Every year, the so called "experts" jump down the throats of the Raiders for players signed and the money spent to sign them.
Now, when you have been as bad as the Raiders have been over the past five years, you become an easy target.
But anytime a team brings in new players it is a crap shoot.
As you will read below, the Raiders have found a few jewels that others have laughed at the Raiders for signing.
How many remember when the Raiders brought in Lincoln Kennedy from the Atlanta Falcons?
Kennedy was a first-round pick of the Falcons in the draft and Atlanta had him figured for a bust. When the Raiders signed Kennedy, out came all the so called experts.
The Raiders are nuts. The Raiders paid too much money. Kennedy is a bust!
These are just a few of the views of these experts. The end result is that Kennedy turned into a dominate Pro-Bowl guard for the Raiders for many years.
I always had a good laugh at how these same so called experts raved about Kennedy once he was playing at Pro Bowl levels with the Raiders.
How many remember the Derrick Burgess sining?
Here came many of these same so called experts to beat the drums. Who would pay that kind of money to an often hurt unproven young player?
With their smirks on TV, they would laugh and say only the Raiders.
Well after Burgess has played in the Pro Bowl two out of the three years he has been on the team, the laughing has stopped.
The Raiders ended up with one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and the money the Raiders ended up paying looks like a bargain today.
And who remembers when the Raiders drafted in the first round Nnamdi Asomugha?
Again, came the so called experts. The Raiders are nuts! Who would move up to take a player that would have been around in later rounds?
As the Raiders were figuring out how best to use Asoumgha, here came more.
He is a bust! The Raiders wasted a first-round pick on him!
Well, a few years down the road the Raiders have one of the best corner backs in the entire NFL in Asoumga.
I could go on for days. Rod Coleman DT, Grady Jackson DT, and La'Roi Glover DT are all Pro Bowl players the Raiders drafted that many of these experts questioned.
If I went back through time to list all the instances these experts were made to look like fools by the Raiders, I would be here for days.
The funny thing is what a short memory all these bright experts have on their past evaluations of many of the players that they have knocked in regards to the Raiders.
Now here we are in 2008 and they have all come out to beat the drums.
The Raiders have been big players in the free agent market this year and have been spending some money. I had to laugh when I read an article by a Bay Area Sports writer that I will not name.
A broken watch has been more on point than this guy has been over the years in regards to the Raiders.
He wrote that he had spoken with a team's GM that had played the Raiders in 2007. The writer goes on to say that the GM told him that Al Davis has sold part of the team and is flush with new money.
Then he goes on to say that the Raiders' free agent signings are a joke this year and that Al Davis is just spending someone else's money.
Where do they find these people?
I believe that if you own something and sell it that the money then becomes yours. Mr. Davis sold the minority interest in the Raiders that he acquired after buying out one of his old partners family members after his death.
My point is, most of these people are so biased against the Raiders that they do not even want to give Mr. Davis credit for spending his own money and through some twisted form of logic, Davis is "only spending other people's money".
Mr. Davis has spent what he felt he had to this year to get, and or keep, the players he needed. You would think that would be a good thing after watching the owners of the Bears and Arizona operate over the years.
On to some of the signings of 2008.
Bringing back Tommy Kelly was huge for the Raiders. Sapp, a future HOF DT, played along side of Kelly and stated the kid is a monster.
Sapp also said that this kid can be unblock-able and can become as good as he wants to be. Sapp even stated that it would not surprise him that if at the end of Kelly's career Kelly would have become a better DT than himself.
Sapp also decided that he helped teach the kid and it was time for him to get out of the way and let the kid play.
Did the Raiders overpay to keep Kelly? We will not know that for sometime.
Javon Walker was a huge signing for the Raiders. No team is better at signing bad free agents than Denver, but Walker was not one of them.
I know Denver traded for Walker, but I could not help myself with regards to my Denver statement.
Walker, when healthy, is one of the top WR's in the NFL. The kid is in his prime, and has the size and the speed to go deep. He is a Pro Bowler who is great over the middle and on third downs.
In his first year in Denver he had a great year, and last year, in only his first two games, caught 17 passes for over 200 yards.
If healthy, and they say he is, Walker is a true number one WR and makes the Raiders better.
Is he a gamble?
They are all gambles, just ask Shanahan. Point is, it was a gamble worth taking and a heads-up improvement over Jerry "The Ghost" Porter.
As to strong safety, Wilson, he was the best safety available in free agency. He was listed near the top of most of these experts' lists of best available free agents until the Raiders signed him.
The Raiders have been playing with two FS and needed a SS. Wilson can play both positions, but is a true strong safety.
The kid is young and has a high upside to only get better. In my opinion this has been one of the Raiders greatest needs over the last few years and was a another huge signing by the Raiders.
My guess is that Rob Ryan will interchange both Huff and Wilson and play them at both the FS and SS positions.
Did the Raiders overpay? Again, only time will tell. The Raiders are clearly improved at the position.
The Drew Carter WR signing was huge as well. The kid is huge and has the size and speed to not only get off the line, but to stretch the field in the slot position.
As for Harris, the OL signed from the Niners, I will just say remember Kennedy and only time will tell if this was a good move.
Myself, I will rest on what the Raiders O-Line Coach thinks of the kid. After all, he is one of the best in the NFL.
The Raiders also still have the draft and the rest of the offseason to improve, and I for one cannot wait to see it unfold.
Yes, it is easy to stomp on the mighty when they have fallen.
It is what our society has become. The TV is full of shows that are on the air for no other purpose.
But the Raiders are on their way back and Mr. Davis will bring them back, doing it his way.
He has gotten the Raiders into five Super Bowls and they were a play away from playing in another five Super Bowls.
That is 10 Super Bowls of the forty-two played that the Raiders have been to or were a hair away from getting to.
Not bad for a crazy old man wouldn't you say.
The HOF is also loaded with players that Al Davis has brought into the Raiders. Everyone has a bad stretch in life at one time or another and the last five years has been the Raiders'.
Point is, when compared with many of the other NFL teams that have had a great run over a few year stretch only to be crap for most of their existence, the Raiders have been much more consistent through their history.
Not to mention all the teams in the NFL that have never done anything.
The Raiders do not listen to what these so called experts have to say with regards to bringing in new players or on the amount of money they spend on them.
And to me it is a good thing they do not because if they had, we would never had all the Pro Bowl players I listed above.
Oh and one last thing, they laughed when Mr. Davis signed Howie Long as well.
Boy, if I had a team these are the type of experts I would want advising me on my player acquisitions.