Tom Cable's Big Secret

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst IMay 27, 2010

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 20:  Head coach Tom Cable of the Oakland Raiders watches from the bench during warm-ups prior to the start of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Shortly after the draft, Tom Cable spoke to reporters about just how well the draft went.

The attention suddenly turned to the run defense. Middle linebacker Rolando McClain and DT\DE Lamarr Houston were great picks and were sure to help turn around a horrible run defense.

Then Cable threw Raider Nation a curve ball. He told reporters that Houston, a defensive tackle last year at Texas, would be moved to defensive end.

The obvious question from there was, "What will the Raiders do about the defensive tackle position?" To that Cable said, "I have a secret weapon that everyone will like at defensive tackle."

That made everyone in Raider Nation, including myself, wonder who that "secret weapon" could be.

Anyone on the roster to me wouldn't be considered a secret. That would simply be a young guy stepping up. Draft picks aren't secrets either. Not only has the signing of John Henderson not happened, but big-time free agent signings are hardly a secret anyway.

I then saw the list of undrafted free agents and found my man: Kellen Heard is Cable's big, secret weapon. At 6'6", 355 lbs., Heard is a huge man with a mean streak. He is also very athletic for a big man.

This left me to figure out what a man with all these qualities is doing undrafted. After doing some snooping, I found that what caused Heard to be undrafted is also what makes him the perfect Raider: He is a renegade by two definitions.

Definition one of renegade is a deserter from one faith or cause to another.

Heard has demonstrated that since he was in high school. He committed to the University of Miami but ended up going to Texas A&M. After four years there, he got himself released from his scholarship and went to Memphis where he was moved to the offensive side of the ball. That surely had an impact on his draft status. 

Definition two is an individual that rejects lawful or conventional behavior.

Heard displayed that in his play in 2006. Colt McCoy had just thrown an interception and Heard cleaned his clock after the interceptor had already been tackled. His aforementioned mean streak was also on display.

In no way do I condone such tactics, but Albert Haynesworth was much like this early in his NFL career. I saw him step on an opposing offensive lineman's face at the end of a play. Once he started to control his inner rage, an All-Pro was born.

We don't know if he will become All-Pro, but Heard has all the tools to help the Raiders stop the run. He is a man with tremendous talent and has just never been able to fit in anywhere. He looks and sounds like typical Raider material.

Heard definitely passes Al Davis' "get off the bus test." This is also perfect in the sense of a hungry big man coming to Raider Nation as we know what can happen when big men get big contracts.

You may ask, "Why do you think so highly of this situation?" You are clearly thinking of all the picks and big-time free agents the Raiders have picked up over the years with no result.

I love that this is a no-lose situation. If Heard doesn't work out, he's just an undrafted free agent. 

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