So far, the Raiders have had a pretty good offseason.
Yes, despite losing Nnamdi Asomugha and Zach Miller, it has been a pretty good offseason. The Raiders have a sub .500 record with Asomugha and Miller so there is no reason for me to believe that these two guys made the Raiders.
The Raiders did keep most of their core and managed to find solid replacements for the players they lost. Then you have to look at all the youngsters the Raiders drafted to come into Raider Nation and excel.
The Raiders didn't even have a first-round selection so it's not just the early-round picks. The Raiders cleaned up in the late rounds with guys that are already looking like they are going to be stars in the NFL.
Free agency was even okay despite the losses.
It wasn't great but okay.
The Raiders had a nice plan for 2011 free agency but certain things didn't quite work out. Sometimes, what you don't do is a good move for price and health reasons, but no move was made in its place.
There is a lot of young talent on the team so maybe growth and development is the intent there. There is also still talent out there in free agency so at this point, my grade for the Oakland Raiders' offseason is incomplete.
Turn the page for a closer look.
The Raiders didn't have a first-round pick so their first pick was in the second round. They used that pick to get their center for years to come in 6'3", 315 pound Stefen Wisniewski.
This is a major upgrade for the Raiders over the undersized Samson Satele as they continue the "bully" movement. Wisniewski played guard last year so he shouldn't get overwhelmed by larger nose tackles the way Satele did last year.
Jerry McDonald has reported that Wisniewski has looked good in camp except for the day that he was driven back by John Henderson. http://twitter.com/#!/Jerrymcd But every green rookie gets a welcome to the NFL in camp and Henderson gave Wisniewski his.
Speaking of rookie welcome, a couple of days after reporting to camp Satele went to No. 1 on the depth chart. I like the move because Jackson isn't going to give the rookie anything before seeing some NFL action.
No one gets free right of passage here but I'm sure he will earn it.
In a previously written article, I explained how a late-round gem can make up for a first-round bust. In this case, the Raiders have a late-round gem that makes up for not having a first-round pick at all in 2011.
His name is Denarius Moore and he has taken Raider Nation by storm so far in camp. He's a sub 4.4 40 guy, plays fast on the field, has great hands and he's a great route runner that hits you with double moves.
No veteran wideouts needed here!
Moore is reported to have made more plays in his first camp than Darius Heyward-Bey has in three by McDonald. http://twitter.com/#!/Jerrymcd It will be interesting to see how this fifth-round pick does with a healthy Schilens, Murphy and Jacoby Ford.
Heyward-Bey is shockingly the No. 1 receiver for the Raiders but the addition of Moore makes him the fourth best receiver on the team. I see the logic in keeping Moore down until he earns it in a game but Heyward-Bey at No. 1 means they gave it to him after he just started to practice.
What kind of message does that send?
The Raiders may have already made up for not having a first-round pick with Moore and could have made up for a loss in free agency. Zach Miller got paid big to follow former Raider head coach Tom Cable to Seattle.
In no way is Miller worth $7 million a year as he only made the Pro Bowl because Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates were hurt. The reason why Miller never made the Pro Bowl prior is because he can't consistently challenge a defense down the field like they can.
Now he goes to a conference with two more special tight ends Tony Gonzalez and Vernon Davis. The Raiders have so far signed Kevin Boss, who replaced an All-Pro tight end Jeremy Shockey on the way to the Super Bowl win.
So the loss of Miller is more of a lateral move now as neither of the two are special. However, seventh-round draft pick David Ausberry has special ability at 6'4", 245 pounds, running a 4.46 40 with great hands.
Ausberry was a receiver at USC so his skill as a route runner will fit as a tight end. However, being a collegiate wide receiver raises questions about his ability to block in the running game.
So far McDonald has reported that Ausberry is doing well in that department. When the Raiders' coaching staff can trust Ausberry with the playbook and blocking, he will surely be a special tight end. http://twitter.com/#!/Jerrymcd
Michael Huff was a second team All-Pro that was supposed to be a hot 2011 free agent. It seemed like all was quiet on the Huff front until he suddenly appears in Raider Nation with a four-year $32 million deal.
Everyone wondered what happened when Huff got to Raider Nation with so many teams needing a free safety.
Huff told Jerry McDonald he was always coming back to the Raiders all along and would have signed before the lockout if not for the 30 percent rule. He also told McDonald that he wasn't even answering my phone but declined to speak on contact from Rob Ryan. http://twitter.com/#!/Jerrymcd
As for his production, he had three interceptions, four sacks, two forced fumbles and 84 tackles in 2010. He did miss some big tackles but that was early in the season as he improved in that area down the stretch.
In today's game, you need a playmaking free safety and Huff appears to be on the path in just his second year at the position. He was badly misused as a strong safety in the box in his first few years as a Raider.
Now he's looking to use his excellent man-coverage skills to play some nickel corner.
That's double value, especially with Rod Woodson coaching him up.
Kamerion Wimbley is the Raiders' latest reclamation project they got in a trade from the Cleveland Browns. The 2006 first-round pick flashed greatness as a 3-4 outside linebacker in his rookie year with the Browns.
Wimbley had 11 sacks, 61 total tackles and a forced fumble in his rookie year. But then he ended up with a total of only 15.5 sacks in the three ensuing years and the Browns patience wore thin.
Wimbley then came to Raider Nation and had nine sacks in his Silver and Black debut. He did this in a scheme where the outside linebacker hardly ever blitzes, but allowed him to line up as a defensive end on third downs.
So what happened in years two through four?
He didn't play with anyone that could keep opposing teams from sliding the protection his way. Now he's in Raider Nation where Richard Seymour takes all double teams, leaving three great pass rushers in one-on-one coverage.
James Harrison has Woodley on the other side as well as Casey Hampton in the middle taking double teams. Clay Mathews had B.J Raji and Cullen Jenkins last year and the 3-4 scheme behind him.
In fact, Wimbley led all 4-3 outside linebackers in sacks while playing solid in coverage and against the run.
Wimbley's salary matches his value.
Nnamdi Asomugha is the best cover corner in the NFL but letting him go wasn't that bad of a move. The main reason why I think so is because the Raiders still have good enough corners to win ball games.
Stanford Routt broke out last year, ending up No. 2 in the NFL in burn percentage (39.4) with Chris Johnson at No. 5. (40.5). With a combined 159 attempts, they combined to give up only eight touchdowns (Routt five, Johnson three).
That's .05 percent of passes being thrown at them going for touchdowns and 39.95 percent being completed. Every contending playoff team would tell you they'll take that every time and Nnamdi didn't follow the opposing team's best receiver so Johnson and Routt saw their share of No. 1 receivers.
That should tell you that the Raiders should use the money they would have had to pay Nnamdi to fix other areas of the team. Everyone blames Davis for letting Nnamdi walk but there's no way he would have stayed with the Raiders for what the Eagles signed him for.
He even said on NFL Network, "The Eagles were my first choice from March."
Jared Gaither was the first priority in free agency for the Raiders and that has to have something to do with why Davis didn't overpay for Asomugha or Miller. This was definitely the right way to go because the left tackle is the second most important man on the field and the Raiders are weak at the position.
The Raiders had Gaither at the facility early in free agency but weren't comfortable enough to sign him. Many have gone along with ESPN's John Clayton, who assumed the reason was Gaither not passing the physical.
Clayton said, "The very likely reason why Gaither was not signed was because of his injured back." http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/42513/clayton-gaither-out-barnes-in-for-raiders
Something's not right here.
The Ravens couldn't find anything wrong with him while Gaither's doctor held him out last year. A year later, everyone is assuming that it was the Raiders' doctors that pulled the plug in this deal.
Something's really not right because no one has even been reported to have talked to Gaither since.
See slide four and the Huff situation.
This leads me to believe this situation will be revisited, helping me give the Raiders an incomplete.
Michael Bush and Marcel Reese are also back but that wasn't too hard because they signed their tenders.
When you have a lot of free agents, you know who to let go of and who to keep for a price that doesn't handcuff you. Jackson has promised to build a "bully" so his attention on both sides of the ball has been on the line of scrimmage.
Raider fans should understand that as all these defensive backs and offensive skill position players can't help you win without a good line. So the supremely skilled Asomugha had to be sacrificed in order to have money for top talent on the line of scrimmage.
For that, I have to give the Raiders an incomplete because they kept the defensive line talent but didn't bring the offensive line talent in yet. They made an attempt at Gaither to address that and can still revisit it later.
There are also others out there that can help the Raiders this offseason plus there are young players that can step up.
They can still get an A once one of the two actually happen.
We might have a better idea after tonight.