The Raiders have really endless possibilities in the next few days when it comes to the draft. Every Raider Fan knows they are on the cusp on being good with the signs Gradkowski showed last year. They have a few needs, and could solve those in many different ways, but they basically need these next few issues and I will discuss ways to solve them.
The Raiders went 2-1 in games Gradkowski started and finished. This was not even with upgrades this offseason with guys like Khalif Barnes and DHB getting healthy. The Raiders need to move on from Russell, as he has had his chance in Oakland, and if Gradkowski failed, he would still be considered a project. But, this team showed they are ready to win. There are many roots to go with this, the easiest one going with Kyle Boller until Gradkowski's pecs get better, and then handing the reigns to him. We call Brucey a journeyman, but he is only in his fourth year in the league, so he hasn't exactly been to all 32 teams. I realisticly see 8-8 with him a at QB this season; however, he may not be the answer with the rather weak arm and fragile body. The second piece to the puzzle would be adding a Boller/Gradkowski type player to sit behind them for a year or two. I really like Jimmy Clausen, but only if we traded back into the first round, or if all of our targets are gone. Colt McCoy and Dan LeFevour are small, average arm, accurate, mobile guys who would fit right in. I think we need to address other areas of need in free agency and etc because a good QB needs to be drafted early.
SOLUTION: Start Gradkowski in 2010, Cut Russell in the Preseason free of charge, draft Colt McCoy in Round 2.
Pick #8 is the pick to address this issue if possible. Trent Williams, Bryan Bulaga, Anthony Davis, and Bruce Campbell are first round talent that have scenarios to fall to Oakland at #8, assuming Russell Okung is a lock at #4 for Washington. So, process of elimination. Bryan Bulaga has two things that make him less of a Raider prospect then Bruce Campbell. Bulaga cannot play LT and has short arms. Neither of those fit Oakland's scheme. If we were drafting a RT, we would look at Tom Cable's boy in Mike Iupati, but we need a LT. Anthony Davis has great upside, but is raw as a steak and has work ethic questions. If we wanted a questionable attitude at LT, we'd start JaMarcus. Next, Bruce Campbell is really, really fast, but really, really risky. Tom Cable hates Bruce Campbell as a prospect. If I had to narrow it down, it would be between Trent Williams, who really has no severe cons, and Bruce Campbell. I think the pick will be Williams if there. He ran great combine numbers, and has WAY more tape then Campbell as a 1st Rounder.
SOLUTION: Draft Trent Williams at #8, Move M. Henderson to LT, Draft a Guard Later OR Trade Up to Washington to go get Russell Okung at #4.
Defensive Front 7
The run defense has been in the late 20s since Warren Sapp went to talk trash on NFL Network. We need pluggers in both middle spots, on the line and at linebacker. Since OT is at Pick 8 on Thursday, DT could be the spot at #39. But, I have McCoy at #39 for a reason. Tony Fitzsimmons, a source close to Tom Cable whom is a friend of mine, has told me a deal is on the table to acquire Albert Haynesworth from the Redskins, with the base of the trade as a 3rd Round Pick and Thomas Howard. The big thing that put this deal in place is the fact Haynesworth's money has almost been paid to him. He wants out, and everyone knows it. With the Skins needing a linebacker, Oakland will gladly give Thomas Howard to them. The reason? Kirk Morrison would like to play OLB like he did in college. So, Haynesworth could be coming, which leaves #39 without a GIANT need in place. In the 4th Round, one of my most admired columnists Ramone Brown suggested 3 or 4 NFL-Ready Middle Line Backers available in Round 3. My guess would be Jamar Chaney of Mississippi State because of his athletiscism, and Chaney is a great tackler. This draft is deep, and we need to take advantage of it.
SOLUTION: Trade the 3rd Rounder, Howard and maybe Russell to Washington for Haynesworth and draft a MLB in Round 4.
Bruce Gradkowski showed a 7-9 team, and I don't really see how Trent Williams, Haynesworth, and Colt McCoy don't make us a better team. 9-7 or 10-6 and the AFC West title are up for grabs, and the Raiduhs gotta take advantage of it.