Leading up to the 2004 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders, like every other team, had several needs.
The Raiders had nine draft picks in the draft and were thought to be targeting QBs Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, or Philip Rivers. It was also reported that the Raiders were looking to improve the offensive line and were eyeing LT Robert Gallery.
Several others had the Raiders targeting WRs Larry Fitzgerald, Roy Williams, or Mike Williams.
The Raiders chose to improve the offensive line and selected LT Robert Gallery, who, at the time, was one of the highest-rated offensive tackles leaving college in years. The second round brought center Jake Grove, who was rated the best center in the draft.
The other seven selections from that draft are no longer on the team and several are no longer in the NFL. The exceptions being: TE Courtney Anderson, who is on the Buffalo Bills' roster and OLB Cody Spencer, who is on the NY Jets' roster.
Fast-forward four years later and the two offensive linemen that were believed to be fixtures on the offensive line for the next 10 years, Robert Gallery and Jake Grove, remain.
The 2004 draft was yet another Raider draft class where the team had several choices and after a few years later, only two guys remain with the team.
Free agency has helped to improve several teams, and the Raiders, seeking improvement, traded a second-round draft choice this year for CB DeAngelo Hall, who was drafted No. 8 overall by the Falcons.
The team also signed SS Gibril Wilson and WR Drew Carter, who were fifth-round selections by the Giants and the Panthers. The team also signed Adimchinobi Echemandu, who was a seventh-round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns.
This gives the Raiders, four years removed, six solid draft choices from the 2004 NFL Draft that will help them improve in 2008.
LG Robert Gallery was labeled a "bust" by many people, but he had a solid 2007 campaign, which will go a long way in shedding that label. He will continue to improve in the Tom Cable's zone-blocking scheme.
C Jake Grove is noticeably bigger and stronger and is locked into a heated battle for the starting center position with veteran center Tom Wade.
CB DeAngelo Hall in set for a huge year as a starting cornerback opposite Nnamdi Asomugha. He should be the beneficiary of several interceptions, due to teams not wanting to go after Nnamdi on a consistent basis.
Both Wilson and Carter are talented second-day draft choices that took a little bit longer to develop, which is why both fell to the fifth round.
SS Gibril Wilson is set for a huge year at strong safety, following a solid 2007 championship year with the NY Giants.
He is an aggressive and tough safety that will come up and pop a running back. He can play in the box on eight-man fronts and will help improve the team's run defense.
His acquisition solidifies the secondary and allows Michael Huff to play free safety, which should free him up to use his athleticism to make plays.
WR Drew Carter is a talented player with a good combination of size and speed, and he has a tremendous upside.
Teams are always after receivers that have the quickness and strength to beat press coverage, the tenacity and hands to make catches in traffic, and the size and leaping ability to be threats downfield and in the red zone.