A Request From a Raider Fan To The NFL

Cuban CommandoContributor IApril 26, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 22:  Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey of Maryland runs with the football during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 22, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

Dear NFL,

Please eliminate the 40 yard dash from the NFL combine.  As a life-long Raider fan, it’s become painfully clear that is the ONLY test that Al Davis pays attention to. Apparently, Mr. Davis does NOT watch any game film on the NFL draft prospects that he evaluates.

In the alternative, can you at the very least institute a “40 yard dash Anonymous” program.  If alcoholism is considered a disease, perhaps the American Medical Association should determine whether or not Mr. Davis suffers from a 40 yard dash related disease. 

Just as an alcoholic’s life is consumed with alcohol, Mr. Davis’ evaluation of NFL prospects is determined by 40 yard dash times. Just as an alcoholic destroys his life with the consumption of alcohol, Mr. Davis destroys his team with his myopic obsession with 40 yard dash times.

On the 1st day of the 2009 draft, Mr. Davis passed on the unanimous best wide receiver in the draft, Michael Crabtree, to draft the fastest man in the draft, WR Heyward-Bey, who was not predicted to be drafted until the end of the 1st round or the beginning of the 2nd round. 

If Mr. Davis really wanted Heyward-Bey instead of the best wide receiver, he should have traded down the mid/late teens or early ‘20’s, draft Heyward-Bey, AND pick up an extra draft pick or two.

Just when I thought that it could not get any worse, Mr. Davis chose to draft safety Michael Mitchell from the University of Ohio. Once again, it appears that Mr. Davis drafted Mitchell because of his size and speed. 

At a big 220 pounds, Mitchell ran a fast 4.43 for a safety. Not only was Mitchell NOT a top prospect, he was projected to be a 7th round draft pick, or an undrafted free agent. 

What’s particularly confusing about this choice is that once again, Mr. Davis passed up on a much higher rated player at the same position. Mr. Davis could have drafted safety William Moore from the University of Missouri. 

Unlike Mitchell, Moore was a highly regarded prospect from a major program in a major conference. In fact, he was ranked as one of the top two or three safeties in the entire draft. 

At about 220 pounds, Moore was about the same size as Mitchell. And Moore’s 40 yard dash time of 4.43 seconds was only a tad slower than Mitchell’s time of 4.53. That slight advantage hardly seems worth ignoring all the other factors pointing toward drafting Moore.

To prove that I am not overreacting solely to the selection of Heyward-Bey, I would like to point out some of the other “track” stars that Mr. Davis has drafted, traded for, signed, or employed for far too long, that were complete failures as football players. 

Some of those players include: WR’s: James Jett, Sam Graddy, Alexander Wright, and Willie Gault; TE’s: Rickey Dudley, Courtney Anderson; DB’s: James Trapp, Fabian Washington, Phillip Buchanon, Stanford Routt, and Patrick Bates

If the league is not willing to proceed with my other suggestions, would you consider publishing a “Running a Football Team for Dummies” book? 

I think that Mr. Davis could benefit from a chapter on how general managers like Bill Parcells, or teams like New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Tennessee build competitive teams year after year.  Thank you for your consideration.