Here is another Mock Draft for the Oakland Raiders. Again, I will keep this relatively simple. I decided to write another one because pre-draft information can be unreliable at best, and tends to change almost daily.
There have been some ideas flying around on the net about what the Raiders should do to haul in a boatload of players.
I'd like to keep this somewhat linear. Some of the ideas I have read would rely on too many dynamics all lining up just right for the Raiders. Realistically, many of the ideas are improbable.
That's coming from me, and I often seek ideas outside the box. However, I don't bother with an idea unless there's a reasonable chance it could be true, or that it could work.
Many have wondered whether the Raiders should select OT Bruce Campbell from Maryland. Campbell impressed many at the combine with his size and speed, both of which are measures coveted by Al Davis.
Some have wondered if it could be déjà vu all over again after they took Darrius Heyward-Bey from Maryland at seventh overall in 2009, because of his size and speed.
I'm not convinced of that. One reason why the Heyward-Bey pick was questioned is because he was the first receiver off the board when Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin were projected as better prospects, which until further notice, has been true.
In 2010 however, we could potentially see three or four tackles off the board in the top 10.
Washington will likely take Russell Okung, Kansas City could easily take Bryan Bulaga, while the Seahawks or even Cleveland could take Trent Williams or Anthony Davis as a right tackle, if those clubs defer from selecting a quarterback.
The Raiders could also take Bruce Campbell, while the Bills could be the fourth club to select a tackle (assuming that both Sam Bradford and Jimmy Claussen are off the board).
Bottom line is that I expect a run on tackles at the top because most of the teams in the top 10 are there because of sketchy play from the offensive line.
However, the key is to avoid thinking that Campbell can step in and immediately make a Pro Bowl-caliber impact. Assuming the Raiders take Campbell, the high draft status would put a target on his back for opponents to zero in on. That's why the Raiders should load up on offensive linemen in this draft in order to build a strong line, all-around.
Campbell will need time to learn. The Raiders need to protect him from having to learn everything too soon by loading up on the line, and improving the blocking from the tight ends and fullbacks in particular.
Robert Gallery and Mario Henderson are the only two linemen I would pencil in. The center position should be resolved in camp between Chris Morris and Samson Satele.
Moreover, the Raiders need depth on the line.
When Gallery got hurt in 2009, Chris Morris moved from center to guard. I don't know about you, but I think shifting starters around is a bad idea because it creates too much confusion for them.
A different spot calls for different assignments, different footwork, etc.—all of which can lead to costly penalties because the starters are not on the same page. I would rather have starters that can focus on one position and backups that have the time to learn to be spot starters.
I should add that LB Kirk Morrison is a restricted free agent, who could garner another third-round pick for the Raiders if he signs with another club. All indications have been that the Raiders will likely move forward without him.
The recent acquisition of Kamerion Wimbley raises a number of questions.
Reportedly, the Raiders acquired Wimbley in exchange for the 96th overall pick the NFL Draft; a pick acquired from New England in exchange for Derrick Burgess. Knowing that the trade does not include the 69th overall pick, seems to make this trade a potential boon for Oakland.
Wimbley could either be used as a linebacker or defensive end, as Mathias Kiwanuka was used for the Giants under now Raiders d-line coach Mike Waufle. Wimbley playing end would free up Trevor Scott to play linebacker full-time.
On the other hand, Scott will play end and Wimbley would play linebacker.
Alternatively, the Wimbley move could mean that the Raiders will convert to the 3-4 defense or at least mix in some 3-4 schemes.
Here then, is my second Mock Draft of what I think would be a good draft haul for the Raiders.
Offensive Line: left tackle, right guard
Defensive Line: nose tackle
Offensive Line depth: tackle, guard
Defensive Line depth: tackle
Secondary depth: cornerback
1. OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland
Campbell has all the tools to be an All-Pro at left tackle, but injuries and experience remain concerns.
2. NT Cam Thomas, North Carolina
The Raiders could potentially trade down and still select Thomas. Nevertheless, Thomas would meet a huge need by filling the one-technique spot on the defensive line, which would free up the ends and linebackers to make plays.
3. LB A.J. Edds, Iowa
Edds is projected as the best pure strong side linebacker, which is what the Raiders need most. Thomas Howard could potentially move inside if Kirk Morrison leaves, while Trevor Scott has shown that he can be a beast on the weak side. The Raiders mostly need a tackler at linebacker.
3. CB A.J. Jefferson, Fresno State (HYPOTHETICAL PICK)
This pick depends on whether Kirk Morrison signs elsewhere. The Raiders could use another cornerback to groom behind Chris Johnson and Nnamdi Asomugha. Yes, the Raiders have Stanford Routt, but Jefferson is bursting with raw talent and would have the time to learn behind the three.
4. DT Jeff Owens, Georgia
Could be a steal because he's had some injury concerns, but has great size and speed for a potential three-technique tackle to come off the bench in pass-rush situations.
5. G Brandon Carter, Texas Tech
If you know anything about this Red Raider, you'd know that Carter was born to be a Raider. Known for his "wild man" appearance that he will tell you is just for game day, Carter would fit well as a backup behind Robert Gallery, or even a starter on the right side.
5. OT Adam Ulatoski, Texas
A versatile tackle that excelled on the right and left sides of the line, Ulatoski would be a solid backup on either side.
6. FB John Connor, Kentucky
The Raiders have lacked a true blocking fullback ever since Jon Ritchie left. I like to say that when you can't count on the line for blocking, make sure the fullbacks and tight ends can.
7. G Shelley Smith, Colorado State
Dominated at Colorado State when playing but had injury issues. Whether that success translates to the NFL is another story. Never whistled for a penalty. Good size and speed for a guard.