The State of the Raiders Part 4 (Drafting)

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The State of the Raiders Part 4 (Drafting)
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Overall Scouting Grade: C

The Raiders draft was up and down this season. All you have to do to impress Raiders owner Al Davis, is run a fast 40 time. That's the main requirement. For example, let's go to Darrius Heyward-Bey (DHB). 

DHB ran a 40 in 4.30 seconds. However, he didn't have one 50-catch season. Guys like Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin were still on the board. But Al Davis just had to have the fastest one. In fact, every skill position player (except for JaMarcus) drafted in the first round, had a 40 time of 4.5 or better.

If you don't have speed, you better have something special about you for Davis to draft you in the first round. Something like a cannon for a leg, or maybe a rocket like an arm. Sound like anyone familiar? 

Al Davis acts like a kid while drafting. He wants a new toy to play with.

A kid wants the faster car, in this case the fastest guy. The kid wants Superman as their action figure, not Batman (no offense). You see where I'm going here...

Well, a year later, I have graded all the picks:

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey . Grade: D

Why: He couldn't catch a pass and couldn't run routes (aka get open). It makes it a little difficult to play the position, eh? 

One area can improve: Fundamentals. Specifically, catching the BALL. I don't care if you have to have someone throw you a ball 1,000 times every day. Catch it. Hell, sleep with it. Picture yourself catching it. Do anything, man!

S Mike Mitchell . Grade: C

Why: He couldn't really see the field. He injured his hamstring in training camp and never got developed. He excelled on special teams though.

One area he can improve: Agility. He needs to be able to move laterally better.

DE Matt Shaugnessy . Grade: B+

Why: Because he made the most out of limited playing time. He had four sacks this season.

One area he can improve: Improving his bull rush. Matt doesn't do anything spectacular, but does most things well. This is just a minor weakness.

WR Louis Murphy. Grade: A-

Why: Because he proved he is polished for a rookie WR. He caught 34 balls, which is solid for a rookie, let alone one who played with JaMarcus Russell the first 10 weeks.

One area he can improve: Catching. He definitely didn't drop as many as DHB, but it still was a problem.

DE/LB: Slade Norris . Grade: D-

Why: He didn't even make the team out of training camp. The only thing that kept him from getting an F is that he evtually got called up because of Ricky Brown's injury. And then he got put on injured reserve

One area he can improve: Improve overall strength. He has a small stature, so he needs to get a lot stronger to hold up.

DE: Stryker Sulak . Grade: F

Why: He didn't even make it to mini camp.

One area he can improve: Finding a job.

TE Brandon Myers. Grade: B

Why: He did a solid job of blocking in limited playing time.

One area he can improve: Improve his overall route running. He's not asked to receive often, but right now he's a one dimensional blocker.

Who will Davis target this time around? Well, he's going to probably draft an offensive lineman in the first two rounds. Then he will focus on getting a true nose tackle, which may be difficult. In the middle rounds, I expect him to find the best kick returner available (Javier Arenas or Perish Cox). In the later rounds, I expect him to find a developmental lineman.

This is the fourth article in my series where I grade the Raiders in a specific category every day. Here are the first three articles:

Part 3

Part 2

Part 1

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