The 2009 Oakland Raider Draft: From Cellar to Contender Overnight

Jeff LeetsCorrespondent IApril 22, 2009

ALAMEDA, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis and Tom Cable speak during a press conference after being named new head coach after the firing of Lane Kiffin of the Oakland Raiders at thier training facility on Septemer 30, 2008 in Alameda, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

The war room is busy already.  Tags are going up and coming down and moving here and there, while opinions turn into debates and debates turn into heated discussions and sometimes even arguments. 

Why?  Because this is a time that a franchise can strike gold and literally become a contender overnight. 

In order for this to be a successful draft, a few things have to fall into place.  In years past, many errors have been made.  That’s obvious.

A large reason is because Al has blocked everyone out and nobody has had a say.  We will find out on Sunday if that has changed a little. 

In my opinion, Al Davis has opened up a little bit, and has at the very least listened to Tom Cable, and made moves this off season reflective of a franchise that is on the same page. 

They have acquired free agents that have been brought in to fill a need and to offer depth.  Not just a big name that is going on what he did two or three years ago, the guy you pray has a fraction of what he had back in the day. 

Samson Satele, Khalif Barnes, and Erik Pears are all indications that Al and Tom are working together. 

You have to have a clear picture of where you want to go and the coaches and scouts, and even the owner, have to be on the same page.  Look at the needs of the team based on production, age, and other factors and make moves accordingly. 

Those first four rounds can produce four starters on either side of the ball or four players that barely see the field. 

The Oakland Raiders have to do their homework and look at these young men inside and out and make certain they know what they are getting.  Along with that, though, you need a little bit of luck on your side as the later rounds are a reach. 

A good example would be defensive end Trevor Scott from the 2008 NFL Draft.  He was a sixth round pick that made the team and put up better numbers then first round picks and fellow defensive ends like San Francisco's Kentwan Balmer. 

Scott was also more productive than Seattle’s first round pick and fellow defensive end Lawrence Jackson, who had 29 tackles all of last year.  

Even seventh Round Pick Chaz Schilens had a better season then a variety of early round picks on draft day in 2008.  It’s a crap shoot, but at the same time a little inside information and a ton of homework go a long way.

This draft I would be happy with the following:  The Raiders draft a wide receiver, left side offensive tackle, defensive tackle, safety, and outside linebacker.  All are positions of need. 

In the first round if Jeremy Maclin is there, I say you grab him.  Micheal Crabtree will not get the same amount of separation and be able to make the same plays he did in the NCAA here in the NFL.  Speed goes a long way here.  Maclin has it.  Crabtree does not. 

In the second round, you address the second biggest need and draft a defensive tackle.  Ron Brace, Ziggy Hood, or even USC’s Fili Moala would make sense here. 

Look for a player that plays the run and plays it well.  Players are not kept on the field due to how much money they are earning.  It’s about production. 

The idea that Tommy Kelly and/or Terdell Sands are kept on the field because of the coin they are making is ridiculous.  Hence, spend the dough and pick a defensive tackle in the second round. 

Third round is a great time to address the left tackle situation.  A great pick, if available, and a perfect fit for the zone blocking scheme would be an offensive tackle out of Tulane, Troy Kropog.  He has already played in a zone blocking scheme and is agile yet powerful enough to play and succeed at the next level. 

In the fourth round, addressing the outside linebacker lack of production is key.  Jason Williams from The University of Western Illinois would be a huge pickup.  Al Davis loves speed and this guy can fly for the position.  He ran a 4.5 second 40-yard dash at the combine and benched 225 pounds 26 times. 

Very nice combination of speed and power and a player that could solidify the Raiders linebacking group with Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison for years to come.  Now we get into the reaching stage.  These picks, you pray develop into something golden for the team. 

At this point taking the best player on the board makes a lot of sense and the final picks could pan out in a variety of different ways.  Here is a list of some of the players I could see helping the Raiders, and that should be available in the final round. 

John Gill, a DT, from Northwestern. He ran a 5.09 40-yard dash at the combine so he will be on Al’s radar.  Kevin Ellison out of USC does not have the speed but is from USC and does support the run well. 

Al likes to take chances and Brandon Tate, who was injured in 2008, if healthy, could very well be another WR picked in the last round that produces and makes the team. 

Of course we could go on and on about what could and should happen during this year’s draft, but we all know Al will do what he wants.  Age has caught up with him, his years left here are limited and he wants to go out in style. 

With the moves already made, you can tell he is letting people in and is making moves that are reflective of an owner that knows what it takes to get back to winning. 

Whatever happens, hopefully that is the final outcome.  This team needs to get back to winning.  Now.