The most unpredictable team in the league on draft day is the Oakland Raiders.
With Al Davis calling the shots you just never know which way the Raiders will go. But there is a pattern to the Raiders draft days, some things they always do, and some things they usually don't.
Davis has always said "I would rather be right than consistent." Generally he is consistent, and sometimes he is right.
For those of you who are not students of previous Raider drafts, here are the features that have become Raider traditions over the years.
Whatever the state of the Raiders defensive backfield, whether it is one of the best or one of the worst, Al Davis always drafts a corner.
At worst, he drafts a safety, but always a defensive back of some description.
Even when other areas of the team are crying out for talent, there is always a cornerback selected. Between 2001 and 2005, Oakland took defensive backs in the first round four out of five years.
Davis has a fair success rate at this position, after all he drafted Nnamdi Asomugha and Charles Woodson to name but a few.
The Raiders use a different scouting system than other teams in the league, and they rate players on a different scale.
That shows in their draft picks, and one of them at least is rated by Oakland considerably higher than other teams and draft experts. There is always at least one player who totally confounds the draft gurus. Last year it was two.
This has been a feature of the Raiders drafts since the beginning of time.
Sometimes it works (Howie Long, 1981—Round 2), sometimes it doesn't (Bob Buczkowski, 1986—Round 1).
Every year it happens and it certainly did last year. The Raiders pass on a player that everyone thinks that they should take.
In 2009, the unthinkable happened, and offensive tackle Eugene Monroe from Virginia fell to Oakland in the first round. A first class player at a position they desperately needed.
They passed on him for wide reciever Darrius Heyward-Bey. Don't bet against it this year.
If the Raiders have had some busts in the first round, they certainly have had their success in the later rounds.
Trevor Scott, Chaz Schilens, and Rod Coleman to name but three.
Al Davis, even back in the early years scoured the small schools for talent.
He hasn't stopped, and still gets success the same way. He will do it again this year.
The Raiders have always coveted speed and have prided themselves as being the fastest team in the league and often draft players based not on football skills but pure athletic performance.
They did it with Heyward-Bey last year, and plenty of players in previous years.
Stanford Routt, John Bowie, Carlos Francis, and Sam Williams are good examples over the last few years. Where you find the fastest players at the combine, you will find the Raiders looking very closely at them.
That is why many mock drafts have Bruce Campbell, the combine's best performer, going to Oakland in round one.
Tom Cable stated quite clearly that the Raiders were still a speed team recently. It won't change this year.
Al Davis might trade up in the first round, he has before. He might trade down in later rounds, and he has done that before too.
But one thing Al Davis never does is trade down in the first round.
He never has, and he won't do it this year either.
I don't pretend to know with any certainty what the Raiders and Al Davis will do, and I have no doubt that I will have missed something somewhere.
While I think Tom Cable will be a good and steadying influence on the team on draft day, the Raiders will still be the Raiders while Al Davis is in charge.
Expect the unexpected!