The Raiders acquired center Samson Satele from the Miami Dolphins yesterday, trading their sixth round draft pick and swapping fourth round picks with Miami (Raiders now hold the 122nd pick in the fourth round, with the Fins getting the 104th).
Satele was the second best center coming out of the draft in 2007 behind USC's Ryan Khalil. The Dolphins took him in the second round that year (60th overall) to start immediately for former Head Coach Cam Cameron who implemented the zone blocking scheme (ZBS).
Ring a bell?
Well it should, considering that this will be the third year in a row that the Raiders will run the ZBS, with the man who started it at head coach now in Tom Cable.
Satele fell out of favor with the new Miami coaching staff due to his inability to grasp their power blocking scheme, at least to their standards. Some are speculating that they didn't like Satele's strength, particularly when handling the nose tackles in the AFC East.
In two years in the NFL, Satele has started all 32 games for the Dolphins. He was expected to compete if not at center, at guard for them until they realized there was a market for him as the Raiders came calling.
Raiders haven't had a solid center since Jeremy Newberry in 2007, who had prior experience working with Tom Cable and the ZBS and was able to overpower opposing big linemen such as Jamal Williams from San Diego on a consistent basis. Raiders cut ties with him after the '07 campaign due to Newberry's inability to practice at times and his knee being a wild-card.
With Grove having started in his place twice in '07, the Raiders gave him an opportunity to compete for the starting job last year with former Buccaneer John Wade and backup center/guard Chris Morris.
Grove was coming off microfracture knee surgery last year, and was a good story to come back and later win the starting job. However, he still was nagged with injuries and finished the season with only 12 starts.
Due to injury problems and inconsistent play, the Raiders let him go test the free agent market. Tuna and the Fins came calling and gave him a whopping five-year, $29 million contract, with $14.5 million guaranteed.
I'm going to speculate that the Raiders offered him no where near that and gladly let him walk. Grove wasn't really a good fit for Tom Cable's ZBS anyways, considering he didn't move well in open space, not to mention he couldn't stay healthy.
Virtually the Raiders gave up a sixth round pick, and swapped fourth round picks and centers with the Fins. Can anybody say STEAL?
Samson Satele is a ZBS center, who was an all-pro playing in the system in college, and looked very good in it his rookie year as well before the Tuna/Sparano era started.
The Fins think they got a stronger player in Grove, but I wouldn't be so sure considering they both have the same weight (300), with Grove being an inch taller.
The Raiders got the better end of the deal here, considering they only had to give up a sixth round pick and swap fourths to get a former second round pick ZBS center in Satele.
The Dolphins should have asked for more, because Satele will prove to be much more valuable to the Raiders considering he will be playing in his most familiar system in which he was chosen in the first place to excel in.
Cross out a center from the NFL draft for the Raiders, since they just got their (essentially) sixth round steal in Samson Satele.
Two years experience with a rookie salary; nicely done Raiders, nicely done.