Al Davis definitely loves his players to have a certain look, often called a "get off the bus" look about them. Height/weight/speed ratio freaks are often tied to Al Davis, but year after year it seems like the Vernon Gholston/Mike Mamula type workout freak who comes out of nowhere and becomes a top 10 pick because of hype and Al Davis stays away when given the chance.
This year it's Bruce Campbell because the guy has every measurable Al Davis typically looks for. Some years Al reaches and takes someone higher than they need to be drafted, but he typically avoids the workout warriors.
To get a better understand of previous workout warriors who should've been drafted by Al Davis based on the type of athlete they are, please check out the following slides.
In 2008, if it wasn't for Darren McFadden, ESPN and other media outlets would've been all over the Raiders drafting Vernon Gholston. In fact many analysts still thought Al Davis would take the freak of Gholston over McFadden.
Gholston has become a major bust for the Jets and his workout warrior status was the prime reason he was a top 10 pick.
In 2007 there wasn't a true workout warrior, but Calvin Johnson's eye-popping speed, size, and hands were guaranteed for Al Davis to draft him according to most analysts. His measurables were off the charts.
Instead Al Davis chose for need and took the QB with the most potential in the 2007 NFL draft Here's a chance where Al should have chosen Johnson because unlike true workout warriors, Johnson's numbers and ability were real.
In 2006 Oakland didn't have the opportunity to draft Reggie Bush and in 2005 they traded for Randy Moss and gave Minnesota their No. 7 pick which ended up in Troy Williamson.
In the 2004 NFL Draft Oakland again chose need over a freak. Left tackle Robert Gallery was expected to be a bookend left tackle for the next 10 years so Al chose need over a freak, not a workout warrior freak, but a freak of nature with the ability to get up and grab the ball away from defenders.
Larry Fitzgerald was easily considered the best wide receiver in the draft and the best since Randy Moss came out. Although his speed isn't world class his hands and jumping ability are off the charts thus giving him an innate ability to make crazy receptions.
Al Davis has fallen in love with workout warriors and the most recent stud in shorts guy was Rickey Dudley whom Oakland traded up with to draft him in 1996,
Dudley had the perfect build and looked like a perfect NFL tight end. Unfortunately this didn't include a pair of hands. The tight must catch nearly everything thrown his way and Dudley dropped the ball far more often than not. He was a major bust for Oakland. Oakland had the opportunity to bring a stud tackle in Willie Anderson but chose the workout warrior in Dudley.
Ah looking good in shorts can only get you so far.
This year's workout warrior is Bruce Campbell and he's coming out of left field. His body is nearly fat free, he's looks the part, and he's very strong. Unfortunately he doesn't have the skills.
It appears the players Al drafts have Tom Cable's stamp of approval because every player drafted over the two years has a rock solid work ethic something some Oakland players have been lacking for the drafts prior to 2008.
We've seen Vernon Gholston get his name connected to Oakland primarily because of his workout skills. There have been two instances where Oakland chose need over best available player based on Al's measurables and it backfired completely when Al chose Gallery over Fitzgerald and Russell over Johnson.
Al has taken workout warriors in the past with Rickey Dudley, but for the most part he drafts his speedy receivers and cornberbacks and they have nothing to do with the combine other than their 40 yard dash. They have his perfect measurables and he drafts his players based on his preferences.
I love every year when the next best guy in shorts comes along and Al stays away. For the most part throughout Oakland's history they've drafted out of reach of the workout warriors who were drafted, but when they are in the top 10 it's funny to hear Oakland tied with the next best guy in shorts because more of then not they stay away.