Have you ever been sitting around your house on Sunday watching the weekly games when, BAMM! Some player you haven't paid much attention to from another team starts making you notice?
I can't say I watch every game of every team, but I do catch my fair share and there are players out there that are impressive. Many of the guys I'm referring to are throwback players who like to hit hard and play with reckless abandon, while some are just very talented players who also are very good at the team concept.
This is part four of an eight part series detailing players that have jumped out at me and made me say, "Man!! That guy would be a good Raider!"
The NFC East is made up with some of the better teams in the league. It's arguably the best division so it's going to be easy coming up with guys, so easy that I'm going to have to leave some guys off the list that would definitely be a good fit, but there's only so much time and space.
Here's what I've done so far and where I'll be going in the next few days:
- Mar. 29 - NFL-Oakland_Raiders-Arizona_Cardinals-San_Francisco_49ers-He_d_be_a_good_Oakland_Raider_-_NFC_West-300308">NFC West
- Mar. 31 - Falcons-New_Orleans_Saints-He_d_Be_a_Good_Oakland_Raider_NFC_South_Targets-310308#comments">NFC South
- Apr. 1 - Bears-Green_Bay_Packers-He_d_Be_a_Good_Oakland_Raider_-_NFC_North-010408">NFC North
- Apr. 2 - NFC East
- Apr. 3 - AFC East
- Apr. 4 - AFC North
- Apr. 5 - AFC South
- Apr. 7 - AFC West
The talent evaluator for the secondary - Really, whoever this guy is he's pretty good. You'll see that in the next couple of selections, and if you haven't guessed by now, one of them is Sean Taylor (R.I.P.). Although the Raiders have a great secondary, you can never have too many good players or too much talent.
Don't expect many offensive players for this team. They are far too inconsistent or injury prone to make this list. The Redskins are a defensive team and that's why I've picked the following:
S - Sean Taylor: If you didn't know about this guy, you learned after his untimely passing due to a group of thugs looking for an easy score. Teams didn't get an easy score when he was playing. A look at the stats last year shows that he still lead the Redskins in picks (5) in only nine games. He wasn't a finesse guy either, he could lay a hit on the unsuspecting receiver and quite often did.
S - Laron Landry: This kid was as good as advertised. He had 95 tackles in his rookie campaign with 1.5 sacks and 6 passes defensed. He showed that he not only has athletic ability, but a good head for the game as he constantly made it improbable for quarterbacks to hook up deep with their receivers.
LB - London Fletcher: Honestly, I don't want to like this guy. I don't know exactly why, maybe it's the name 'London' or maybe 'Fletcher' reminds me too much of Chevy Chase. Whatever, the guy would be a good Raider. He's played in 119 straight games, and lead the team in tackles last year with 128. That's not all either, he had 13 passes defensed to go along with 3 picks! You may not know this, but only Brian Urlacher, Thomas Howard, and Kirk Morrison were better in passes defensed for linebackers last year.
TE/RB/FB - Chris Cooley: I don't know what position this guy plays, and quite frankly I'm not sure anyone else does either. He's a 'slash' of another type, not the flashy kind. He blocks well, runs well, catches well, and can play special teams if needed. I wonder if he can throw well too? You have to love throwback guys like this, and I do.
OT - Chris Samuels: Even though I thought Norv might have ruined him in his rookie year, he's bounced back from being coached by Norvell quite nicely. Perennial Pro Bowl left tackle, with good technique and balance. He's not afraid to get nasty, and in Oakland that's how we like our linemen to be.
That's it! No Clinton Portis and his funny disguises, no Jason Campbell, no Andre Carter. I didn't forget them, just didn't choose them. Moss was definitely a possibility due to his speed and ability, but I'd like to see more of a consistent passing game to judge that.
First off, let me just say that I'd take any of the Raiders top four corner back's over Assante Samuel. Does that make me a bad person? I also want to point out that while I'd pick Donovan McNabb high in a fantasy draft, I'm not sold on his leadership abilities as a quarterback. Does that mean ESPN won't hire me? I also wanted to put Lito Sheppard in this list. Is there anyone else in the league that makes bigger plays? The problem with Lito is he's got C-Wood syndrome, hasn't ever played more than 11 games in a season.
RB - Brian Westbrook: 5'10" and 210 lbs, this guy takes and gives a pounding. To say he looks nearly identical to Charlie Garner, would not be too much of a stretch. He does it all, runs between the tackles, around the tackles, through the tacklers, and when he's tired of doing that, you can throw to him over the tacklers or have him throw it to you. If you don't love this guy, that's because you have a favorite team in the NFC East.
OG - Shawn Andrews: This guy is quick, agile, strong, and versatile. He plays Guard but can fill in if needed at Tackle. Listed as a Guard/Tackle he made the Pro Bowl as a Guard. The only question about this guy is, what's up with the Mohawk?
S - Brian Dawkins: Was there ever any doubt that I'd want this guy wearing the Silver and Black? He's the heart and soul of the Eagles defense and possibly the entire team. His favorite comic book character is Wolverine, 'the low key leader of the X-Men'. Well Dawkins has been a leader throughout his career and he doesn't do a bunch of talking. He'd rather punch you in the face than let you get out of bounds. He's a little long in the tooth after 12 seasons, but a great role model and example of a pro.
Wow! I'm surprised that I'm done with them. Where's Trent Cole? What are you, his mother? If so, please tell Trent to put up another 10+ sack season next year and I'll add him to the list.
After the Super Bowl, I'm ready to anoint all of them as honorary Raiders. Al has already made two of them official Raiders,(Gibril Wilson and William Joseph), and a couple of others already were, (Danny Clark, Kevin Boothe, and Dave Tollefson). Some guys will get left off even if they're good. Some guys wouldn't look right outside of a Giants uniform.
QB - Eli Manning: You thought I wasn't going to put him on here? He's a legacy player, meaning that his dad, brother, cousin, etc.. is or was a former player. In Eli's case, he's got two of the three characteristics. He has the ability to move out of the pocket, has a rifle for an arm, and can lead the team with a laid back approach. In all actuality, this guy would've been a Raider had it not been for Marty coaching the freakin' Chargers at the time. The biggest knock has been that personality, but I think he proved the doubters wrong with 'the catch 2' play in the Super Bowl. He's got plenty of heart.
WR - Plaxico Burress: Originally, I would've never thought this, but over the past two seasons this guy has become more and more what you want out of your primary receiver. He plays hurt, and is able to come up big even after sitting out the week before unable to walk. That's a gamer, and that makes the list.
OC - Shaun O'Hara: Gritty, tough center that has been a cog for the Giants for the past four years. Not the most talented player at his position, but he makes the most of his abilities and does an outstanding job in the run and pass.
DE - Osi Umenyiora: 41.5 sacks in 53 starts! Everyone already knows about this guy, I don't think I need to waste your time with my praise too.
DE - Justin Tuck: He broke out last year, and even though he doesn't start for the Giants, he had 10 sacks! If you had to pick a role player for your team, you'd be hard-pressed not to select Tuck as the guy. Besides, Raider Nation would love to make a new 'Tuck Rule.'
What?!? No Sam Madison or Michael Strahan? What about Antonio Pierce or Amani Toomer? Madison five years ago, yes! Strahan and Toomer, wouldn't look right out of a Giants jersey, plus I keep remembering how Warren Sapp didn't help us and Toomer is probably on his last stretch. Antonio Pierce is truly borderline, but not impressive enough...I think it's the system.
Proof of the fact that criminals are not part of the Raider Image, Tank Johnson was not selected for this list...I hope he got rid of his guns. Despite being a great player, and probable future Hall Of Famer, T.O. is not on this list either. While he might love him some him, the locker room rarely does...well half of it anyway.
OC - Andre Gurode: I love the way this guy plays. He's big, fast, and knocks people down. He's 6'6" and weighs in at 366 lbs! Who wouldn't want this guy protecting him? With two Pro Bowls under his belt, only injury can keep him from being mentioned with some of the best centers one day.
The rest of Dallas' Offensive Line: Does that make me wishy-washy? I can't help it though, these guys are the types of guys that Raider Nation would be excited to have, which might be why you'll often see speculation of Flozell Adams being traded to the Silver and Black. Personally, my favorite of the bunch is Marc Colombo at 6'8" 320 lbs. Maybe it's the name...hmmm...nah! He's good, but his name is pretty good too. Speaking of names, how can you not like the name Flozell. You think he's getting any dividends from Flo Rida? Defensive players find it very difficult to get any Mail on Sunday with these guys manning the line.
QB - Tony Romo: What? You tellin' me that Raider Nation would tell Jessica she can't come to the game sporting a white and pink Raiders jersey? Not likely, and every bit as good a reason to say, "Damn! I wish he was a Raider." He waited for his shot a la Stabler, and then when he got his opportunity, he made the most of it. I've tried to find holes in his game, but he doesn't have many and he deserves the hype he's received. He's good. Plus, anyone that could cause T.O. to blubber like a schoolgirl in his defense has that special leadership quality. That's why, *SOB**CHORTLE**SOB, "He's my Quarterback!"
RB - Marion Barber: Obviously, I'd be nailed to the wall if I didn't select this guy, who's rumored to be part of a draft day trade to the Raiders. He came into the league to be a backup/third down back. He didn't whine or complain, he went to work like a true pro and now he's the starter...I mean, for now. He's starter/star material and it's a huge bonus that he's a hard worker that does his talking on Sundays.
How about any of their linebackers?: I hate to be so enamored of the Cowboys, but who wouldn't you pick? Demarcus Ware, Greg Ellis, Bobby Carpenter, and now Zach Thomas. Like I said, any of these guys would be good Raiders. The group as a whole is an over achieving, tough, hard hitting, and blue collar guys. What's not to love?
S - Ken Hamlin: Smart player that doesn't shy away from contact. He's a heavy hitter that also can call out the plays to the defense. How did these guys not make the Super Bowl? Hamlin had 5 picks last year with 15 passes defensed and a Pro Bowl to show for it.
S- Roy Williams: I almost didn't include this guy due to his problems in coverage. He's a borderline guy that fell on the right side of the fence. He's fast and hard hitting. With Hamlin on his side, he doesn't need to cover as much and can focus on enforcing, which he's exceptional at. That's probably why he joined his teammate in Hawaii.
If I missed anyone else on the Cowboys, they need to work harder! They definitely have the most guys on this list so far.
Tomorrow, we jump into the AFC East where I'll get to dissect the New England Patriots while throwing up in my mouth. That should be fun, so come on back.
Any feedback you have is greatly appreciated. I want to thank the guys that have given their feedback so far. If you think I got it wrong, let the world know by posting 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?