I have got to say that I am thrilled and am very positive about the direction our beloved Raiders are heading. However, there are a few guys who could help out and really push our team over the top. There really aren't too many glaring weaknesses that I can see. The few that I do see are as follows: better quality starters at C and RG, better No. 2 CB to play opposite Aso, and a veteran wide out to mentor our young wide receivers.
Please allow my reasoning behind these three areas that need improvement in my eyes. Samson Satele is too small and is not nearly strong enough to go up against 3-4 NTs. Current starting RG Cooper Carlisle is getting older and has lost a step. I am sure you all saw the sack Satele gave to Junior Saivii in the Dallas game, where Satele looked like a revolving door.
Even if he had held up against Saivii's rush, Carlisle would've given up a sack on that play because his guy straight bull-rushed him. I am very high on both Campbell and Veldheer, but I think they need a year or so before they can learn the respective positions and be consistent on gameday.
This offseason, I have not been impressed at all really with the play of No.2 CB Chris Johnson. Face it, I gave up on Stanford Routt a long time ago, except on Madden, his speed is nice. I do like the play from our fifth round guy, Walter McFadden.
Right now, I think he is more suited to play nickelback until he can get a better handle on the speed of the pro level.
I think our young wideouts can be excellent. They are all size and speed specimens. I just think they could use the help of a veteran to help them grow and mature.
Here are some guys that I would love to see in the Silver and Black who could help tremendously.
Mankins is not at all happy with how the Patriots have handled his contract situation, and I feel that Al Davis could compensate him very nicely since Mankins has been a stud since he was drafted. He has not missed a game in his NFL career.
I have him easily as one of the best, if not the best, LG in the NFL. We seem to be doing a lot of business with the Patriots for some reason the last few years.
Acquiring Mankins in a trade would move Gallery to RG, which is fine by me. That would allow Campbell the time he needs to improve at RG behind Gallery or maybe even allow us to have Campbell learn and start at RT over Langston Walker. This would be good seeing that I think Gallery will only be around for a few more years before he is injured into retirement.
Any way you look at it, Mankins is a stud LG, and he would improve the quality of our OL immensely. With things between Mankins and NE being tenuous at best, I think Oakland can get him for a second rounder in 2012 and give him a deal a little better than the seven-year, $57 million that Jahri Evans got from the Saints.
Jared Gaither and the Ravens are at odds. When he is on, he is on. He can be a very good LT; he just needs to stay healthy. Getting him would move Mario to RT, whom I would rather have there than big, slow Langston Walker.
With the Ravens being unhappy with him and his injury issues, he could now be had for relatively cheap compared to what they wanted draft weekend, I believe. I am thinking a fourth rounder in 2011 should suffice.
I say just let him heal up and hope that he stays healthy. I know he is a gamble because he is prone to injury, but I think he is still well worth the value and the added depth at tackle.
Antonio Bryant will likely be released by the Bengals after an injury settlement. I think he would be a solid veteran for our younger guys. I don't truly know how productive he could still be, but I just want so he can be a veteran presence for the young wideouts.
I can see him being what Javon Walker was supposed to be for Schilens, Murphy, DHB, Miller, and Ford. I do not think signing him as a FA would be costly.
Torry Holt was just released by the Patriots after an injury settlement. He has had a very productive career and is clearly on his last legs. I think he would be a excellent mentor for young guys. Few WRs have had a career like Torry Holt's. He certainly has a few tricks up his sleeve that he can teach them. With where he is in his career, I do not think he expects a big paycheck from any team if he was to continue his career.
He's just another one of the many disgruntled players in the league, but he is undoubtedly the best player at his position. He would be huge as a Raider.
He excels against NTs in the purely 3-4 AFC East, and he would look even better in the AFC West since the AFC West does not have the same caliber NTs that the East does. He would go a long way to solidifying the offensive line.
Will the Jets trade him? It may be an extreme long shot, but there are few players of his caliber, and it certainly would not hurt to try to get him. Combine him with Gaither, and Campbell will have one of the cleanest jerseys.
The cost to get him could get expensive; a second next year with a third or fourth in 2012 seems like what it would take, not to mention a new contract for him to be the highest-paid center.
Kevin Mawae was the best center in the league for a long time, but his age is catching up to him. I think he still has a year or two left, and I'd rather have him anchor the OL than have the revolving door we currently have as a starter in Satele.
The team could sign him to a cheap one-year deal, and he could at the very least help Veldheer make the transition to center. What better person for Veldheer to learn from for a year than Mawae?
As I said before, I have not been impressed at all by Johnson or Routt. Richard Marshall is a very solid corner and would be an improvement over both Johnson and Routt. Carolina doesn't seem to want to re-sign Marshall for next year, so getting him from them could be pretty easy. I would offer up Johnson and a late round pick for him.
He is only 25 and is heading into his fifth year in the league. He has averaged over 80 tackles, a sack, three picks, and 10 passes defensed a year since he was drafted four years ago, which is much better than what the almost 31-year-old Johnson has averaged over the last four years. He can also be used in the return game if needed.
Well, those are the guys I think could be a ton of help. Will we get any of them? Most likely not. But a fan can dream, can't he? Please feel free to leave comments and opinions.