Heading into the NFL Draft the Raiders biggest needs were protecting their QBs and stopping the run. The Oakland Raiders had high hopes of either Suh or G. McCoy slipping to us but they went 2 and 3 respectively. Al Davis and Tom Cable also would have jumped on either OTs Trent Williams or Russell Okung. Like the top two DTs, the top two offensive linemen also were picked before the Raiders were on the clock.
Ofcourse, the Raiders still needed to adress the O-line but the prospects that were available wouldn't have been a better pick than drafting the best LB coming out of college, Rolando McClain. A lot of mocks had the Raiders reaching for combine standout Bruce Campbell. I would have lost my mind if we picked the speedy LT from Maryland. Passing on him was a great move considering he is still on the board and might be available to us at #39.
Brian Bulaga and Mike Iupati were the other two O-linemen we could have drafted instead of McClain but I don't think they are as good as most seem to think. First of all, both played in conferences where they didn't face upper echelon competition. Sure, they were dominant during the regular season but both were kind of exposed when they faced better athletes at the Senior Bowl.
Bulaga was consistently beat by speed rushers coming off the edge. Guys were getting around him with ease. As for Iupati, I was never big on drafting him. He was abused by Dan Williams at the Senior Bowl. Williams easily stood him straight up and pushed him back into the pocket. Iupati also had a lot of trouble against the smaller quicker DTs. I think it was Jared Odrick who easily split the gap between Iupati and the center. Iupati also was beat one on one for a sack in the Senior Bowl.
My point is that the Oakland Raiders needed a player that could come in, start, and contribute from day one. McClain is a big improvement over Kirk Morrison. Rolando has the ideal size at 6'4" 255 lbs for a MLB. He is going to go a long way towards getting our defense back to the days when opposing teams feared the Silver & Black.
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