Oakland Raiders Lose McNabb Sweepstakes: Is Jason Campbell on the Radar?

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Oakland Raiders Lose McNabb Sweepstakes: Is Jason Campbell on the Radar?
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Let's hope not!

Although Jason Campbell is better than any quarterback currently on Oakland's depth chart, he is not the right guy for the Raiders. He just doesn't seem to possess the passion this team so desperately needs.

Campbell was not very highly touted coming out of Auburn University, 25th overall in the 2005 Draft. He was even called a "reach." He became the Redskins starter after the ninth game of the his rookie season.

He actually played fairly well completing 53.1% of his passes for 1,297 yards, 10 touchdowns and only six interceptions in just seven games. Not terrible numbers when you compare them to those of JaMarcus Russell's first seven starts.

In his second year, Campbell suffered from the "sophomore slump" we hear so much about. He led his team to only six wins, and earned a passer rating of just 77.6. Still better than Russell, but not good enough to garner a trade to Oakland in my opinion.

Statistically speaking, 2008 and 2009 were by far Jason's best seasons. He threw for a total of 6,863 yards, a 63.3% completion percentage, 33 touchdowns, 21 interceptions for a combined passer rating of 85.35, but could only muster a 12-20 record. Compared to JaMarcus Russell, those are Pro-Bowl numbers!

All that said, is Jason Campbell the best option for the Raiders? I say no.

He doesn't have a very fiery personality, he isn't a vocal leader, and he doesn't throw the deep ball particularly well. All of these characteristics are the mold the Raiders typically look for in a quarterback.

There are better options for Oakland still available.

Troy Smith is a restricted free agent just like McNabb was, but instead of having to give up a second round pick, the Raiders would only be required to give the Baltimore Ravens a fifth round pick. That would be a steal for Smith's services!

Smith's salary is less than half of Campbell's, and is more than $15 million less than McNabb's. That makes good financial sense for Al Davis and the Raiders.

In his limited tenure in the league, Smith has won over his teammates with his leadership and work ethic. So much so, that he actually earned the starting job over rookie phenom Joe Flacco, until a bacterial stomach illness sidelined him in the 2008 off-season.

Smith, a former Heisman Trophy winner, would be a fantastic fit for the Oakland Raiders. He is mobile enough to stay alive until the Raider's address their porous offensive line. He throws the deep ball very well, and is accurate with the short and intermediate passes.

Troy's leadership would also be a welcome addition to the quarterback depth chart in Oakland. Remember, the Raider's new offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson, was Smith's position coach in Baltimore. This familiarity would prove invaluable to his continued development, and in the acclimation of the other quarterbacks to Jackson's system and terminology.

Even though Bruce Gradkowski has the heart and fire of a warrior, he is not the future of the Raiders. JaMarcus Russell has shown nothing to suggest that he will ever be as good as his physical tools could allow him to be.

Bringing in Troy Smith makes sense on a myriad of levels:  Financial, leadership, playing style, physical ability, work ethic and his familiarity with new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson. All of these things make Smith a logical choice to lead the Raiders into the future.

Okay, time to speculate.

Assuming the Raiders give their fifth round pick to Baltimore to get Smith, what should they do after that to improve the team?

My thought is it would be best for this team to strengthen the run defense first, followed by the offensive line.

I know you think I'm crazy and are saying "we need an offensive tackle!" You're right, but this draft is very deep with defense, and 2010 is an excellent opportunity to fix that side of the ball once and for all.

Taking Rolando McClain with the eighth overall pick would solidify the middle linebacker position for a decade. This kid is the real deal. Adding him to newly acquired Kamerion Wimbley and incumbent backers Thomas Howard, Kirk Morrison (assuming he stays) and Ricky Brown makes the linebacker corp very solid.

With the 39th pick, Oakland could pick up a good potential starter at the much needed defensive tackle position. Jared Odrick or Geno Atkins would be great picks in the early second round. Both of these young men are hard workers and talented athletes.

Following that, adding offensive line depth with the third and fourth round picks would make perfect sense. The Raiders are weak at all positions on the offensive line, and need to improve these positions sooner, rather than later.

That said, adding a guy like Flozell Adams would make sense. He is an experienced and dominant player. I know he's older and may be fragile, but at worst, he is a veteran to help develop Mario Henderson and any rookie the team would draft.

Adams could provide a security blanket for Khalif Barnes and Langston Walker, should they get injured or play poorly again.

At best, Adams is a five-time Pro-Bowler that can anchor this line for a season or two. This would buy time to focus on fixing the defense and developing Henderson and the rookies. Then the team could look to the 2011 draft for the "tackle of the future" without costing Oakland a draft pick this season.

Flozell will be a little expensive, but there is no salary cap in 2010 and Al Davis could load his contract with incentives to keep the cost down. Having a guy like Flozell Adams would be invaluable to rookies that get drafted in the third and fourth rounds this year.

Overall, this scenario makes a lot of sense to me because it addresses all of the team needs, fixes the defense for now and the future, and it gives Oakland some time to not only improve in the long run, but makes them a lot better right away.

So I ask you...

What scenario would be the best for Oakland?

The one I laid out in this article?

Staying with the team we have and building through the draft?

Is there another option I haven't considered?

 

Let's hear it Raider Nation!

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