Oakland Raiders: NFL Draft 2010

Chris JennerCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 03:  Nnamdi Asomugha #21 of the Oakland Raiders in action against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on January 3, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

When the Commissioner steps up to the podium in late April to announce the Oakland Raiders first round selection, much like Al Davis, I will have my stop watch ready at hand. 

I will of course be timing how long it takes for one of the NFL networks so called "experts", to drop the hammer, and start tearing apart the Raiders first round pick.  It is no secret that since Davis took the NFL to court, and won, over moving his team to Los Angeles, he hasn't exactly been at the top of the NFL's Christmas card list.

  Davis has done little to silence these pundits over his drafting in the first round over the last decade, however.  Players such as Jamarcus Russell, Darren Mcfadden, Michael Huff, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Tyler Brayton, Fabian Washington, and Phillip Buchanon, can hardly be called great first round picks at this point.  Mcfadden may still turn out, but only time will tell.  I wouldn't hold your breath on Russell.  Even Robert Gallery, who has turned into a stellar guard, and could very well see his first Pro Bowl this coming season, can hardly be justified with the number 2 overall pick.  Of course there is the one gem, Nnamdi Asomugha, who Davis took near the end of the first round, and now has himself the best corner in all of football.   Davis' first round has none the less been a disaster for his franchise.  With players that are over paid and  under performing eating up a ton of cap space, there is a terrible depth problem on the Oakland Raiders. 

While some have suggested that Davis trade up to land Ndamukong Suh, the number 1 rated defensive tackle in the draft, to help shore up their porous run defense, I would remind these people that almost every top rated DT to come out of the draft in the last 15 years, hailed as "the best tackle since Warren Sapp", has never been even close to that.  My suggestion for the Raiders is to either take the top Offensive tackle left, or if Suh, or another top defensive tackle such as the Sooners Gerald McCoy happen to fall into their lap, then yes, certainly take them.  But do not trade up.  Trading up means another huge rookie contract, one that the Raiders can ill afford to miss on. 

Another option is trading down.  This seems like a better option than the latter.  Davis, despite the critics saying he does not know how to draft, is actually a very good drafter outside the first round.  Zach Miller, Michael Bush, Kirk Morrison, Thomas Howard, Trevor Scott, Louis Murphy, Tyvvon Branch, Chaz Schilens, Oren O'neal, and Matt Shaughnessy, all started games for the Raiders last year, and all were found by Davis after the first round, some as late as the 7th round.  All these players command significantly less salary than Davis's first round picks, and contribute much more.  The Raiders currently have 8 picks, after trading a pick for the Browns Kamerion Wimbley, and may benefit from more, to fill holes and create depth on a roster that can ill afford injuries.  It may not be the most glamorous or exciting move, but it may help the team the most.  Then again, they could very well draft Taylor Mays, and if he gets picked at number 8, get ready for another long season Raider fans.