Slowly but surely, the Raiders 2009 draft is becoming more clear each passing day.
On offense, they filled the following positions. On the line, Barnes and Henderson will battle it out for the right and left side tackle spots. With Grove gone, Wade could do the job, but the bet here is before they pick a second time, they will have their center of the future.
The skill positions are almost set. By restructuring Javon, he will battle Schilens, Higgins, and Shields (last year’s untapped jewel) for the starting spots at receiver. At RB, we have our three headed monster returning with the full back still needing to be crystallized due to O’Neil’s health. Either way, do not expect Al to take a full back in the 2009 draft.
Before we leave the offense, know that Al will bring in some talent via the draft based on speed for the offense (he can never have enough speed), but only in the later rounds or free agents. Pat White could be a surprise pick if we trade down and acquire a couple of extra picks.
In the defensive backfield, the corners are set; the safeties are a mess so expect at least one draft pick and free agent to be added. I like the Chung kid from Oregon in the third round.
The linebackers are set unless we pick up a second rounder for losing restricted FA starter from last year, Ricky Brown. If they tendered him for a second rounder, they must feel pretty good about his being a starter. That is not to say that if Curry falls, Al would swipe him.
The defensive line is another mess. We need at least a tackle and an end. Scott may become all world pass rusher but we need a three down DE star. Now maybe we move Tommy to DE but then we need two defensive tackles.
So when our turn to pick at No. 7 comes along, unless a defensive lineman, who Al wants is on the board (or if Curry falls, which is highly unlikely), we will trade down.
So expect a center (Mack), defensive end (Ayers), defensive tackle (Gilbert) and safety (Chung) with our first four picks.
From here, the 2009 draft picture is becoming pretty clear and I like what I see.