Who should the Raiders draft at No. 7 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft?
Seriously, I have no idea; it all depends on what they do this offseason in terms of pick-ups and who they re-sign. The Panthers locked up Jordan Gross, so he is out of the question.
We need to put more pressure on the opposing quarterback, protect our quarterback, and get some receivers on the field. Here are the best free-agent wideouts in their contract years:
- T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Bengals)
- Amani Toomer (NY Giants)
- Bobby Engram (Seattle)
I say leave the latter two alone, but I am fine with Al Davis signing T.J.
It looks like Anquan Boldin wants out of Arizona, Chad Johnson wants out of Cincinnati, and the Cowboys are pondering the idea of releasing Terrell Owens.
Leave these three alone; we've had enough "me-first" players in Oakland this past decade (Randy Moss, anyone?). The reason I am fine with T.J.? He knows how to be an All-Pro without talking like one.
We could pick up Crabtree (maybe) or Maclin (more likely) in the draft. Al likes the speedy players that can break games wide open, and Maclin has that in him. Recent ankle injuries have robbed Crabtree of that quality, so he's more of a receiver than all-purpose player.
Let's face it, our O-line needs to help out J-Roc and Fargas, McFadden, or Bush (or whoever ends up running the ball). Here are the best free-agent tackles in their contract years:
- Marvel Smith (Pittsburgh)
- Greg Tauschner (Green Bay)
- Jon Runyan (Philadelphia)
- Tra Thomas (Philadelphia)
- Willie Colon (Pittsburgh)
- Khalif Barnes (Jacksonville)
There are also big-name tackles in the draft. We could snag Eugene Monroe, Michael Oher, Andre' Smith, or Jason Smith if any one of them are available.
Jake Grove worked well at center with Robert Gallery and Cooper Carlisle as guards, so it is key we keep that trio. Mario Henderson worked well on the left side of the line, so we should target a tackle that can stop ends and linebackers on the right side.
Now to the defensive side of the ball. Every time I watched the Raiders play a team with a somewhat-decent line, they gave the quarterback eight seconds in the pocket every play. Derrick Burgess played hurt most of the season, and having him healthy and ready to play will be a big help.
On the inside, it was just a mess. Terdell Sands and Gerard Warren couldn't stuff a Build-a-Bear. They had one guard on each of them and Tommy Kelly had to deal with the double-team every play.
Kalimba Edwards and Mario Henderson played only average at best opposite Burgess, but that problem can wait.
Good thing that behind the line is a pretty good linebacker corps. Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard are beasts, though they had trouble shedding blocks and getting to the ball at times. Having a tough outside linebacker opposite Howard would help take some of that heat off them.
We could draft a serviceable linebacker in the third round or on the second day, or we could release Javon Walker and pick up a good free-agent linebacker. Here are the notable outside linebackers in their contract years:
- Bart Scott (Baltimore)
- Michael Boley (Atlanta)
- Leroy Hill (Seattle)
- Angelo Crowell (Buffalo)
Bart Scott is a beast; he can plug holes and put pressure on the quarterback if necessary. He is on a Baltimore team that has a lot of free agents this year, and they've already used their franchise tag on Terrell Suggs. They've also got to re-sign big-name players like Ray Lewis and C Jason Brown.
It is doubtful that they will re-sign all of those guys, but I feel they will re-sign Brown and will then have to choose between Scott and Lewis. Will they go for Scott, who is quite young for being such a stud, or Lewis, who every Baltimore fan loves and every other AFC North fan hates?
Anything would help the Raiders at this point. The only thing stopping us is the money. I say release Javon Walker, and get rid of one of the backs, as we don't need Fargas, McFadden, and Bush.
Thank goodness we've already re-signed Asomugha and Lechler. If Oakland can pick up a second-round pick for Fargas, we'll be in a good position to improve.