Oakland Raiders Foundation Set, or Will They Dig the Hole Deeper?
It's very interesting reading various media content on the Internet about the Oakland Raiders and how most of the media consistently tab the Oakland Raiders as guaranteed losers simply because Al Davis is the owner/GM.
In most people's eyes, this team is in total disarray and utter chaos with a complete leadership vacuum and a slew of wasted picks. It doesn't matter if most of the Raiders draft picks since 2007 have been starters are solid backups to these media types. Everything the Raiders have done up until the 2010 draft was wrong by the media.
Everyone knows Oakland was expected to take left tackle Bruce Campbell in the first round and when they showed common sense and took appropriate players in the first four rounds with Campbell being the first fourth round pick for the Raiders instead of their first pick overall.
Instead, Oakland was extremely smart and landed Rolando McClain and Lamarr Houston, who will be one of the major steals of this NFL draft considering every team passed on him and some twice. Oakland then topped off their first two picks with another smart pick with Edwin "Jared" Veldheer in the third round, a player most analysts considered a top-five left tackle in a strong draft of tackles.
The Raiders' first two picks of 2009 have been question marks, but both players have been working their tails off to improve on their performance or conditioning issues, i.e Mike Mitchell and his hamstrings or DHB improving his ball-catching skills. Their next two picks became starters and players who they believe could be future stars.
The Raiders have drafted as well as many other teams recently and not until they cut JaMarcus Russell did the team finally lose the anchor that was keeping them from moving forward. Every offseason they had to work on his footwork in camp. It wasn't a one or two offseasons of footwork, it's been consistently practicing footwork in the offseason when you should progress and practice more advanced plays in the spring.
The fleecing of a fourth or fifth round pick for Jason Campbell finally gives Oakland a decent QB and continues the recent bringing of players care and are putting the time and effort to improve not only themselves but also their teammates which is something unfortunately "new" to these Raiders.
With a slew of players who care and a team willing to work, complemented by a QB willing to put the time to become a good QB or at least make the offense competitive, Oakland is finally going to have the chance to take that next step.
Jason Campbell has the immediate opportunity to provide Oakland with a much better operating offense even with the same patchwork offensive line Oakland had last season.
If the patchwork offensive line improves this year with Khaliff Barnes, Jared Veldheer, Langston Walker, and Mario Henderson playing for the two tackle spots, and Robert Gallery stays healthy, Jason Campbell should have a better opportunity to at least make some plays.
A foundation is being built right before our eyes and sooner than most believe Oakland is going to finally pull itself out of the doldrums and finally be a team to be reckoned with, not one who everyone expects to fold in the fourth quarter.
For the most part the defense has been rebuilt and just needs some seasoning to become a better rush defense. The additions of McClain, Wimbley, Houston, and John Henderson should drastically improve the play of the run defense.
As a lifelong Oakland Raiders fan, the past seven years have been very difficult. However, I think this is the first year I truly believe Oakland has put together enough young players who are not only very good players, but also have great work ethics with great leadership skills combined with enough veteran players to get them over the hump.
This isn't a finished project, but unlike the media who think Oakland's still digging the hole and the team is among the worst in the league, there's actually a strong foundation being built. You just have to look at the roster and see there's plenty talent and hope.
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