Oakland Raiders: What Will Hue Jackson and Al Davis Do in the 2011 Draft?
Hue Jackson is now the head coach of the Oakland Raiders.
He got the opportunity from Al Davis after wowing him with the improvements he made with the Raider offense. The man took the offense from No. 31 in yards and scoring to No. 10 in yards and No. 6 in scoring.
So how did Jackson do such a thing?
He gave the Raiders an identity on offense.
That identity consisted of the power running game and the vertical passing game off play action behind it. This philosophy is what Davis believes in and led the Raider offense in the sixth best point total in Raider history.
No wonder why he was promoted.
Jackson now needs to load up on a few more tools to go even further with his philosophy this off season. The Raiders must obviously sign some of their own key free agents but some pieces must be added to them.
Turn the page to see what he and Davis will be looking to add in the draft.
First Round: Jared Gaither
I know Gaither is an NFL free agent from the Baltimore Ravens but I put him as a first round pick. That's because the Raiders don't have a first round pick and the Raiders need a real franchise left tackle.
You can put that together with the fact that Gaither was only 24 years old to start this season. This means he will be a cornerstone for years to come as that is the plan for most first round pick.
Al Saunders has come over with Jackson to pick the Raider vertical attack up even more. They both worked with Gaither in Baltimore and had success with him as Gaither gave Raven quarterback Joe Flacco the time he needed to throw the ball down the field.
Langston Walker is a free agent that the Raiders may let walk because they have more important players to keep. Rookie Jared Veldheer didn't look to good at left tackle and should have better luck on the right side in his second year.
At 6'9, 340 pounds, Gaither is an Al Davis kind of offensive lineman.
Gaither will anchor this line at left tackle with Robert Gallery next to him at left guard. Veldheer will hold down the right tackle spot with Bruce Campbell next to him at right guard.
The center position should be addressed in the draft.
Second Round: Rashad Carmichael (Virginia Tech)
I believe that Nnamdi Asomugha will see Jackson's promotion as a good thing in the end and stay in Oakland. All the cash that Davis will throw at Asomugha will also help him see it that way.
This means the Raiders will target a corner to play on the opposite side of Asomugha. Chris Johnson and Stanford Routt didn't look to be up to the task in 2010.
The corner that Davis will want to bring to Raider Nation has to be a fast man.
Virginia Tech's Rashad Carmichael fits that bill.
He is reported to have run a 4.26 40-yard dash when tested at Virginia Tech. That put him in fourth place in school history behind DeAngelo Hall, Michael Vick, Eddie Royal, and Marcus Vick.
There isn't a whole lot of film on him because he didn't start until his junior year. He isn't known so much as a lock down corner but the speed jumps out at you on film.
Is he underrated?
Does he have the skills to go with the speed?
Can he be taught to bump and run every play when he gets to Raider Nation?
Well, we know he's fast.
Third Round: Kris O'Dowd (USC)
The Raiders have nothing at center.
Kris O'Dowd should be the pick in the third round as he's been better than Samson Satele for a couple of years now. The scouting report on him is that he's a mauler in the run game and picks up stunts well in the pass game.
He is also known for is intelligence and good feet in pass protection. O'Dowd was the first true freshman to start for the USC Trojans at center in 2007.
He then went on to make the All Pac. 10 team in 2008 as a sophmore before fighting injuries in 2009. O'Dowd was an honorable mention for All Pac. 10 team and is headed to mobile for the Senior Bowl.
Davis loves the Trojans and loves centers.
This could be a good fit.
Fourth Round: Kelvin Sheppard (LSU)
There have been rumors swirling that the Raiders are going to the 3-4 look for 2011. It does make a little sense because John Marshall was let go at the conclusion of the 2010 season with rumors that the Raiders reached out to Rob Ryan before he went to Dallas.
It also makes sense to put 2010 first round pick Rolando McClain back in his comfort zone at inside backer. The kid ran a pro style 3-4 at Alabama and would flourish as an inside Mike.
Did you know that the Raiders ran a 3-4 in all three of their Super Bowl wins?
Hatloti Ngata is soon to be a free agent and there have been whispers of Davis bringing him in with Seymore going back to defensive end. But with no defensive coordinator in place, this is all speculation just like any draft article.
This pick gives the Raiders another All-SEC inside linebacker to play along side Rolando McClain at Will. In the worst case, Kelvin Sheppard will give the Raiders depth at middle linebacker.
The Raiders need another middle line backer either way as seen when McClain was hurt this season.
Fourth Round: Sione Fua (Stanford)
Sione Fua was a good run stuffer at Stanford.
At 6'2, 310, he has a squatty body and hold the point of attack in the run game. Fua also has good quickness and the type of motor a defensive coach loves.
He is very versitle and athletic so he could provide depth at 3-4 defensive end or 4-3 defensive tackle. It is not known if "Big" John Henderson will be back for the Raiders in 2011 so that depth will come in handy.
Playing his college ball down the street also helps.
Fifth Round: Marcus Gilbert: (Florida)
At 6'5, 320 pounds, Marcus Gilbert is a big man and very athletic for his size. He is also a mauler with a nasty disposition to get after you on every play.
He mainly known in College as the blind side protector of the left handed Tim Tebow. His arm length is average and he isn't the dominant run blocker you need at right tackle but has the talent to become that.
Langston Walker will probably walk this off season because he is not a priority among the Raider free agents. Gilbert will provide good depth at the tackle position even if Walker stays.
He does have the potential to surprise.
Sixth Round: Ben Chapell (Indiana)
Ben Chapell is the kind of quarterback Davis loves.
He's 6'4, 240 pounds and has a big arm.
Chapell completed 63 percent of his passes for over 3,000 yards with 24 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 2010. He does have a tendency to try to force balls into coverage but a sixth round pick has time to learn.
Jason Campbell is right where he needs to be with Jackson's offense for a second year in a row. That's something Campbell hasn't had since he was in high school.
But you never know.
Tom Brady was a sixth round pick.
Seventh Round: Jerrel Jernigan (Troy)
Do you think Davis got his speed fix in the second round?
I think he will have to get one more burner in the 2011 draft.
Deonte Thompson is the world class sprinter Davis will probably reach down and get in the 2011 draft. He didn't have the most productive collegiate career but that will not stop Davis. (It never does.)
Word out of Florida is that Thompson ran a 4.22 with no wind and a wet surface.
That's scary if he can play.
Since Jackson has the same philosophy as Davis, I don't think he will disagree too much with personnel decisions. The identity of the Raiders as they are was given to them by Jackson on offense.
There are a few areas that they can tighten up on via free agency and the draft to make a post season run in 2011. This article was an attempt to show you just how Davis and Jackson will tighten things up.
Obviously, there is no way to really know as the college players have yet to even play in the Senior Bowl. The NFL Scouting Combine will also be soon to follow the Senior Bowl.
Free agency will also have a huge affect on how the draft goes as needs change. Then there's always the team that unexpectedly picks a player and that changes what every team behind them does.
I look forward to the crap shoot every year.
I wonder if Jackson learned a thing or two in the Baltimore Raven war room.