Call me crazy, but I’m not fully against Al Davis’ pick. He’s got a vision of how he wants his team to play, and Crabtree did not fit it.
He had the same vision in the mid 90s and went on to win four consecutive AFC West titles on his way to a Super Bowl XXXVII appearance.
The last six years have been poor. But boom is closely followed by bust in the NFL.
The Raider Nation likes Al Davis. It always has. He has always had a vision and always had a plan.
Whatever the direction Al took the team, at least it was a solid direction. He wasn't aimlessly spinning around in circles like half the NFL.
When he makes picks, they aren’t just mindless punts, or picking high value guys for the sake of it. They are the players he believes will help them win quicker.
I don’t think it’s any secret that Al Davis covets a “run, run, run, bomb” offense. In the last three drafts he has picked Jamarcus Russell, Darren McFadden and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
To me, that’s just a guy staying consistent with his scheme.
- Russell has the monster arm.
- McFadden is the home run hitting running back, to complement two pounders in Fargas and Bush.
- Darrius Heyward-Bey is the guy who is going to spread the field, no matter how average his hands are.
If you have one guy who can throw the ball 80 yards, and another who can get on the end of it, very quickly, you’re going to have to defend it, opening up the running game.
The question a lot of people are asking, of course, is why not Crabtree or even Maclin?
The Raiders were never interested in Crabtree. They didn't interview him once. A lot of teams didn't.
Why? He may be the best wide receiver in the draft but not for the Raiders.
Crabtree has had question marks over his NFL speed for a while. The last 40 he ran was a 4.55. Many questioned, pre-combine, whether it was going to get any lower, and then he got injured and didn’t even run one.
Forgive Al, and many teams who covet a real speed receiver, for maybe not wanting to take the plunge.
Maclin had good speed, but is small. Six feet tall in heels, and less than 200 pounds. He is more Fraction Jackson than Terrell Owens.
Darrius Heyward-Bey is 6’2" and closer to 215. What’s more, he posted a lightning quick 40 time at the draft. He is exactly the size-speed combination Al wanted, to spread the field and draw double coverage.
Heyward-Bey was interviewed numerous times by the Raiders, and was always "their guy." They would, of course, have preferred to take him at 15 rather than five, but if you don’t get the right deal, why take someone else just for “common sense” sake.
In an era where 50 percent of wide receivers are total flops, and "experts'" can’t miss players, like Charles Rogers, are no longer in the league, I applaud Davis for taking the receiver he feels will help his team win.
If San Francisco is ruling the Bay in five years time, then you can criticize Al.