To the Oakland Raiders' Critics: Prove Us Wrong!

Raider Card Addict@RaidercardadictSenior Writer IMay 1, 2009

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 28: Quarterback JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders sets to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Now that the yelling has subsided and the chuckles have stopped, we can look at the players that Tom Cable and Al Davis have rounded up for the draft. We picked up a couple WR options, a safety that believes in Jack Tatum, three players for the defensive line, and a tight end.

That's not mentioning the undrafted free agents, which, at last count, were between seven and nine players.

Before day one of the Draft, the pundits labeled Darrius Heyward-Bey a bust, and then torched the second round pick, Michael Mitchell, as a "reach," as nobody would touch him until the sixth round.

The reaching, by those standards, would continue into day two, even as reports would mill about that Mitchell had been raising eyebrows in several other war rooms, and no, not just by Chicago.

All in all, is it safe to claim anyone is a bust before he even gets a chance to catch the ball? Or try to compare two players going to two different teams before anyone has done anything?

My personal favorite is people trying to compare Michael Crabtree to Darrius Heyward-Bey. The two teams that hold the respective players have had issues with passing for several seasons.

One reason is Alex Smith was labeled a bust himself, while JaMarcus Russell has been fighting off the label while trying to fight off a coach who didn't want to be there in the first place.

How about player quality surrounding these quarterbacks? The Raiders dealt with a leaky offensive line, a lack of players able to catch the ball, and some wildness issues from JR. In 49er land, the team got to see improvement once it was determined Mike Nolan had no clue how to coach a team.

Taking Vernon Davis to task and bringing in Isaac Bruce helped, and having a solid running game helps too.

But again, does any of that help determine how each player will play, considering both haven't even seen time in a preseason game?

Other factors could run rampant. Injuries, to both teammates or to themselves, could derail a good season. Ask the Raiders how much of an effect there was when Darren McFadden got hurt with turf toe. Or ask Bills fans how well the season went once Trent Edwards got hurt.

At the same time, it could take an injury to get some players to perform better...replacing an ineffective QB, such as last year with Kansas City.

The short of it is this: Don't count Oakland out simply because of how we drafted. These players could surprise you. I wouldn't go out on a limb and call DHB the next Jerry Rice...but I would give him the benefit of the doubt that he won't whine and quit like Randy Moss did. 


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.