Wait. What? That can't be right, can it? The Raiders don't make two good picks in a row, do they? Apparently, they do!
Whoever is responsible for this draft-day turn around is officially on Raider Nation's Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice gift list (did I forget anyone?).
Lamarr Houston was not the best defensive tackle in the draft, but he is quite possibly the most versatile. He should be a nice addition to help improve Oakland's ailing defense.
Houston started his football career at running back, then grew—a lot!
He came to the University of Texas as a fullback, then bulked up even more and was moved to defensive line. Not to defensive tackle or defensive end, but to the line in general. He did it all.
Essentially, he is a 6'2", 300 pound, low-to-the-ground man-child with the athleticism of an offensive "skill player." He can play defensive end, defensive tackle, and even some goal-line fullback.
Versatility is a good thing, but what does it really mean to the team? Options!
The Raiders now have a defensive end that can play tackle in Richard Seymour, two defensive ends that can play linebacker in Trevor Scott and Quenton Groves, a safety that can play cornerback in Michael Huff, and now a defensive tackle that can play defensive end and even fullback.
The fact is, the Raiders have always had versatility in the linebacker corps and secondary, but never has Oakland had versatility like this on the defensive line.
Now they do!
Think about the possibilities. Oakland could, in theory, line up in a 4-3, then switch to a 3-4 (or vice-versa) after the opposing offense makes its adjustments. Seymour at tackle with Houston flanked by Scott and Wimbley in front of McClain, Howard, and Morrison for a 4-3 passing situation.
Houston and Kelly inside, Shaughnessy and Wimbley at the ends, in front of McClain, Scott, and Howard in a 4-3 running situation. Kelly at tackle with Shaughnessy and Houston at ends, in front of Groves, McClain, Morrison, and Howard in a 3-4 passing situation.
How about this: Scott and Wimbley on the ends with Seymour and Houston at the tackles for a nickel or dime pass-rushing front four. Or...well, you get the idea.
The possibilities are endless and enough to twist your mind into a confused mass of frustration! The opposing offensive coordinators will have their work cut out for them.
Coach Tom Cable made it clear in a post-day-two press conference that the Raiders will remain a base 4-3 team. He went on to say that he would be moving players around in training camp in an attempt to find the most effective combinations.
I'm sure that defensive coordinator John Marshall and coach Cable are going to look for, and find, every possible combination with this personnel. This is great news for Raiders fans and bad news for teams that have to play them.
How do you gameplan for a team that can do it all? The answer is—you don't. That's the point!
Al Davis and the Raiders have done a great job thus far in the 2010 draft and it appears the draft day woes of Raider Nation are a thing of the past—at least for now.
If this trend continues into day three, Raider Nation will have reason to celebrate.
Please note: This article was written and released before the Kirk Morrison trade.
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