Forget Receiving, the Raiders Need To Build Through the Trenches

Marcel stickum37Contributor IFebruary 23, 2009

I have read others opinions that the Raiders should go Wide Receiver in Round 1, and I could not disagree more.

This Raider team has two major holes; Pass Protection and The Ability to Stop the Run.

Now for this team to win football games on a consistent basis these two specific needs must be addressed with youth and not stop gap veterans through free agency. The Raiders made a luxury pick last season with D-Mac, at the same time bypassing a talented LT versed in the zone blocking scheme in Ryan Clady as well as DT's Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis.

Now I am not here to bad mouth D-Mac as I feel he is a special talent, but I do criticize a franchise which makes a pick more as a generator of ticket sales, over improving a team through its holes.

Now the Raiders have the opportunity to re-establish their once proud commitment to winning by giving No. 1 pick JaMarcus Russel who has the ability to make the big throw, the actual opportunity to have TIME to make such a throw.

Now while Mario Henderson played well in his late season tryout at LT, the right-side and Cornell Green was horrible. As was the left side while Kwame Harris occupied the space in-between the opposing teams best pass rusher and JaMarcus's blind side, before Mario came in to clear out the garbage.

It is often speculated in the zone blocking scheme you can interchange bodies. I do not agree as the Bronco's with their zone blocking scheme selected LT Ryan Clady with pick No. 12 in the 1st round last season.

The Bronco coach's as well as other NFL coach's praised Clady's performance throughout the season. Now while No. 1 pick overall Jake Long looked good at LT in Miami, Clady was equally if not more so impressive in Denver.

This is where the Raiders take the lead and draft either Eugene Monroe, Jason Smith or Michael Oher with the No. 7 pick. They go into camp with a position battle for the LT spot between Mario and the newly selected draftee.

The winner takes the Left Side and the other the Right Side. I do not use the word loser as this makes both the Left and Right side of the line much stronger. A good healthy battle is good for both young players, .

With the improvement of the tackle position this gives J-Rus more time to make a proper throwing decision as well as take the Strong Safety out of the box to open up the Raider offense.

Now you go into the season with the tackles working themselves out and the perceived thought your interior O-Line will be Robert Gallery at LG, Paul McQuistan at RG, and open at center where if Alex Mack drops I would go with him in the second round (though I doubt this).

Alex Mack would make an immediate impact as a starter now that his college coach Jim Michalczik is now the Raiders O-Line coach.

The second round is now where you go to Defense, specifically the DT position (Minus if Mack falls in the draft). I have seen others opinion's on a MLB such as Rey Maualuga. I do not agree with this as I do not believe any MLB can play well while shedding Offensive Linemen, due to the inability of the DT's to occupy space and allow them to roam.

I am of the belief Kirk Morrison is much better then given credit by his performance last season, as well as Thomas Howard. This is not to say Kirk could not be moved to the opposite OLB position, but a MLB in round 1 or 2 is to early and does not truly address the run support need. To first stop the run you must beef up the DT position.

The DT position in the Draft is below average this season and outside of B.J. Raji (a possible top 10 pick), and Peria Jerry (a top 25 pick) there are no other true 1st round picks. The Raiders could look at Sen' Derrick Marks, or Evandor Hood in the second or wait until the third for the big bodied run stoppers such as Ron Brace and Terrance Taylor.

The Raiders are in dire need of a transition of talent at both Offensive and Defensive tackle. This is the only way for the Raiders to get their once proud winning ways back.

Another luxury first round or second round selection such as a WR just digs their hole deeper into the depression which is Raider Football today. To win in the NFL you must control the trenches, and to do this you need young talent, not veterans looking for their last pay day.