I received an email the other day with an interesting question: What should the Raiders do on Draft Day 2009? Well, I have pondered this question over the last few days and then started doing what any good writer should do—research.
The first thing that I looked at was multiple mock drafts from the "experts" and most of them have the biggest need listed as a new left tackle. I am not completely sold on this particular need. I will agree that there are some huge, and I mean huge holes in our O-line but I am not convinced that we should look to the draft to secure a new lineman with this pick.
There are many good free agents available this year with Jordan Gross being my personal favorite (would love to see him in the Silver and Black as I do on my team in Madden 2009).
Another need that I agree with is at the receiver position. Now, everyone who has seen any collegiate games this year or has listened to the multitude of analysts out there have heard the name of Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech.
I personally had not heard of him until I watched the Tech vs. Texas game and I have to admit he is a very special player. However, I suspect that he will be off the board when the Raiders pick. Some of the analysts out there agree with me on this one, so I don't see that being a reality. I also don't feel that there is any other wide receiver worth this pick. There are many other great receivers available in this draft and I have a lot of faith in Higgins to have a great year.
Another glaring need is at linebacker and there are really no good free agents available next year as I believe Ray Lewis will re-sign with the Ravens and finish his career there. An interesting option is Mike Peterson from Jacksonville, who recently fell out of favor with Jack Del Rio. He is a solid LB and would fit in nicely in Oakland.
There are some good linebackers available in this draft, I just don't think that any of them deserve a top 10 pick. I know that last comment is going to cause a load of responses because of USC linebacker Rey Maualuga and don't get me wrong, he is an amazing player, I just don't think he deserves to go that high.
My firm belief is that we need to draft a defensive end with our first pick, and that should be Brian Orakpo from the Texas Longhorns. He is big, fast, and kind of reminds me of Julius Peppers (who is a free agent this year, I just don't see him leaving Carolina).
Derrick Burgess is one of the elite ends in the league and I believe that he needs a complimenting partner on the other side of the line. Do we need another defensive tackle? Absolutely, but once again what is out there in this draft class just doesn't rank high enough to be taking at this point.
So, in conclusion, this is what I think the Raiders should do in the first round. I know there are a ton of people out there who are going to have their own opinions and I am more than willing to hear what everyone has to say, after all, isn't that why most of us read these articles?
Until next time, "Just Win Baby!!!" Raider Faithful from Winnipeg, MB, CA.