A couple of years ago, while berating Adam Schefter for being a former Broncos beat writer, Al Davis mentioned that Jerry Jones should be in the Hall of Fame...as a Raider. What?!? The owner of the Cowboys (America's Team folks) is being pimped for hall inclusion by the owner of the Raiders (America's favorite team to hate...well maybe second behind the Yanks) as a RAIDER?!?!
How novel is that? Instead of signing sure fire Hall of Famers late in their careers to add to the legacy, why not just give them the honor of being a Raider when they get elected to the hall, without them ever having been a Raider? Of course, I'm playing with all of you in order to get the 'haters' to chuckle a little.
I've always looked at players and thought, "That guy would be a great Raider." C'Mon!! Don't tell me that you didn't envision Jerry Rice or Ronnie Lott as Raiders prior to those wishes coming true! So the other day, after the DeAngelo Hall signing, I started wondering who'd be great Raiders. So here it goes, part one and I'm starting in the NFC West.
I'll be listing my guys by division in the following order:
- Mar. 29 - NFC West
- Mar. 31 - NFC South
- Apr. 1 - NFC North
- Apr. 2 - NFC East
- Apr. 3 - AFC East
- Apr. 4 - AFC North
- Apr. 5 - AFC South
- Apr. 7 - AFC West
I'm going to try and not make big reaches, so I'll try and find at least one player per team, but no promises past that. If you have any suggestions, post them. Ok, so here it goes:
Let's see, hmmm...well it's definitely not Shawn Alexander.
QB - Matt Hasselbeck : Ok, so he's not exactly a bad boy. He is a character though. With his thinning hair, he has that Stabler-esque aura. One of my favorite playoff moments is the coin toss the first time he took the 'hawks to the playoffs in Green Bay. They won the toss and the official looks over at Hasselbeck and he says something like, "We're gonna' receive and we're going to score." You gotta' love that. It's irrelevant that he ended up throwing a pick on that possession and the Packers scored soon after. Another item I like about him, his Super Ad commercial. You might have seen it, but I like it.
MLB - Lofa Tatupu : What's not to like about a bad-ass linebacker that is a monster on the field? Three years and never missed a game! He's averaging over 100 tackles a year with about 85 of those solo. He makes the defense better, so I wouldn't complain if he was a Raider.
DE - Patrick Kearney : After being injured his last season with Atlanta, I questioned whether or not the move to Seattle would make a difference. I was wrong. This guy is one of my favorite defenders and not just because he reminds me of Howie Long. He's got a huge motor, and great technique around the corner, but what I love about him is that he's so smart. He always seems to anticipate where the QB will be. He's in.
Some might say the Edge and Boldin should be on here, but I left them off. They're borderline, but I don't see them as Raiders...not that I'd complain. I also like Dansby, but he doesn't have enough production and I can't make a case for him as a character.
QB - Matt Leinart : What is it about Matt's? From Stabler-esque to second coming of the man himself, Matt Leinart has proven he likes to party like the Snake and everyone thinks that he does a pretty good impression when he's playing too. He's got the looks, notoriety, the tabloid coverage and none of it bothers him. We all know that Al agrees with this one.
WR - Larry Fitzgerald : Four years, 330 catches, and 34 TD's. One of the top five receivers in the game, yet you never hear anything from him. Catches everything thrown to him and runs very precise routes. Yes, he sounds and looks a lot like Freddy B., except faster. I'm sold!
St. Louis Rams
Before Marshall Faulk retired, he would've definitely made this list. I like Steven Jackson too, but he doesn't give me the Raider vibe. I'm not even going to mention La'Roi Glover either because I'm still angry that he became a star AFTER the Raiders let him go. I like Drew Bennet too, but I think he might be a little too fragile. I like Will Witherspoon also, but as many players he doesn't quite make it.
WR - Tory Holt : He's fast, he runs great routes, he's not mouthy and he's not afraid to go over the middle and get hit. At his size, he's reminiscent of a Cliff Branch.
FB - Brian Leonard : I'm still disappointed that this guy didn't become a Raider. Remember that preseason run he made where he jumped over Washington for a first down? This guy can run the ball, catch it, and he's not afraid to punch you in the face or jump over you to get the first down.
DT - Adam Carriker : This guy is a beast and he's going to continue to get better. Another high motor guy, he also has the ability to get to the QB, or chase a play down if he needs to.
Yes, there are a few 49ers that I think would make good Raiders. I didn't say this would be easy, but here it goes...oh...here's a hint, Alex Smith isn't one of them.
LG - Larry Allen : Sure, he's probably retired now, but he SHOULD'VE been a Raider. I don't think I have to spell it out, but let's just put it this way: He's the best lineman of his era.
WR - Isaac Bruce : One of the best receivers of all time. Nicknamed the Preacher, he might also make the list as one of the nicest players too. Not all great Raiders were bad boys though, they just had to strive to be the best. Bruce is all about that.
RB - Frank Gore : Yeah, he's injury prone but I like him. He's mean, nasty, and he's got a Garner-esque look to him. He should be a Raider and if he was, he'd be a good one.
ILB - Patrick Willis : 174 tackles, 4 sacks, and 5 passes defensed in his rookie season. What's not to like?
DT - Bryant Young : He's retired now, but just a shout out to arguably San Fran's greatest defensive tackle of all time. He could've been a great Raider too.
There you have it. None of this is scientific and is based on nothing, but my eyes alone. What do you think? Did I miss anyone? Post it! I can take it. Remember the only criteria to make my list, is that the player has had to have made an impression on me so significant that I would say to myself, "He'd be a good Raider," or "I wish he was a Raider." Who's done that for you?