Oakland Raiders: Don't Underestimate Draft Prospects Visiting Oakland

Ramone BrownSenior Writer IMarch 26, 2010

Now that the Senior Bowl, Combine, and pro-days are behind us, it's time for an event that is just as, if not more, important than any of the other events—something that is often overlooked and receives little attention.

It's time for potential draft prospects to visit teams for private workouts.

Every year, teams are allowed to have 30 prospects visit their team facility for private workouts and interviews.

The reason these workouts are often overlooked is because what happens in team facilities is an unknown. Prospects may conduct interviews, run combine-like drills for coaches, or may even run routes and catch balls from the team's QB.

Furthermore, it's easy for the media to miss what prospects are scheduled to visit the facility. And that fourth round WR prospect out of Florida or that third round DE prospect out of Wisconsin can easily slip in and out of the Raiders facility without anyone as much as recognizing them—a local reporter may even walk right past them without giving them a look.

And every year, at least a few of those players end up on the rosters of the teams they visited.

By following what players visit your team, you can better predict who they will draft, or at least what direction they are planning on going in the draft.

Take the Raiders for example. In the last 10 years, out of their 11 first round draft picks, there is only one who didn't visit the Raiders for a private workout—Michael Huff.

By some accounts, Al Davis was against drafting Michael Huff and wanted Jay Cutler who went four picks later, but Art Shell was able to convince him otherwise.

Last year, two first round receiver prospects visited Oakland: Jeremey Maclin and Darius Hayward-Bey. That made it pretty clear that the Raiders were planning on picking a receiver in the first round, and Michael Crabtree wasn't even being considered. Though most assumed we would pick Maclin, there were a few who predicted they'd take Darius Hayward-Bey seventh overall.

Michael Mitchell also visited the Raiders for a private workout last year, and some people actually predicted the Raiders would draft him—though I doubt anyone saw it coming in the second round.

Louis Murphy was also another among the 30 prospects who visited the Raiders last year, and they drafted him in the fourth.

Last year, out of the 30 players who visited the Raiders for private workouts, at least three of them were drafted by the team. That suggests any player who visits the Raiders for a private workout has a 1-in-10 chance of being drafted.

This year, at least two draft prospects have visited the Raiders facility thus far, and the good news is that they are both offensive linemen: Matthew Tennant (OC, Boston College) and Nic Richmond (OT, TCU).

The bad news is that neither is first round talent, meaning the Raiders may not be looking to draft an O-lineman with the eighth overall pick. Though with 28 days remaining until the draft, things may change if the Raiders bring in first round O-line talent like Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, or Trent Williams.

Matthew Tennant is expected to be the second center taken in the draft, a likely second round pick who may fall to the third.

Nic Richmond on the other hand is a 6'7'', 310 athletic offensive tackle projected to play the right side. He is expected to be drafted late between rounds five and seven.

Over the next four weeks, take note of every prospect who visits the Raiders facility. If they start inviting players like Taylor Mays and C.J. Spiller, it may be time to worry. If they continue to bring in O-linemen, we can be optimistic and confident that that's the way they will go in the draft.

Any prospect who visits the team may very well be a future Raider.


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