The Oakland Raiders: Bringing Fans Together Through the Draft
Having spent many hours this year cruising the tubes of the Internet for facts and opinions about the Raiders' offseason, I have noticed that there is, among the fans, two very black-and-white schools of thought regarding what the Raiders should try to accomplish in the 2009 NFL draft. Alright, there's a little grey in there, but for the most part, Raider fans fit so cleanly into two groups that the argument could almost be had between just two people.
The first person, let's call him Offense Guy, says that the Raiders' biggest need is wide receiver, followed by offensive line, or the other way around. Offense Guy typically suggests that the Raiders draft Michael Crabtree in the first round and a center like Max Unger in the second. He might also suggest an offensive tackle in the first, a wide receiver in the second, and a center in the third round. Regardless, Offense Guy rarely is seen to suggest taking a defensive player before the fourth round of the draft.
On the other side of the fence is Defense Guy, and he is certain that the Raiders' biggest need is defensive tackle. Linebacker, safety, and defensive end are also near the top of his list of needs. Defense Guy hopes the Raiders take B.J. Raji with the No. 7 overall pick, or address another defensive need in the first round and take Ron Brace in the second.
A bit of the aforementioned grey area comes in when Defense Guy argues his case but is then seen plugging a wide receiver in the second or third round. Aside from that, Defense Guy frequently doesn't have an offensive player taken in ANY round of the draft.
I can hear the complaints already. No one likes to be put into a box, categorized, or pigeon-holed. Some readers will be quick to point out that they don't fit into either group, and then list their mock Raider-draft which, to an unbiased eye, will be remarkably similar to that of Offense Guy or Defense Guy.
But let's not argue. There are already thousands of places on-line where Raider fans can debate in an I'm-right-you're-wrong fashion. Let's not pit the greatest fans in the world against each other in just another all-out qwerty battle.
A new debate needs to begin: How can the Raiders, in the upcoming draft, make EVERYONE happy? Wouldn't that be nice? A warm, fuzzy draft after which all of Raider Nation can feel optimistic about next season? Is that even possible?
Here are a few scenarios in which black and white, Defense Guy and Offense Guy, and everyone in between can come together in draft nirvana. Let the debate, and the hand-holding, begin.
Scenario No. 1
Round 1. Michael Crabtree, WR
Round 2. Ron Brace, DT
Round 3. Fenuki Tupou, OT
Round 4. Zach Follett, OLB
Round 7. Curtis Taylor, S
Scenario No. 2
Round 1. B.J. Raji, DT
Round 2. Max Unger, C
Round 3. Chip Vaughn, S
Round 4. Brandon Tate, WR
Round 7. Ramon Foster, G/T
Scenario No. 3
Round 1. Andre Smith, OT
Round 2. James Laurinaitis, ILB
Round 3. Chris Clemons, S
Round 4. Kevin Ogletree, WR
Round 7. Clinton McDonald, DE/DT
Now it's your turn, but don't forget to keep the needs of your fellow Raider fan in mind.
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