There has been no doubt that Al Davis has made the final decision on draft day the last several years. He took combine stars Fabian Washington, Michael Huff, JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden and Darrious Heyward-Bey as his top picks since 2005.
But this year was much different. The combine star (Bruce Campbell) was drafted in the 4th round, not the 1st. Instead, the Raiders took the productive performer Rolando McClain from Alabama. He is not a play-maker, he is a play-stopper. He led the turn around of the Crimson Tide's run defense from 46th to 2nd.
More impressive was that they didn't take the "best available player" and instead adressed a problem looming over the last 7 years. They followed up with Lamarr Houston, who Tom Cable said will see playing time at defensive end and tackle. Another run stuffer.
Then, the Raiders admitted they screwed up with Russell and traded for Jason Campbell who signed an extension until 2011 and the money will be less than half of what Russell is due. It was the best 3 day period for the Raiders organization in franchise history.
So why was this draft so different than prior drafts? Was it still Al Davis running the show? Did Tom Cable get to make the decision? Cable said McClain was behind Suh, Williams and Okung on the draft board. With 2 O-linemen on top of the Raiders board, was this a Cable draft?
Cable has been criticized for play-calling, failing to develop a QB, starting 2 rookie WRs and having a swiss-cheese O-line. But he nailed this draft. Every pick was adressing a need, not a luxury. With a new MLB, D-lineman, return man and QB, the Raiders are showing the football world that the Raiders are bound to become a force to be reckoned with.
Ronald Reagan once said, "It's morning in America again." After 7 years of dissapointment, frustration, anger, confusion and controversy it's morning again for the Raider Nation!