It's Monday. Draft weekend is past us and now its time to access what the Raiders have done to improve their team.
Coming into the draft, the Raiders needed to address the following positions:
OT, DT, WR, S, OLB, TE
The WR position was covered by drafting Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy in the fourth round. DHB has been brought here to stretch the field for our underneath guys (Walker, Shillens, Miller and Higgins). Louis Murphy came from a spread system in Florida, but as Tom Cable would want you to know, he played on the outside which would help him convert to a pro system easier.
We picked up two SPEEDY guys to stretch the field. As of now we have….
Walker, Shillens, Watkins and Miller to make the possession grabs. Johnnie Lee Higgins running slants across the field and our two young guys with Arman Shields going deep.
The safety position was covered by REACHING for Michael Mitchell. Every analyst, pick a network, went nuts when this pick was made. He was a stretch but not that much of a stretch. Various teams showed interest in him along with the Bears who were going to take him two picks later at No. 49.
After seeing some clips, since I don’t know where to find "tape," this guy can HIT. We have NOT had a hard hitting safety in the longest time. Lining Mitchell up next to Huff/Branch deep on Safety island will be a good combination.
A ball hawk hopefully at the FS spot with Mitchell knocking heads off coming across the middle. He wants to be here, he’s got A LOT to prove with a HUGE chip on his shoulder after Kiper, McShay, Mayock and Co. just killed him.
The DE/OLB position was addressed by drafting Matt Saughnessy in the third round, Slade Norris in the fourth, and Stryker Sulak with their sixth round pick.
Saughnessy is a big guy who is considered to have excellent size and strength. He battled injuries during his time at Wisconsin, which might attribute to his lack of explosion on the end. We might have found a diamond in the rough if he gets fully healthy.
As for Norris, he was an OLB at Oregon State. He started as a safety and moved to OLB during his time there along with occasionally putting his hand in the ground as a DE. He’s small at 6’ 2” 232 lbs to come in as a DE, so I’ll assume with that size and his 4.65 40 time that he’ll be put in at OLB.
Stryker Sulak played Hybrid DE/OLB in college, but will be used as a OLB in Oakland according to Coach Cable. This guy is going to do very well! He got sacks (10.5) and TFL (15.5) as a senior. He’s known as a guy that plays full throttle from whistle to whistle. A late pick with a motor that can produce, hopefully along the lines of T. Scott this past year. Helluva pick up.
The TE position was one that needed to get addressed so that Zach Miller can use his hands to catch not block. Brandon Myer was the pick from Iowa. He wasn’t too effective when he was forced to block for Shonnn Greene when teams stacked the box. That’s what’s going to happen here but him catching isn’t why he’s here, it’s blocking.
Looks like we addressed all positions of need minus the trenches. No defensive tackles or offensive lineman were chosen. We’ll have to live with what we have.
According to the experts we’re getting a D grade on our draft with a F (McShay and Kiper) going to Heyward-Bey. The guys that were chosen don’t have huge names or huge egos. I’ve heard Heyward-Bey on the conference call posted on the Raiders.com site along with his interview on the Murph & Mac Show on KNBR 680 this morning. He sounds like he has his head on right and is ready to work.
He knows he has people doubting him but he’s ready to work, which is what you want to hear. Coming from a pro-style system, he should be somewhat ready. On the contrary, Michael Crabtree was interviewed one hour later and boy are they on opposite sides of the spectrum.
When he first talked to Coach Singletary and was asked what he likes to do, his answer was "Fashion." He can sit infront of a computer for hours looking into fashion. You should hear the tone in which Singletary responded. He seemed a bit shocked.
Crabtree went on to havea non-exciting interview with no goodies to listen to. FYI, according to Crabtree his main issue daily is what to wear because he doesn’t wear the same thing twice. Can we say DIVA? I'm glad we didn't choose this clown. No wonder St. Louis, Seattle, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Oakland and Jacksonville said NO even though they all needed him.
The character or work ethic of the guys selected is NOT in question at all. No one can say we didn't get our guys because the Raiders did. We didn't "settle" for any picks. We got our guys. The blame/praise is to fall fully on Al Davis and Coach Cable because of this.
They began the offseason by weeding out guys who don’t like it here nor have the attitudes to work. By looking at the draft, they continued that philosophy in the Raider way—speed!
The team has added a lot of speed with this draft. Mr. Davis apparently has faith in Coach Cable coaching up our current offensive line, and in John Marshall using our current and new defensive pieces in creative ways to get to the QB. Lets see how it turns out. I'm on board!