If Al Davis was smart, this headline is exactly what we would be reading on draft day.
Let's take a small peek into recent history, shall we? Since the return to Oakland, the Raiders have compiled a 92-139 record. Take out the four years Jon Gruden was leading the way, and they are a dismal 54-113 since returning to their roots, not to mention being 24-72 over the last six seasons.
Plainly put, Raiders fans deserve a better product, especially when you consider the fact that, in the 13 years spent in Los Angeles, they had 10 winning seasons and went to the playoffs seven of those seasons. They have put together six straight seasons of double-digit losses after having just four such seasons in their 43-year existence prior to 2003.
What happened? I think the list would be considerably shorter if we listed what has gone right. Bad coaching? Check. Bad drafts? Check. Bad handling of all personnel (coaches/players/front office)? Check.
Unfortunately, I'm not saying anything that Raider fans are not already aware of. So, let's get to step two. How do they go about fixing it? After all, there has to be a way.
Here's my take. First off, you have to build through the draft. Without drafting well, no team will ever succeed. Last season, the Raiders had just five selections in the draft, and this upcoming draft they have only six. When you've had six straight double-digit-loss seasons, that's not gonna cut it.
It's not like they can just plug a couple holes to make up for one bad season. This team needs to be infused with young talent. In 2007, the Raiders had 11 draft picks and took players like JaMarcus Russell, Zach Miller, Mario Henderson, Johnnie Lee Higgins, and Michael Bush. All are integral parts of any hope this team has of moving forward.
They could use another draft like that.
It seems that they've possibly learned at least one part this offseason, as the Raiders have not been big players on the free agent market. I'm not saying they shouldn't bring anyone in; however, free agency is not the way to fix these problems, as we have seen. In case you haven't noticed, most of the good players have come from the draft in Oakland.
There's the five players previously mentioned from 2007, and there are also players such as Shane Lechler, Nnamdi Asomugha, Kirk Morrison, Thomas Howard, Justin Fargas, Robert Gallery, and Darren McFadden. All draft picks.
There is not one superstar coming out in this draft that can fix this team. And, let's face it, the roster needs some fresh blood running through its veins. The only way to do that is to have as many picks as possible.
The Philadelphia Eagles have 11 picks and there are six other teams holding nine picks each. Four of those seven teams were playoff teams last year, and the other three were all close. Generally speaking, the teams that are already playoff contenders or at least close may only feel like they are a player or two away, and would be willing to trade up to get a higher-quality player.
If the Raiders can find any takers, they need to jump on it. Whether it be trading a player or two for picks, or flat-out trading down to add more picks, it needs to be done. At this point, it's really the only way to go.
And Raider fans, be real about this. I know everyone has their opinion on drafting Crabtree, Raji, Maualuga, or one of many offensive linemen coming out. But, I also see you saying who would be great steals in later rounds. So, if they trade down from the seventh pick, that would just add to the possibilities. Right?
And there's plenty of good talent who's stock is dropping. Aaron Maybin (pictured above), Andre Smith, and Peria Jerry, to name a few.
Can Crabtree fix this team? Can Raji? Monroe? All great players, no doubt. But, the Raiders need more help than that, and there's only one way to do that.
Hopefully, when we wake up on draft day, this is the headline we see.