Oakland Raiders: Team to Watch Out For in 2010
The Oakland Raiders, who finished 5-11 in 2009, have the potential to be a very dangerous team next year with serious playoff contention.
They have major holes that need to be addressed but all those holes can be filled through the draft, free agency and moving players from one position to another.
The defensive line has deficiencies. No one can deny that, but there are several positives.
Number one is Richard Seymour who can line up anywhere on the defensive line. Matt Shaunghessey, Jay Richardson and Desmond Bryant all showed flashes of brilliance. Then there's the acquisition of Kamerion Wimbley who can play defensive end and linebacker.
I'm going to get laughed at for saying this but Tommy Kelly can be a good DT. The problem is he's getting doubled all the time. That is where the draft comes in.
In the second round Al Davis needs to draft a dominant DT. Terence Cody and Cam Thomas are both monstrous NT who should get rid of the double team. Other options are Geno Atkins the DT who abused Mike Upati in the Senior Bowl. Jared Odrick from Penn State is also an option. Lastly, Brian Price from UCLA is an option to fill up the DT position.
Kirk Morrison is very good, just out of place and should be moved outside. Wimbley is a good rushing LB who can also line up at DE. Slade Norris has all the intangibles to be a good LB and Ricky Brown has shown that he is ready to challenge Morrison.
The Raiders pass defense was ranked seventh the league last year partly because of Nnamdi Asomugha's play and partly because we couldn't stop the run. They settled the NT position earlier but the LB crew still needs to be addressed. The answer is Pat Angerer, a MLB that stuffs the run.
Another option is Brandon Spikes who has some attitude problems but Davis won't care about that because he is extremely talented at stopping the run, which he demonstrated on multiple occasions at Florida.
The Pass Defense
Two words: Nnamdi Asomugha. Tyvon Branch showed he can play safety in the NFL last year. Michael Huff showed flashes of brilliance last year and looks like he might be finally playing up to his potential.
Hiram Eugene played well last year. Jerome Boyd's talent remains to be seen as does Mike Mitchell's. The person opposite of Nnamdi is a problem that needs to be addressed.
I Believe Myron Rolle fits the bill. In the time he played at FSU, he was great. He was fantastic in coverage. The guy is smart. He can easily make the transition to CB. Chris Johnson and Stanford Routt are both decent corners when they aren't getting thrown at each and every passing play.
Zach Miller is a receiving TE. Chazz Schiliens and Louis Murphy both have very good hands and were the best receivers the Raiders had behind Miller. I still believe in Darius Heyward-Bey.
He can serve as a very good slot receiver and if the QB can have more time to throw the deep ball he becomes a credible threat because no one can match his speed. Brandon Myers showed a lot of promise as the other TE.
The Offensive Line
This is most pressing issue. The Raiders should look into bringing in Flozel Adams. Although he is up there in age, he would offer a lot of experience to the offensive line. The Raiders need to draft a lineman in the first round.
If Russell Okung is available at pick No. 8, the Raiders should draft him. If he's not, then Davis should trade down and pick up another second or third round pick. Bruce Campbell, who is freakishly fast and strong is a strong possibility with this pick and he would be able to learn from Flozel Adams.
Roberty Gallery is a great guard who had injury problems last year. Mario Henderson is a very good RT and should stay at RT. Chris Morrison showed some skill at the guard position, but Samson Satele, Cooper Carlise and Erik Pears have never really shown any flashes of brilliance.
The Raiders should pick up more offensive lineman with those additional picks Davis would get from trading down. They should also pick up Vladamir Ducasse who was a good OT tackle at the University of Massachusets. He is more suited for the guard position in the NFL given the length of his arms.
Other options are John Jerry, the massive guard from Ole Miss, and Mitch Pertus, who had 45 reps in the bench press at the combine. Marshall Newhouse has all the intangibles to be a good guard in the NFL. Mathew Tennant was a very good center at Boston College and should fall to the third or fourth round.
With the line fixed, Darren McFadden can finally live up to his potential as the homerun threat he is. Michael Bush is the other head to the two-headed monster tha makes up the Raiders backfield.
Oren O'neal and Marcel Reece were both decent FBs last year but a more permanent option is available in John Connor who could be a dominant lead blocker for Darren McFadden and Michael Bush.
I still believe in JaMarcus Russell. He just hasn't had any time to throw the ball and go through his progressions. That being said, I have heard nothing positive about his work ethic or leadership abilities.
Journeyman Bruce Gradkowski reminds me of Rich Gannon. Gradkowski had a lot of success before he was injured last year. Charlie Frye also was better than Russell but isn't the answer.
Tim Tebow has a great work ethic and will do whatever it takes to succeed. Colt McCoy is another great QB with leadership skills and work ethic.
Dan LeFevour is a great option because he can get out of the pocket and throw as well as stand strong in the pocket.