Oakland Raiders: Giving Al Davis NFL Draft Credit
Al Davis was and still is a great football mind. He is responsible for the "team of the decades," three Super Bowl victories and possibly more hall-of-famers than any other NFL owner.
Yet many people, even some Raider fans, openly discredit his brilliance. They give credit elsewhere when something positive happens within the organization, and blame Davis for anything negative.
They said Tom Cable changed the culture in Oakland, Tom Cable motivated the players, Tom Cable was responsible for the draft...
What about Al Davis?
Enough about Tom Cable already. With a reputation for drafting physical freaks, tracks stars and combine breakouts, Al Davis was responsible for the Raiders' 2010 draft.
Here's a review of the draft and why no one but Al Davis could have been responsible for it.
Al Davis Loves Defensive Backs
Al Davis' favorite position is the defensive back.
They are the fastest players on the field, that's why.
Davis has drafted greats like Lester Hayes, Jack Tatum, Charles Woodson and Nnamdi Asomugha. It is pretty obvious by now, having drafted five defensive backs the first round the last 10 years, that no Raider draft is complete without at least one defensive back.
This could not have been more true than it was in 2010; with 10 picks, the Raiders selected Walter McFadden, Jeremey Ware and Stevie Brown, all defensive backs.
Al Davis Loves Speed
As we've established already, Al Davis loves speed.
In the second round of 2010, the Raiders would add even more speed to their defensive line by selecting Lamarr Houston.
Not only did Houston have a great combine, he also ran the fastest 40 among defensive tackles in the draft. If you run the fastest 40 at your position, there is a good chance you have caught Davis' eye.
Upon becoming a Raider, Houston made the switch to defensive end, the position he played his sophomore year at Texas.
Jared Veldheer Is a Freak
At first glance, it is hard to explain Al Davis selecting a Division II offensive tackle from a small school.
That is, until you see Jared Veldheer's combine numbers.
Sure, he couldn't match Bruce Campbell in the 40-yard dash, but Veldheer came damn close and did damn well at the combine. He put up the third best time among offensive tackles, as well as the fourth most reps in the bench press. Veldheer can also hang-clean 425 pounds.
With all that athleticism packed into a 6-foot-8 frame, there was no way Davis could resist.
The Experts Were Right
When the combine was all said and done, the draft experts could almost all agree on one thing.
After having one of the best combine performances by an offensive linemen in years, Al Davis would surely draft Bruce Campbell after he ran the fastest time among offensive linemen.
They were right, at least to an extent. Many experts and mock drafts had the Raiders selecting Campbell in the first round, but instead, the Raiders grabbed him in the fourth.
You Can Never Have Too Much Speed
Have I mentioned Al Davis loves speed?
As I'm sure you have learned from the previous slides, if you run an impressive 40 at the combine, there is a good chance Davis will draft you.
Most would think drafting the first and third fastest offensive linemen and the fastest defensive tackle in the combine would be enough for him.
Most would be wrong.
Davis would also draft Jacoby Ford, not only the fastest receiver, but the fastest player overall at the combine.
Hard to Explain
This one is a little hard to explain using the same "Al Davis only drafts fast players" logic.
Though it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the Raiders needed to not only replace Kirk Morrison, but they also needed to improve the run defense.
Drafting Rolando McClain was the only pick that wasn't a clear Davis decision.
I've heard fans jokingly suggest that Tom Cable locked Al Davis in a broom closet when it was time for the NFL draft.
Just admit it. Al Davis was responsible for the Raiders' draft in 2010, and he did a great job.