Mike Iupati is the most dominant offensive lineman entering the upcoming 2010 NFL Draft. Many project him anywhere from number 14 to the middle of the first round. The Oakland Raiders have the 8th pick in this year's draft and many are projecting the Raiders to take Maryland's Bruce Campbell because of his showing at the combine. I however believe Iupati should be the player Oakland drafts, replaces RG Cooper Carlisle and becomes a Pro G his rookie year. At 6'5" 331 lbs and rock solid in terms of strength and agility for his size, he's going to be a Pro Bowl G whether it's in a man blocking scheme or the zone blocking scheme.
The one nagging question will be the media onslaught of "reach" and why didn't Oakland trade back if they don't choose a LT like Campbell or Trent Williams to select Iupati. This could be a typical Al Davis pick when he says screw the world, I'm taking my next Wisneiwski. I usually prefer that Al to take the best available player regardless of need and I'm starting to wonder whether this is what Al should do here? Davis will have his pick of several players at key positions who are number one like LB Rolando McClain, G Mike Iupati, DE Derrick Morgan, WR Dez Bryant, OLB Brandon Gradam, among others when the 8th pick comes around. Should he draft to replace/upgrade Henderson/Barnes at the tackle position or should he bring the draft's most dynamic offensive lineman and put him in a position to open monster holes for McFadden to burst through?
It's going to be a big decision, but drafting Mike Iupati would automatically upgrade a key position on the O line. I would think a healthy Robert Gallery, Satele, and Iupati would make a rock solid interior O line and make both Henderson and Barnes' jobs easier. If Al chooses Iupati expect Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, and others immediately state it's another "Al Davis pick, and a reach" while a real analyst like Mike Mayock calls it a great pick.
I'm going to call it a great pick, buy a half rack and celebrate and know the running game is set for the next 10 years.