After spending the last few drafts on skilled position players, it’s time for the Oakland Raiders to fortify the offensive line. So, with the eighth selection in the 2010 NFL draft, the Raiders will take Anthony Davis from Rutgers.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper says that Davis is the “most naturally gifted” of the offensive linemen in the draft. Davis is projected to be better in pass protection than Bryan Bulaga, for example, and we all know how much Al Davis loves his QB.
Unfortunately, most Raiders fans don’t share that love for JaMarcus Russell, who is simply bad at playing the QB position. Other than that minor flaw, he’s fine.
I know many fans would rather select Sam Bradford with this pick, assuming he is available. But if the Raiders are going to give new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson a year to work with Russell, they might as well help protect him.
And that’s where Davis comes in. Trying to fix an offense that scored just 17 offensive touchdowns in 16 games won’t be easy, but it starts with the line play.
And Davis, who is listed at 6’6”, 325, the junior is the most physically gifted of the OTs.
It is tempting to consider Mike Lupati of Idaho here, as he has been rapidly climbing up the draft board. He’s strong and nasty, which fits the Raiders mold well, but he’s really a guard. Yes, he’s played OT but his future in the NFL projects as a guard.
Both current Raiders starting tackles, Mario Henderson (who was bad down the stretch) and Cornell Green (prone to mental errors) fail to impress, so Davis should be able to step right in and contribute immediately.
Since our Redskins featured columnist team has selected Russell Okung with the fourth pick of the draft , Davis is the next best option for the Raiders despite some inconsistent play last season.
The inconsistency showed markedly in two games last season. Davis did not play well against Cincinnati, while he was outstanding against South Florida’s defensive end George Selvie . In that game, there were 15 one-on-one pass rush situations between these two, and Davis dominated all of them.
When blocking downfield, Rutgers play calls often had Davis releasing to engage a linebacker at the second level and he was very quick to get to where he needed to be.
There are some other red flags about Davis outside of inconsistency, however. He sat out the 2008 Morgan State game for violating team rules and came into 2009 fall camp overweight and was demoted to the second team for the first week of practice. Davis also was suspended for the first quarter of the 2009 Army game for being late to a team function.
But he is exceptional in pass protection; the kid can play. Davis uses his long arms to his advantage and shows excellent lateral movement. He is also very strong and flashes a mean streak occasionally.
Having said all that, we all know how unpredictable Al Davis can be. Most Raiders fans will be ecstatic if they pick Bradford, or perhaps even if they select Jimmy Clausen, but don’t hold your breath.
Rams take: Suh
Lions take: McCoy