With an NFL Draft like this, this is the closest a Christian like me might come to understanding the joys from eight days of gifts that Jewish people receive for Chanukah.
I think Roger Goodell may have just created the sports version of Chanukah.
First of all, I'd to expand on my thoughts about the selection of linebacker Rolando McClain from the University of Alabama.
I was stunned by the pick of McClain.
Early on, I thought McClain was possible, but never had the Raiders taking McClain in my Mocks, because Al Davis has rarely drafted LBs in the first-round. The Raiders definitely needed a linebacker, but I figured that it would be addressed in the third-round or later.
I did however have the Raiders taking DE Derrick Morgan from Georgia Tech in one Mock, in order to upgrade the run defense. In that regard, I was close, because I correctly identified the run defense as a priority and that the Raiders would pass on the available linemen at eighth overall.
The most shocking moment however - and I would add classic moment - was to see the look in the eyes of Tom Jackson as he had to concede that the Raiders had made a smart pick.
The odd hush or moment of silence by the ESPN panelists was in fact to pay respects to the now dead program that Al Davis is crazy.
The funny thing is that the Raiders are still in position to get an OT or QB in the second- round - which most people expected to be the the top pick. Ironically, the two players that had been projected in most mocks were Jimmy Clausen and Bruce Campbell, both of whom are still available.
I made the comparison between McClain and Patrick Willis, both of whom are fom the SEC. Others have compared McClain to Ray Lewis and Junior Seau.
When the top linemen (o and d) were gone, the Raiders turned to the best "football player" in the draft. Not necessarily the most talented, but makes up for that with smarts, leadership, and toughness.
This draft has been considered deep, but the spots between eight and 12 were a gray area, which could explain the Jacksonville pick. The reason why is that the draft may be deep but many of the players are riddled with issues of experience, true position, durability and/or desire.
McClain has none of those issues. Really, the only issue was: Would you take an inside linebacker in the top 10? A smart football player with desire and leadership is exactly what the Raiders have needed.
The Raiders have always been talented, even since 2003. Darrius Heyward-Bey is talented, but was not a ready football player for the NFL. The problem has been that players would dog it once things went south.
I expect that McClain can change that culture of talented yet apathetic players.
As critical as I have been of Commissioner Goodell, I was wrong about changing the Draft. This is great. I love it. Normally, I don't have the chance to watch the Draft on Saturday mornings due to work or school, but in prime time it was perfect, and left us wanting more.
It's like Christmas: Day 2.
Going into round two, there seems to be even more anticipation and excitement in Raider Nation, because Al Davis did not make a mockery of Raider fans by adhering to many of the Mock Drafts.
Today, the Raiders have a chance at a home-run by getting a quarterback or offensive-tackle.
Nevertheless, quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy could cause enough disruption in the first part of round two that the Raiders could sit back and take their non-QB pick of choice.
Offensive tackles such as Bruce Campbell, Charles Brown, and Rodger Saffold are still available. Brown has fallen reportedly due to medical concerns about his back, which could mean that Brown could fall to the third or even fourth-round.
The Raiders could wait and take a chance on Brown, or go for a better bet at OT.
There is some possibility that the Raiders could turn attention to defensive players such as defensive-tackles Terrence Cody, Linval Joseph, Cam Thomas, Brian Price, and others.
I however think that Corey Peters of Kentucky could be a steal in the Draft, and so, I wouldn't bother with a DT in the second.
On the flip side, the Raiders could revert to taking talent by selecting corner-back Brandon Ghee of Wake Forest or safety Taylor Mays of USC, yet a corner-back like Akwasi Owusu-Ansah should be around in the third and would be a better fit for the Raiders style of defense.
Someone pointed-out Owusu-Ansah to me, but I forget who.
The Raiders could also take interest in a receiver such as Golden Tate of Notre Dame.
My final verdict is that the Raiders should take OT Bruce Campbell in the second, if available, and CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah in the third, if available.
I should also had that I hope that the Raiders can acquire additional picks in the second and/or third round to address the positions of guard or center.
With that said, I don't expect the Raiders to get second or third-round picks for Kirk Morrison or Thomas Howard. However, I think that the Raiders can get multiple picks on the third day for either one.
That means that if the Raiders want additional secon or third-round picks, they'll need to trade future second and third-round picks.
I also would not mind seeing the Raiders acquire an additional pick in the second if they can get Golden Tate, but Tate would clutter a crowded group of receivers. Nevertheless, I think he's another "football player" that can come in and contribute as a rookie.
Guard Mitch Petrus of Arkansas or center Ted Larsen of NC State would be solid picks in the third, but the Raiders would need an additional selection.
As I mentioned, I think DT Corey Peters from Kentucky could be a steal in the fourth-round, but the Raiders may need to leap-frog a few teams in order to select him.
I'm still high on guard Brandon Carter from Texas Tech in the 5th round.
After that, the Raiders have only two other picks. At that point, I'd like to see the Raiders address the running-game, either with a fullback or additional halfback.
I know that the Raiders have Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, both of whom I expect to change the course of their career with an improved line, but I'd like to see another halfback for depth.
The Raiders could also add a developmental quarterback in the late rounds to compete with JaMarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski. Charlie Frye has been banged-up, so I'd like to see someone new. Speaking as a student of Eastern Washington University, quarterback Matt Nichols of the EWU Eagles would be a good pick for the Raiders on Day three, if available.
My final verdict is that the Raiders should take Peters, Carter and bolster the depth of the offensive backfield after that, assuming of course that the aforementioned players are still available.
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