NFL Draft could see Oakland Raiders make 'surprise pick' at No. 4: report

The Oakland Raiders are reportedly planning a “surprise pick” with the No. 4 selection in the upcoming NFL Draft — which may be the reason for Oakland's head-scratching move to send its scouts home last week.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock dismissed the team's scouts Friday, NFL Network reported, and, on Monday, NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport explained what the Oakland brain trust was thinking.

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“Raiders are looking at some sort of surprise pick at No. 4 that would necessitate absolute secrecy,” Rapoport said, according to NFL.com.

He added: “It’s a pick that should surprise us at four.”

Teams go to great lengths to avoid tipping their hands to competitors before the draft. Reports of whether a coach or executive likes a certain draft prospect are sometimes seen as misdirection or smokescreens to keep other franchises from knowing who a team covets. Former Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt tweeted how his front office once smoked out a suspected leaker.

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The Raiders could choose Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen or Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, according to the draft expert site Walter Football.