Oakland Raiders: Shopping for Al Davis' Groceries
Oakland Raider owner Al Davis is looking to cook up something big for the 2011-2012 season. The NFL Scouting Combine is now over and free agency should soon start, provided the C.B.A. is reached.
This means that the time is coming to shop for the groceries to cook this things up for 2011-2012. The Raiders have most of their main ingredients at home as Nnamdi Asomugha is the only one out testing the market.
If you want to call a bust named Robert Gallery a main ingredient, be my guest because I won't. The Raiders are now looking to add a few more necessary ingredients in order for it all to blend right.
The ingredients the Raiders need are out there in both free agency and the draft. If the Raiders shop this offseason the way the did in 2010, a contender will be cooked up for 2011 and years to come.
Turn the page to see what items Davis should be shopping for.
Item 1: Franchise Left Tackle
I believe a C.B.A will be reached soon because the NFL is making too much money for a work stoppage now. Therefore, I plan on seeing the free agency period coming before the draft as it always has.
When it does come, Jared Gaither is the best option at left tackle for the silver and black.
This is a difficult one because Gaither has been in the league for four years and the C.B.A. will determine if the Ravens can tender him. Gaither has also said himself that he won't sign with the Ravens unless he is moved back to left tackle.
It looks like the Ravens have decisions to make and bluffs to call.
Item 2: Veteran Receiver
On June 6, former Super Bowl star Plaxico Buress will have payed his debt to society and be free to roam NFL secondaries. This can be a good option for the Raiders as Buress shouldn't be too expensive after not playing for so long.
I don't expect him to be the same guy that he once was in his first year back. But at the very least, Buress will be a great mentor to this young receiving corps.
If he shakes off the rust quick enough, Buress will be a huge help on third down and in the red zone. Buress was also a great blocker as a receiver in New York and Pittsburgh as they were top running teams.
Davis loves guys that play well in games.
Item 3: Size
With Robert Gallery and Cooper Carlisle appearing to be done in Raider Nation, the Raiders can use a guard. 2010 work out warrior Bruce Campbell is likely to replace Gallery so that leaves the right side open.
Cannon was a tackle in college but will likely be moved to guard in the NFL.
Carlisle was pushed back on nearly every play in 2010 so Davis should be looking for a big man to replace him. At 6'5", 358 pounds, Marcus Cannon was just three pounds away from being the biggest man in the draft.
He was also the second strongest offensive lineman with 33 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. This mountain of a man is also athletic with a 5.26 40-yard dash.
That's only one step behind Raider C/T Jared Veldheer.
I know many Raider fans wish to see Stefan Wisniewski get the nod but Cannon is also a solid option
Can you say Frank Middleton.
Item 4: Corner
I am still hopeful that Nnamdi Asomugha will be back in Silver and Black in 2011. But there is a guy that's projected by some to go in the third round that could be an absolute steal for the Raiders.
Ras-I Dowling is 6'2", 200 pounds, can run with the best of them, and has tremendous ball skills. The only reason why he isn't a first round pick is because Dowling has had some injury issues.
That was evident at the combine as he ran a 4.4 40-yard dash while pulling his hamstring. He basically had to shut it down the last five yards because of the pull.
If you're a Raider fan, you hope that he doesn't heal in time for his Pro Day because he won't last so long if he does. This is another pupil that secondary coach Rod Woodson can mold into a great corner.
If Asomugha doesn't come back, this pick could be made in the second round.
If he does, the Raiders could have the best corner trio in the league.
You can never have too many corners.
Item 5: Outside Linebacker
The Raiders have struck gold in the fourth round of the draft in the last few years. The gold the the Raiders will strike in 2011 will come in the form of Nevada outside linebacker Dontay Moch.
The 4.4 40-yard dash running Moch is a good choice as the Raiders need an outside lineback opposite Kamerion Wimbley.
But Thomas Howard ran a 4.4 40-yard dash and that didn't work out so why him?
Howard was a little light in the behind and Moch is a solid 250 pounder that is more stout against the run. Moch also has more pass rush moves to chose from when the Raiders do decide to send him off the edge.
Raider linebacker coach Greg Biekert can help develop that 4.4 40 speed into good coverage from the linebacker position as well.
Perhaps Moch will be more deserving of Rod Martin's number (#53) than Howard was.
Item 6: Tight End
Zach Miller is a great tight end but needs a partner for double tight end formations. Weslye Sauders makes a great partner at 6'5", 270 pounds to pair up with Miller.
Saunders uses that size well to block in the running game and passing game when he wants to. The kid also has good speed for his size, separates well from defenders, and catches the ball very well.
But he does have issues with both his character and injuries.
He was suspended for the whole 2010 season for taking improper benefits from an agent. After not playing in 2010, he needed a strong combine performance but did not have one due to a broken bone in his foot.
You know Davis won't care about the benefits and will look only into the heeling of his foot. Davis loves his tight ends too so I fully expect him to be the first to take the flier on him.
This will be big for double tight sets.
Item 7: Speed
Demarcus Vandyke is the fastest man in the draft so Davis will take him at some point. He wasn't even supposed to be drafted originally but has ran his way unto Davis' radar.
The Raiders do need a punt return man so Vandyke could very well help immediately there. Woodson could also help him use his speed to develop into a solid corner as well.
Either way, Davis will get his speed fix.
Item 8: More Size
At 6'5", 361 pounds, Carl Johnson is the largest man coming out in the NFL draft. He is very versatile, playing every position on the offensive line inlcuding center while in college at Florida.
Hmmmmm... a 361 pound center.
Just a thought.
Johnson used his size to be a mauler in the run game and that fits well with the power running game the Raiders employ. He was a decent pass blocker in college and at least won't get pushed back into the quarterback as a pro.
He could surprise but will at least give the Raiders depth inside.
If he does surprise, the Raiders could average 343 pounds per man on the offensive line.
This is just one of many mixes of ingredients the Raiders can cook up for the 2011-2012 season. I believe this is a pretty good mix but there are lots of other good mixes.
What the Raiders can and will do obviously depends on what the rest of the league does picking in front of them. In free agency, someone can always offer a player more and Davis can simply believe in another option.
This is just one of many.
If this one isn't to your liking, perhaps the next one will be.