2010 NFL Draft Oakland Raiders: Time For Al Davis to Get It Right.
In the last three years the Raiders have drafted quarterback Jamarcus Russell, running back Darren Mcfadden, and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey all in the first round.
They all fit the style of players that the Raiders usually go for, and last year was probably the most surprising pick of all.
The Raiders were on the clock, and in need of a receiver or offensive lineman. The top three rated receivers were still available, and a couple solid offensive lineman were still on the board.
The Raiders shocked everyone, by taking Darrius Heyward-Bey, the speedy receiver from Maryland.
Davis and the Raiders take a lot of criticism for their early picks, but do not get enough credit for their picks after the first round.
Davis has discovered some jewels in the later rounds. Zach Miller, Michael Bush, Louis Murphy, and Chaz Schilens come to mind when I think about the later round draft picks for the offense.
The jury is still out on the Raiders first round picks, and this is a do or die year for Russell who was drafted in 2007.
Rebuilding an offense is no easy task and it takes time and patience for it to be completed, but it could take longer if not done correctly.
Davis has added a lot of pieces to the offense that have a lot potential and physical ability to make it in the next level. Unfortunatley for these players Davis has continued to ignore the most vital pieces to the puzzle.
He's ignored one of the team's biggest needs in the draft, and this has set the Raiders back. Since drafting Russell in 2007 the Raiders have only drafted one offensive lineman and that was in the third round in 2007.
He's tried adding offensive lineman through free agency, but players like Kwame Harris, Khalif Barnes, and Samson Satele have failed to impress or produce like Davis has hoped.
What is the use in investing in Size, Strength and Speed guys, when you aren't investing in protecting them so they can utilize their talents?
Since 2003 the Raiders have always been in the bottom half of the league in yards per game and points per game.
This has no doubt affected a defense that has plenty of talent on that side of the ball. The defense has been forced to be on the field more often than not due to an offense that goes three and out more than it gets first downs.
This should be surprising considering the fact that Davis is in love with the deep ball and lighting up the scoreboard. But in reality it shouldn't be because Davis continues to ignore the importance of a solid offensive line.
Last year should have been a wake up call for Davis. The Raiders gave up the most sacks per pass attempt in the league last year.
Russell struggled last year and one of the reasons was the poor play from the offensive line.
Bruce Gradkowski, who was a breath of fresh air to the offense, was unable to stay healthy behind that offensive line.
Charlie Frye was unable to finish most games he started because of the weak offensive line play.
Even J.P. Losman who was added toward the end of the season, took a hard hit in his one and only play behind the offensive line.
The running game struggled as well, only twice did a running back break the 100 yard mark. Which is surprising because the Raiders were saying it was possible to have three backs go over 1,000 yards before the season.
The Raiders have the eighth overall pick in this year's draft, and there is sure to be solid offensive linemen available when they are on the clock.
Will Davis and the Raiders do the right thing and start finding ways to protect all their early investments? Or will they simply continue to ignore one of the team's biggest needs once again?
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