The Oakland Raiders: A Look Before the Draft

J TCorrespondent IApril 17, 2009

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 28: Coach Tom Cable of the Oakland Raiders watches warmups against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

This offseason has been different as most Raiders fans would know. Not overspending for average players, restructuring contracts, and addressing needs. It's a great sign compared to previous offseasons.

Oakland has also proven time and time again that they are awful at drafting. I wrote this as how I feel about every position on the team. I list active personnel (not all) and breakdown the position accordingly and list potential roster fillers.

Position: QB
Players: JaMarcus Russell, Jeff Garcia, Andrew Walter, TUI!! (even though i think he’s gone but whatever)
Round they should address: 1-2 in three years unless Russell pans out
Targets: TBD
Breakdown: Russell started off on the wrong foot, but now he’s there. I personally feel his window is rather small b/c Al is just that, Al..

Position: RB
Players: Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, Justin Fargas, Luke Lawton (if needed)
Round they should address: none
Targets: Your Mom
Breakdown: Even though he wasn’t needed, the Raiders drafted McFadden last year and left the rest of the needs to...well just not be addressed This is a run first team and they are completely fine w/ these three rotating. It should assist in keeping the three injury prone backs healthy then maybe McFadden can live up to the billing of being the 4th overall pick even though I doubt it will happen. We'll see though.

Position: FB
Players: Oren Oneal, Luke Lawton
Round they should address: none
Breakdown: These two are just fine to handle the load at FB but if one is injured, someone in FA should be available to clog the hole.

Position: WR
Players: Javon Walker, Chazz Schillens, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Arman Shields, Todd Watkins, Jonathan Holland
Round they should address: 2-4
Targets: Ramses Barden, Johnny Knox, Derrick Williams
Breakdown: This is the most trivial part of the draft. Everyone for some reason thinks Oakland MUST HAVE a WR in this draft and very early. I think that’s a load of crap. W/ a team that runs the ball first and has an extremely unproven QB, why waste a top pick on one? he might see 3 passes his way the entire game as i believe Russell was 27th in the league in pass attempts last season. Not only that, it slows down the production of Schillens and Shields whom the team is relatively high on. Walker is a legit number 1 WR when healthy but we all know that’s a big problem w/ him, Higgins is a great slot guy w/ his speed and elusiveness and is a great PR which is why I cannot figure out why people have Maclin (who said he wants to return kicks) going to Oakland. So if Oakland wants to pay a guy 45 mill (probably what the 7th overall pick may ask for?) for a guy who will see a handful of passes a game and probably not even help out the offense go for it. I personally think it can be addressed later as it is not a very big need IMO. Not on a team that runs first and passes second w/ an erratic, unproven QB.

Position: TE
Players: Zach Miller, Tony Stewart, Darrell Strong
Round needed to address: none
Breakdown: Miller showed he will become an elite TE over time. He has fantastic hands and is a great route runner. Stewart is there for the blocking purposes and isn’t a bad option as a target either...The Raiders are fine at TE but I guess could go w/ depth in later rounds if they feel necessary.

Position: LT
Players: Mario Henderson, Khalif Barnes
Rounds needed to address: 1-7
Targets: Jamon Meredeth, Phil Loadholt, Gerald Cadogan
Breakdown: Another odd situation for Oakland. They obviously needed OT help after letting go of Kwame Harris after he showed he is too awesome to be on Oakland w/ his outstanding performance last season. They went out and signed three OTs in Barnes, Pears, and the bustatic second round pick from the ’05 Vikings draft in Johnson. I do not feel Oakland is in desperate need of T but they might be. They have plenty on the roster and Henderson played pretty good there when he came in after Kwame’s dominance became too much for everyone to witness. Seriously, we all would’ve died from watching something so awesome so they had to bench him. The human body just can’t handle it. Barnes is a question mark to me as i have not seen much of him at all. So they have all these guys, but who knows if they’re the long term answer.

Position: G
Players: Robert Gallery, Cooper Carlisle, (heard) Marcus Johnson
Rounds needs to address: later for depth
Breakdown: Gallery may not be the LT everyone thought he would be but he is a damn good G. one of the best in the league IMO. Carlisle is older, but still very good. The Raiders G tandem is vastly underrated and overshadowed by Kwame’s pure awesome last year. they do need some depth I feel so that could be something acquired later.

Position: C
Players: Samson Satele, John Wade, Chris Morris
Rounds needed to address: already done
Breakdown: Some people think Oakland still needs to draft Mack or Unger in the second. They’re nutty. Already used a draft pick on one in Satele so who wastes two draft picks (one very high) on two C in one draft??Ii doubt Kwame would even do that.

Position: RT
Players: Mario Henderson, Paul McQuistan, Cornell "Lead Pipe" Green
Rounds needed to address: none
Breakdown: If Oakland does get their 10th OT via the draft, whomever starts at LT will force the other guy to move to RT. There are plenty of people to play this position and plenty of people who can do well. Green is not one of them and I’m having trouble figuring out why he’s still on the team after assaulting his wife.

Position: DE
Players: Derrick Burgess, Trevor Scott, Derrick Grey
Rounds needed to be addressed: 1-4
Targets: Michael Johnson, Robert Ayers, Kyle Moore
Breakdown: This is a big need for Oakland. Burgess is in the last year of his contract and is often injured. Brandon Albert and the potential having of Eugene Monroe on the Chiefs and a pass happy Charger team needs to be pressured and it needs to be done well. Scott saw limited player time as a rookie last season, but had done well in his time playing. Oakland may have found a diamond in the rough w/ him in the 6th round of last year’s draft. We’ll have to wait and see. Regardless, the team is very thin at DE and needs to address it.

Position: DT
Players: Tommy Kelly, Terrdell Sands, Gerrard Warren, William Joseph
Rounds needs to address: ASAP
Targets: BJ Raji, Ron Brace, Tez Doolittle, Alex Magee
Breakdown: Easily the worst position on the team. If it were based on place drafted, the Raiders would be stacked w/ Warren and Joseph. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. 31st against the run last season and the season before. That needs to change immediately. You cannot win games letting people run all over you and when you have the secondary Oakland has, you must utilize them and force teams to throw the football. Raji is a perfect fit if he is still around. He’s stout against the run and quick enough off the snap to get into the backfield and disrupt plays. He is absolutely the best pick Oakland can have and I would like to see another drafted in the later rounds for more depth.

Position: OLB
Players: Thomas Howard, Ricky Brown, Sam Williams, Jon Alston
Rounds needed to be address: 2-4
Targets: Russell Allen, Zach Follett, Kevin Akins
Breakdown: Thomas Howard is one of the most underrated OLB in the league IMO. Very good in coverage, very good sideline to sideline speed, instinctive etc. The guy can do it all. Unfortunately he cannot play both OLB positions. He just isn’t that good. I personally would like to see Marcus Freeman fill that void in the third round but we will have to see what happens. Ricky Brown and Williams have showed us they’re nothing more than depth and special teamers.

Position: MLB
Players: Kirk Morrison, Isaiah Ekejiuba
Rounds needed to address: later for depth
Breakdown: I believe Morrison could be a premiere MLB in this league but he needs help in front of him. He has played well w/ extremely poor play at DT and I feel w/ the addition of good people in front of him, he will emerge to be great. Ekejuba is all the depth needed but if necessary someone could be picked up later in the draft.

Position: CB
Players: Nnamdi Assomugha, Stanford Routt, Chris Johnson, Justin Miller, John Bowie
Rounds needs to address: None
Breakdown: It can finally be said. "Oakland does not need to draft a CB" and it breaks Mr. Davis’ heart to hear it. The Raiders have depth and have a fantastic trio of starters. If they are there, and they are healthy, they will produce and they showed that be the case last season. Especially Nnamdi.

Position: S
Players: Michael Huff, Tyvon branch, Hiram eugene
Rounds needed to address: 2-7
Targets: Patrick Chung, Nic Harris, Chip Vaughn. Michael Mitchell
Breakdown: Huff is on his last leg here. he has played terrible since being the 7th overall pick and has played both FS and SS. Opposite of him will be second year guy Tyvon Branch who is a giant question mark. A hard hitting SS is necessary to help out w/ the porous run defense and also a guy who is good in coverage if Huff folds again. If that be the case, bring on Taylor Mays in next year’s draft.