Al Davis Needs Help: NFL Draft Proves He's Lost It...Again

Alex Meredith@wordofalexContributor IApril 28, 2009

ALAMEDA, CA - JANUARY 23:  Newly hired head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Lane Kiffin (L), smiles as Raiders owner Al Davis reacts to a question during a press conference on January 23, 2007 in Alameda, California. Kiffin, a 31 year-old offensive coordinator from the University of Southern California, was named as the new head coach to replace Art Shell who was fired after going 2-14 for the season.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Al Davis needs help. He needs help getting to Raiders’ games. He needs help walking. He probably needs help eating and relieving himself on a daily basis. And as we were once again reminded for the umpteenth time this last weekend, Al Davis needs help running a football team.

For those who need reminding, with the seventh pick of the 2009 draft, longtime zombie/owner Al Davis decided it best to select speedy University of Maryland wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey

You’d be hard-pressed to find many analysts in the country who had Heyward-Bey going much higher than 22 to Minnesota, but nonetheless, Davis and cohorts decided on Heyward-Bey, because, well as we all know, Davis loves speed.

A couple media outlets including SI’s Peter King and Mike Lombardi of the National Football Posthad both reported rumors of the possibility of DHB being drafted at No. 7, but one would figure it would have had to have been the Raiders just blowing smoke, right?

Well, then again, we are talking about the Raiders here (if you didn’t read it already, Lombardi provides a strangely unsurprising account of the Raiders draft room circa the 1985 draft), and this is the same team that signed WR Javon Walker, DT Tommy Kelly, CB DeAngelo Hall, FS Gibril Wilson, and OT Kwame Harris to an astounding combination of $233-MILLION over 29 years in ‘08.

They then cut Walker, Hall, and Wilson all by season’s end.  At this point I’m not so sure Al Davis knows much about math let alone business or football.

But let’s assume for a moment that Al Davis is a math whiz, or at least someone with grade school mathematical knowledge.  He may not be the best at business math, but let’s assume that he knows simple math.

He knows 27 is more than 16, and 4.32 is less than 4.67.  Listed below are several players drafted from as early as 2005, to as late as this last weekend that held statistics similar to those of Heyward-Bey’s:


Draft Position

Last year College Statistics (rec/yds/tds)








Troy Williamson

 2005: R1, P7

Seventh Overall


6’1” 203lbs






Mike Wallace

2009: R3, P20

84th Overall


6’0” 180lbs







2009: R1, P7

Seventh Overall


6’2” 210lbs






Yamon Figurs

2007: R3, P10

74th Overall


5’11” 180lbs






Johnny Knox

2009: R5, P4

140th Overall


6’0” 185lbs






Ted Ginn Jr.

2007: R1, P9

Ninth Overall








* - Division II Player

** - Pro-Day result, player was injured during the NFL combine.

Statistically, no one player really stands out all that much.  How do these similar numbers translate into the NFL? Obviously it’s nearly impossible to tell before some of these guys have ever touched the field, so until they do, all we can do is speculate. 

Ginn Jr. is the highlight of the group, but the man is clearly not a number one option for any team.  And you don’t draft a No. 2 position player in the top 10 of an NFL draft—or any draft for that matter. 

The rest of the players listed that have played have been relegated to a return specialist role for the most part.

But there’s no doubting DHB is a tremendous athlete – anyone who can run 40-yards in 4.3 seconds is a freak.  But there’s a difference between athleticism and production in sports.  Can DHB do it? Could he be the next Randy Moss? Absolutely. He could be.  He has tremendous potential.  But so did Troy Williamson when the Vikings drafted him in ’05. 

Oh, and it’s not like the University of Maryland produces top-tier Wide Receiver talent.  DHB, for all of his speed and quickness, didn’t even make the All-ACC team. He didn’t even make All-ACC Second Team (however he did receive honorable mentions…give credit where credit is due). 

And the last time a Maryland receiver landed in the first round you ask? That would happen to be this bad ass in 1962—interestingly enough, the year prior to Al Davis becoming the Raiders Head Coach at the age of 33.

But the problem doesn’t lie in DHB being a potential first round bust, it lies in how Al Davis operates a multi-million dollar franchise.  At the very least, Davis could have at least attempted to trade down.

Hell, even if he just traded down three or four spots for as little as a fifth or sixth round pick (which is ridiculous in concept anyway, but ANY team would be obliged to take advantage of old man winter for that), then they could at least get something else out of it.

Alas, Davis didn’t though, and now he’ll most likely be spending something similar to Ginn Jr.’s contract of $19.6 million over five-years, that is, if they’re lucky—last year’s number seven draft pick, Sedrick Ellis, commanded a contract worth up to $49 million.

At this rate, we’ll be seeing Usain Bolt suiting up in no time.

Just remember Al:

Speed kills.


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