Part I. Myth and Facts About Al Davis' Draft History: Wide Receivers
Al Davis rarely drafts skill positions in the first round of drafts. The exception to that rule have been defensive backs who Davis has always put premium value on.
Because of his history the many mocks with the Oakland Raiders taking Crabtree, Maclin or Darius Heyward-Bey show how little attention Al Davis' detractors have really paid to how he does things, and the "crazy" rules that he is accused of following in his draft room are based on their imagination.
Myth: All Al Davis cares about is 40 times.
Reality: Al Davis like a number of other "SUCCESSFUL" GMs and teams does follow certain speed, height and weight criteria for certain positions. Wide receiver has traditionally been one those positions, that Davis has placed a premium value on "explosive speed".... not just great top end speed but the ability to reach it in a blink of eye.
However, the reality is that Al Davis has traditionally shied away from high profile wide receiver in the draft. The last high profile wide receiver he drafted was Tim Brown.
Brown had everything Davis likes, he was a 6 foot-plus 200 pound speedster who ran the 40 in the mid 4.3s. He had added value as a great kick returner.
In fact, I would argue he was a better kick returner then wide receiver at Notre Dame because of the rather pass deficient offense he played in for four years. Al Davis also liked his pedigree as a Heisman winner on a National Championship team. In big moments, Tim Brown made big plays.
Crabtree and Maclin are nice college wide receivers but neither has anything that Davis doesn't think he cannot find in a wide receiver in later rounds. Davis prefers to go off the grid for wide receivers.
My hunch is that he believes high profile wide receivers are often high profile for all the wrong reasons. For example, big stats in a pin ball machine offense that has no relationship to what the prospect will be expected to adapt to as a professional.
In the first two rounds of the draft (unless Darius Heyward-Bey drops to them at #40) the Raiders will draft linemen and defensive backs. A wide receiver will likely not be a concern until the third or fourth round of the draft.
It should also be noted that the Raiders are already flush with Davis' type of wide receiving prospects; Johnny Lee Higgens (Round 3 in 07), Jonathan Holland (Round 7 in 07), Chaz Schilens (Round 7 in 08), and Arman Shields (Round 4 in 08). If the Raiders draft a wide receiver, or two, look for names like Johnny Knox and Dudley Guice to be called in rounds 4 and 7.
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