The Raiders have been laughed at for the way their last 3 first round picks have worked out. Even though almost everybody said that JaMarcus Russell was the best pick for the Raiders to make before the 2007 draft, they were deemed a team that doesn’t know how the scout, even though all the famous experts said Russell (and McFadden) were the right choice prior to their drafts. So the pressure was on to get it right in 2010. How did the Raiders do round-by-round?
1st Round: Excellent! Rolando McClain has already become the starting MLB (Kirk Morrison was traded to the Jaguars for a 4th and 5th rounder) and he is expected, not guarnteed, but expected to instantly help in the run defense which was a top priority going into this off-season. At 6′3″ and 255 pounds, he is a monster in the middle. He was part of the Alabama resurgence. When he joined the Crimson Tide, they ranked 46th in run defense and he leaves them ranked 2nd. Coming to Oakland must be like deja vu to him.
2nd Round: Pretty Good. The Raiders traded back twice and then drafted Texas defensive tackle/end Lamarr Houston. He is 6′2″ and about 300 pounds of run stuffer/pass rusher. He was once a running back, so he knows to move between bodies, a skill needed to rush the QB. He is good at angling to close run lanes. He recorded 136 tackles (80 solos) with 14.0 sacks for minus 125 yards, 25.0 stops for losses totaling 170 yards and 27 pressures, forced and recovered a pair of fumbles , deflected 11 passes, made six tackles (3 solos) on special team action and has a kickoff return for 27 yards. If Gary Russell could return kicks, why can’t Lamarr Houston? But Houston will be more important to the defense where he could start instantly with Tommy Kelly and Rolando McClain in the interior defense.
3rd Round: Good: They finally adressed a need at offensive tackle. They took Jared Veldheer (6′9″ 321) from Hillsdale. He has played 46 games, all at left tackle. Veldheer produced 216 pancakes (knockdowns), 30 touchdown-leading blocks,16 downfield blocks and an 85.5% grade for blocking consistency. In each of his four seasons, he blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher. With the Raiders he will have Michael Bush and/or Darren McFadden to guide down the field.
4th Round: Possible Steal. The Raiders got the man that many thought could have been taken by them at #8 overall, Bruce Campbell who will play at right tackle and right guard according to Tom Cable. Campbell had an explosive combine to shoot him up many draft boards, but his lack of experience (1 season at Maryland) kept him undrafted until the Raiders took the fastest O-lineman from the combine (4.86). He may be a developmental project. Cooper Carlisle is aging at right guard and Khalif Barnes is no sure thing at right tackle. He might have to start ahead of scheudle.
4th round: DHB #2? The Raiders stay in round 4 in the Kirk Morrison trade and draft the fastest man from the combine (4.26) Jacoby Ford from Clemson. He is undersized at 5′8″ and 185 pounds but he is not likely to start at WR. He is a very good return man for punts and kicks, sharing time with C.J. Spiller at Clemson. He made 143 catches for 1,986 yards (13.89 ypc) and 16 touchdowns ,carried 58 times for 494 yards (8.52 ypc) and two scores, had 49 punt returns for 479 yards (9.78 avg) and two touchdowns, gained 1,124 yards with a score on 47 kickoff returns (23.91 avg). His hands are questionable but his speed makes him a dangerous slot receiver and returner.
5th Round: Look out Stanford Routt. The Raiders took Walter McFadden, a CB from Auburn. Another 40 freak, he ran a 4.4 and 4.43. He is 6′0″ and 170 pounds. He played in 49 games at Auburn, starting his final 25 games at left cornerback. He made 87 tackles (60 solos) with 7 stops for losses of 26 yards. He broke up 20 passes and picked 9 more for 265 yards in returns, including 3 TDs. He might be able to start at nickle back depending on how training camp goes for the inconsistent Stanford Routt. But look for McFadden more on special teams.
Jason Campbell trade: The Raiders acquire Jason Campbell for a future mid-round pick. Campbell is not cemented as the starter, but he must be on the inside track. Gradkowski is out until training camp and Russell has been unimpressive to say the least. Campbell has back-to-back seasons of QB ratings of 84.3 and 86.4. Last year he had his best season throwing 20 TDs to 15 INTs with a completion percentage 64.5 going for 3,618 yards. He is durable, has not missed a game since 2007.
6th Round: The Raiders take Travis Goethel from Arizona. He has the versatilty to play all 3 LB spots and on special teams where he will likely see his rookie season. He played in all 50 games over his4 year career, with 41 starts. He totaled 228 tackles (143 solo), 19 tackles for loss (minus 45 yards), 2 sacks (minus 13 yards), 9 pass break-ups, 3 INTs, 3 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery in his career. He is more known for being a run-stuffer which the Raiders need with Trevor Scott and Kameron Wimbley listed as the starters. They both excell in pass rush.
7th Round: The Raiders took an all-mention Big 10 safety in Jeremy Ware from Michigan. He has only started the last 2 seasons but has not missed any games with injury. He racked up 83 tackles in those 2 seasons and he is likely to be used on special teams for a long time. The Raiders seem good with Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff as rising stars ate the safety spots.
7th Round (Compensatory Pick): The Raiders get more defensive versatility with Stevie Brown from Michigan who can play both safety and linebacker. He had 186 career tackles as a 2 year starter with 31 of those tackles on special teams. Both Brown and Ware are more likely special teams players because of the Raiders current starting safeties looking good.