X

Bruce Campbell Leading the Oakland Raiders' Offensive Line Cosmetic Changes

TommyCorrespondent IIIMarch 5, 2011

Bruce Campbell showing his athletic abilities at the 2010 Combine
Bruce Campbell showing his athletic abilities at the 2010 CombineScott Boehm/Getty Images

Earlier this week, it was rumored that right guard Cooper Carlisle was not expected to return with the Oakland Raiders next season. After watching the 34-year-old get pushed back constantly, all I could do was jump up and down in excitement.  

On Thursday, it was announced that left guard Robert Gallery was not returning to Oakland either. As a fan of Gallery, I was slightly disappointed. I loved his long and messy hair, this tattoo-filled arms, his "Raider Swagger" attitude. However, I continued to read the article and realized that his appearance was not worth what he was asking.

Gallery, a good player, was asking for $8 million—way too much for a player that only played in 14 games in his last two seasons. In addition to Gallery being incredibly injury prone, his replacement, Daniel Loper, was able to step in nicely and help the Raider Nation forget the fact that our best offensive lineman was out with yet another injury.  

To go with both of our guards not being expected to return, center Samson Satele has been on the hot seat for most of his career. He has great potential, but has difficulty dealing with the larger defensive tackles in the league.

Being in the AFC West, with two of the three defensive schemes having their biggest defensive tackle line up right across him, he has to learn to stand his ground. After two seasons, Satele has not shown that he's capable of doing what he was expected to do.

Satele was temporarily replaced by 6'8" rookie Jared Veldheer. After miscommunication with the quarterbacks and weak left tackle play, Veldheer was kicked outside and told to block the blind side of Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski.

Not a terrific player, Veldheer held his own and served as a good enough left tackle. However, with shorter than normal arms and not enough speed to block off the speed rushers, Veldheer will not have a long career at left tackle.  

On the other side of the offensive line is 31-year-old Langston Walker. Walker is a humongous player, standing at 6'8" and weighing over 360 lbs; it's no wonder why Al Davis, a man known to love the intangibles, loves him.

However, his huge figure doesn't exactly translate into great line play. He has flashes where he absolutely mauls people, but at this point in his career he needs to be replaced. At 31, a player should show his full potential on every play, not every other play.

Last season, Bruce Campbell wowed scouts as he ran a 4.85 40-yard dash and benched 32 reps of 225 lbs, great numbers for a player filled with potential. "Analysts" lined up to mock the Raiders and how they would waste their first round pick on a player who only got attention at the combine.

The Raiders flipped the script and drafted the tackle in the fourth round. They soon moved him to right guard and, as my favorite rapper J. Cole said, "had him feeling like Master Splinter."  

With the season over and the veterans expected to play elsewhere, it's time for Bruce Campbell to step up and turn around the Raiders' offensive line, and more importantly the Raiders franchise.

After he's practiced and been groomed to be a right guard, I'd be shocked to see Campbell play anywhere but right guard. He is a good pass blocker, while his run blocking is the suspect of his play. However, like Walker, he shows flashes where he can absolutely eat up defenders. The good thing is that Bruce is in his early 20s, not his 30s like Walker is.

That still leaves weaknesses for the Raiders at center, left guard, left tackle and right tackle.  

In the draft, I'd be shocked to see the Raiders draft anywhere else but offensive line. The trending topic for the Raiders has been center Stefen Wisniewski. As much as I would love to pair Stefan up with his uncle Steve, I doubt he will be there by the 48th pick.

However, Jake Kirkpatrick from TCU and Kristofer O'Dowd from USC aren't huge drop-offs from Wisniewski. Drafting any of the three will help out the Raiders.

For left guard, look no further than John Moffitt from Wisconsin. I wrote about him in another article, talking about his ability to perform. As the starting left guard, Moffitt led the Badgers to over 3,000 rushing yards and nearly 50 rushing touchdowns. Pair him up with Darren McFadden and the world will witness McFadden rushing all the way into the record books.

There have been numerous speculations that the Raiders will go out and sign or trade for a stud offensive tackle. Many times before, I have seen writers here on Bleacher Report express their desire for the Raiders to go get Baltimore Ravens tackle Jared Gaither, a player who is obviously disgruntled with his situation in Baltimore.

Gaither is an incredibly underrated star player who can protect Jason Campbell's blind side for years to come. Going out to get Gaither and having him play left tackle can make Veldheer shift to right tackle, a place better suited for a player such as him.

This is all wishful thinking, but I know with some smart moves, Davis can put this into action. He has already expressed that he desires Bruce Campbell to be starting somewhere on the offensive line. With a few other moves, Davis can help the Raiders' offensive line become the hard-nosed bullies that put fear into the best of defenses like the legends before them.  

I don't know about you, Raider Nation, but a starting offensive line of Gaither, Moffitt, Wisniewski/Kirkpatrick/O'Dowd, Campbell, and Veldheer sounds like a pretty great lineup for years and years to come.  

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.