

Plenty of needs exist for Gruden's squad, though defensive line and secondary appear to be the most glaring. No matter who's prognosticated what, though, Gruden contends there's no sense in it all because it's still very much up in the air.

"No one can lock anybody in to who we're picking yet, because we don't even know -- trust me," he said.

Trades very much told the 2018 tale of the Raiders and seem to still be at the forefront for Gruden, so the only surefire prediction for Oakland is the roller-coaster ride that awaits. A final decision is yet to be made on where the Raiders will call home in 2019 and apparently there's plenty of decisions to be made when it comes to the first round, whether it be who to draft or what picks to trade.

For Gruden, it's just another step in rebuilding the Raiders. And even he knows, it's a long -- and winding -- road ahead.

"We're really proud of obviously the tradition of the Raiders, but we're very well aware we've got to fix the recent tradition," Gruden said. "We've had one winning season in the last 16 seasons and it's repulsive and we've got a long way to go, but we're going to get there."

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