Sorry all you Raider haters out there, there's nothing to laugh about this year. The Oakland Raiders have had the hands-down best draft in the National Football League in 2010.
The only things that I would have done differently would have been to add a blocking fullback and another center, but neither were pressing needs.
Nevertheless, I'd like to see the Raiders sign free-agent center Kevin Mawae. His veteran presence would be conducive for this young group of linemen.
Of course, the NFL Draft should always be taken with a grain of salt, because there is no telling what the prospects will do at the next level. But at least on paper, the Raiderss have smoked the competition and expectations with quite a haul.
The race for best was between the Raiders, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Giants, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles. Not coincidentally, three of those teams are in the same division.
Nevertheless, no other team had more on its list of things to do than Oakland, and in three short days, the Raiders have addressed each area of need.
Thus, the Raiders clearly had the best Draft Days.
Going into the Draft, every expert said that the Raiders needed help on the offensive line, defensive line, quarterback, linebacker, and secondary depth. Some even added that the Raiders needed another wide-out for good measure.
Most commented that the Raiders are a rising team, but just needed solid football players, not projects.
But that type of sensibility was hard to expect from Al Davis.
You probably have not heard much about the Raiders, because it seemed that most panelists were at a loss for words to see such an incredible haul for the Oakland Raiders in 2010, after previous years where you could say the same thing about Al Davis and it would probably be right.
The Raiders did not reach for a single player, in fact, the Raiders took great value. The Raiders would also trade down twice in the 2nd round and still select the desired player. The Raiders would use the additional pick in a package that acquired an additional fourth round pick.
With as many wheeling's and dealings by the Raiders, the Raiders never over-paid and never reached. In fact, the Raiders may have swindled a few teams and took a few steals.
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 by taking Rolando McClain.
That 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."
So, read 'em and weep.
The Raiders accomplished all of the things that the Raiders needed to accomplish.
The biggest story for the Oakland Raiders is the acquisition of quarterback Jason Campbell from the Washington Redskins.
When I heard this, I immediately thought that the Raiders traded a high pick in 2011 or 2012.
Not so fast. The Raiders traded a mere fourth round pick in 2012 for a seasoned quarterback that can come in and start for the Raiders.
Washington traded a second round pick in 2010 and another pick in 2011 for a veteran quarterback, whereas the Raiders traded one third day pick in two years for a quarterback that could start for the next ten years.
Campbell is a great fit for the Oakland system. For one, Campbell has improved statistically in each season with the Redskins.
The numbers might not be eye-popping, but when you consider the turnover in Washington and then consider that Campbell has improved, then I say that makes Campbell the anti-Russell.
The acquisition of Campbell of course all but ends the tenure of JaMarcus Russell in Oakland.
To me, there is also a sub-story here about the long-running rivalry between Al Davis and now Washington coach Mike Shanahan. We'll have to wait and see which team took the better end of these deals.
Looks like Raider Nation has received some "karmic justice" for the Randy Moss trade in 2007.
Offensive Line and Wide Receiver
Many mocked the Raiders before the Draft, because it seemed that the Raiders would reach at the eighth overall spot and take offensive-tackle Bruce Campbell from Maryland.
Turns out that the Raiders added an offensive lineman, Jared Veldheer of Hillsdale in the third round. Miraculously enough, the Raiders used a fourth round pick to take none other than Bruce Campbell.
In a Draft considered deep with offensive linemen, I had hoped that the Raiders would target lesser-known linemen in later rounds, which the Raiders did with Veldheer.
I never expected that the Raiders would also select the one that everyone thought would go at eighth overall.
Personally, I think Veldheer would be a better fit at right guard, which would mean that the Raiders just added two potential starters from the Draft.
As for wide receiver, the Raiders traded linebacker Kirk Morrison and a fifth round pick to Jacksonville for a fourth round pick, which the Raiders used to select wideout Jacoby Ford from Clemson.
Ford has great speed, NFL build, good hands and is tough, but he will need to learn routes and is a tad short. Nevertheless, the National Football League has seen more and more wideouts at 5'9 or so develop into solid slot receivers.
Ford ran one of the fastest times in the 40 - ever. The fourth round is the perfect place for a raw talent like Ford, rather than seventh overall (ahem ).
Between Darrius Heyward-Bey. Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy, Johnnie Lee Higgins and Jacoby Ford, the Raiders quite possibly have the fastest receiver corp in the National Football League, which should cause fits for opposing defenses.
I should add that in 2009, Raider receivers were often wide-open because of their speed, but the problem was inconsistency at quarterback.
Linebacker, defensive-tackle, and nickelback
Before the Draft, the Raiders had used a third round pick to acquire linebacker Kamerion Wimbley from the Cleveland Browns and a fifth round pick to acquire defensive end Quentin Groves from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The two picks had been acquired by the Raiders in the trade that sent Derrick Burgess to the New England Patriots.
In the Draft, the Raiders immediately addressed the defense with the top pick by selecting Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain.
In what can only be described as a humdinger, the Raiders went out and took one of the best football players available in the draft.
No one expected that from Al Davis. Yes, Rolando McClain was one of the best football players available in the draft. When was the last time that Al Davis did something in line with media suggestions?
As opposed to many of the other players available that are riddled with issues of experience or desire, McClain has plenty of experience and plenty of desire. A great football player is not necessarily the most talented, but makes up for lack of talent with football smarts, toughness, and leadership.
Hailing from the Alabama Crimson Tide, McClain has great size for a middle linebacker and experience with a NFL style program under former Dolphins coach Nick Saban. Moreover, McClain was the signal caller for a stout defense that helped lead the Crimson Title to victory in the BCS Title game.
In the second round, the Raiders added the very versatile defensive tackle Lamarr Houston from Texas. Houston helped free-up such pass rush beasts as Brian Orakpo and Sergio Kindle.
According to reports, Coach Cable has stated that Houston will play defensive-end, which suggests yet again that the Raiders could convert to the 34 base defense or at least incorporate 34 schemes.
Houston is another tough football player with a relentless motor, which is exactly what the Raiders needed.
In the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds, the Raiders added cornerback Walter McFadden of Auburn, linebacker Travis Goethel of Arizona State, cornerback Jeremy Ware of Michigan State, and safety Stevie Brown of Michigan.
The speedy McFadden was primarily a cover corner at Auburn, which is intriguing because Al Davis prefers corners that can play man-coverage.
McFadden will clearly step into the nickelback spot for the Raiders, where Stanford Routt had struggled. Part of the reason that McFadden has gone overlooked is that the starters at Auburn were significantly better, yet McFadden excelled in his role, nonetheless.
The additions of Ware and Brown seem mostly for good measure and competition, but also leverage in negotiations with free-agent Stanford Routt. Ware was the only pick I truly disliked, because defensive-linemen such as CJ Wilson and Jeff Owens were still available.
I read up on Goethel. The most interesting thing about him is that the Baltimore Ravens took interest in Goethel ... and the Ravens know linebackers. Goethel is a solid tackler in the middle, and could be another indication that the Raiders plan to convert to the 34 base defense.
Not saying that Goethel will be a starter, but it seems that he should be a reliable backup and depth is very important in the National Football League. Moreover, Goethel could contribute to special-teams coverage, which was an area of need for the Raiders.
Goethel relies on football IQ more than anything else. In some ways, a linebacker with football IQ is a good pick for the Raiders in the sixth round, because the Raiders have lacked players that can buckle down and study tape, which should be a good influence for this team.
Obviously, the later rounds should always be taken with a grain of salt, but both McFadden and Goethel should add good depth and seem to be sensible picks as opposed to the fliers that the Raiders have taken in previous Drafts (ie, Ryan Riddle, Slade Norris, Styker Sulak).
1st: Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
2nd: Lamarr Houston, DT, Texas
3rd: Jered Veldheer, OL, Hillsdale
4th: Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
4th: Jacoby Ford, WR, Clemson
5th: Walter McFadden, NB, Auburn
6th: Travis Goethel, LB, Arizona State
7th: Jeremy Ware, CB, Michigan State
7th: Stevie Brown, S, Michigan
Jason Campbell, QB
Kamerion Wimbley, LB
Quentin Groves, DE
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