Every sports fan has asked themselves at one time or another, “What if we signed (Insert players name here) this off season.” Or the other famous statement, “I think we should draft (Insert players name here) this year."
I was having this very conversation with a good friend yesterday. For about two hours we discussed who we would love to see signed via free agency and who we would like drafted.
As we parted ways, I came home and could not get this thought out of my mind.
I turned on my computer and really started looking at the available Free Agents. Before long, I was looking at film on a lot of these guys and writing this article.
My beloved Oakland Raiders have quite a few players that will be free agents on the team this season. With eight selections in the NFL Draft and some great free agents available, I started looking at this really hard and decided to try my hand at playing General Manager for the Raiders.
I began by evaluating the free agents on the team and determining the players we would resign and the ones that we would release. After evaluating the list of free agents that were available from other teams, I made a short board of the athletes we were going to pursue and bring to the Silver and Black. Lastly, I set up a mock draft board for the Raiders in the NFL Draft.
I have to admit, playing General Manager was a lot of work, but a lot of fun. With that being said, here is my take on the Oakland Raiders free agent and NFL Draft situation.
Here is the list of Oakland Raider Free Agents:
Bruce Gradkowski* (RFA) Resigned
Charlie Frye* (RFA) Cut
Luke Lawton (RFA) Cut
Khalif Barnes* (RFA) Resigned
Cornell Green (UFA) Cut
Chris Morris (RFA) Resigned
Greyson Gunheim (ERFA) Resigned
Richard Seymour (UFA) Resigned
Thomas Howard* (RFA) Resigned
Ricky Brown* (RFA) Resigned
Jon Alston* (RFA) Resigned
Kirk Morrison* (RFA) Resigned
Stanford Routt* (RFA) Cut
Hiram Eugene (RFA) Resigned
Sebastian Janikowski (UFA) Resigned
RFAs without an asterisk will have completed three NFL seasons. Players who have an asterisk (*) following their names are fourth or fifth-year players who would be unrestricted free agents if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached prior to March. If not, the NFL will go into an uncapped season, and those players will become restricted free agents
Now that we have taken care of our players, it’s time to go after some free agents. After evaluating the free agent market, I would target four players. These additions will come in and have a chance to not only start immediately, but have a HUGE impact on improving the team.
Karlos Dansby, ILB
I don’t care what it would cost, Dansby would be my first priority. This guy is a monster against the run and very good in pass coverage. I would move him to the middle and move Kirk Morrison to the outside. With the addition of Dansby, the Raiders would arguably have one of the best groups of linebackers in the league.
Dunta Robinson, CB
Last month I would have said this acquistion wouldn't be possible, but things have changed. I have really been paying close attention to Robinson. After experiencing an off year, I am hearing more and more that he may not be franchised. If this happens, I would pick him up as fast as possible. Once he is signed, I can hear every O-Coordinator in the AFC West cursing me out.
Ryan Pickett, NT
I know this guy will be a hot item, but I will do everything to get this guy to sign. If you put this guy next to Tommy Kelly on the inside and move Richard Seymour to the end position, running against us will be very hard.
Those O-Coordinators are cursing again. I LOVE IT!!!!
Eugene Amano, OG
Amano started 15 games for the Titans in 2009 and allowed only half a sack. Along with being able to play center, he is best at run blocking. Anytime you can pick up a guy that helped a running back go over 2,000 yards in a season, you do it, PERIOD!
We have just finished signing our free agents (The O-Coordinators are still cursing) and now it is time to put together our mock draft board, changing the way we look at the draft and addressing our primary needs.
Bruce Campbell, OT Maryland
We need a franchise left tackle and I think this kid is going to be the best out of this years crop. He has great size (6’7”, 320) and is very athletic. With Campbells' acquisition, we can move Henderson to right tackle, improving our O-line.
Carlos Dunlap, DE Florida
Due to his arrest and other contributing factors, Dunlap falls to the second round. With the addition of Pickett via free agency, we will go after youth and depth at the DE position, where Dunlap can learn behind Seymour and Ellis.
He has the size (6’6”, 280) and athleticism to be dominating, but he is lazy at times. If he lives up to his potential, Dunlap will be the steal of the draft.
Dominique Franks, CB Oklahoma
Franks is a big corner (6’0”, 200) and should run a 4.4 second forty time. He played at a major program and will be inserted at the nickel back immediately.
Cam Thomas, DT North Carolina
Thomas had a great Senior Bowl and his stock is rising big time. He is a big guy (6’3”, 325), but somehow manages to stay in on the play.
He is a big boost to our D-Line.
Taylor Price, WR Ohio
I know, I know, you have never heard of this guy. Here is all I have to say on Price—at 6’1”, 205 lbs and with a a 4.38 forty time—he had a decent senior year, but is still raw as a receiver. Price would make a great new KR/PR.
Brandon Carter, OG Texas Tech
This guy is HUGE (6’7”, 345), but he can play. He is starting to rise up on the draft boards and is regarded as one of the top 10 guards in the draft. He has quick feet and is a punishing run blocker and pass protector.
Let’s face it, he was born to be a Raider.
Jarrett Brown, QB West Virginia
Brown is a project, but he has the potential to be something special. Good arm strength, size (6’3”, 220), and athleticism will make Brown a very good signal caller at the next level. He will take at least two or three years to develop, but I think he will be worth the wait.
John Conner, FB Kentucky
A very good blocker and an underrated runner and receiver, Conner is a blocking back that we need to clean and hit the hole for our running back. He has good size (5’11”, 240) and brings the hammer every time. He is also a good short yardage runner, a position we have not filled since Zack Crockett played.
This General Manager stuff is fun if only in theory. Free agency and the NFL Draft are fast approaching and only time will tell how my "What Ifs" are answered. Until then, I will keep asking the question.