There have been some great drafts in Raiders history, for example 1968 with Kenny Stabler, Art Shell, George Atkinson, and Marv Hubbard, and some very forgettable ones, like in 2001.
We all have our theories as to how it will pan out for us this year.
Some are dreaming big, some have nightmares, and some are in the middle hoping for a good draft. Personally, I think the Raiders will be lucky this year, in as much as there are many good players in the draft in the positions they need to fill.
Although the offensive line isn’t fully fixed yet (and no, I don’t see Samson Satele as the answer at center, just depth), I don’t see us taking a tackle, certainly not in the first three rounds. Guard and center are a different matter, though, and we could use an upgrade there.
Although Alex Mack is widely touted as the top interior lineman available, Eric Wood from Louisville is high on my board, and should be available in the second round. A four-year starter, he played extremely well in the senior bowl against B.J. Raji and also showed he could be effective at the second level sealing off linebackers. He could be a good fit for Coach Tom Cable's zone-blocking system.
Defensive line is also a huge issue, and although I think Raji will be overdrafted if he goes at seventh, there is strength in depth lower down.
Evander Hood and Robert Ayers may be there in the second round, and would both be a valuable addition to a front four that struggled badly last year.
Now to that all-important first round pick.
In my dreams; Michael Crabtree.
Arguably the best player on the board, and a wide receiver that is ready to contribute right now. We can’t wait two years for a guy to develop. Russell needs a go-to receiver this year, and I really think Crabtree could be that guy. He is a special talent.
Of course, a real dream would be to trade down for more picks and take advantage of the depth in this draft, but Al Davis isn’t big on trading, unless it's up.
In my nightmares; Jeremy Maclin.
Not that Maclin is a bad player, but he brings a very similar skill set to Johnnie Lee Higgins, and will take some time to develop. That's not what we need; we need someone to contribute this year.
Also, keep your eye on Darius Heyward-Bey. Al loves his speed, and where you find the fastest guy in the draft, you usually find Al Davis drafting them.
In reality; I really do think the pick is Crabtree, unless Detroit doesn’t take Matt Stafford with the overall top pick, which would shake things up a bit.
If it falls out this way, I think Raiders fans across the globe can be happy and look forward to a bright 2009 season.
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