Day 1 Recap

28 04 2008

Who didn’t see this coming?

With the fourth overall pick in the draft, the Oakland Raiders selected Arkansas running back Darren McFadden. Even though Oakland is absolutely stacked at the position, Al Davis defied logic and selected one of the best running backs in the draft. Considering that the Raiders were 30th in run defense in 2007 and that Glenn Dorsey was surprisingly available, Davis could have made the perfect pick for Oakland. However, Lane Kiffin astutely noted that the Raiders have already invested big-time in Terdell Sands and Tommy Kelly to play the defensive tackle spots. Some analysts mentioned that Al Davis was looking for his own star running back in a division with Ladanian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson.

Whatever the reasoning was for taking McFadden, the Raiders must now make the best of the situation. The first order of business should be to trade or cut either Dominic Rhodes, Lamont Jordan or both. What is very intriguing is that Dominic Rhodes took a pay cut to stay in Oakland another year, and Oakland resigned Justin Fargas. It’s a very steep price to pay for two possible back up running backs. I don’t even need to bring Michael Bush into this discussion. Lamont Jordan is definitely an expensive and unnecessary luxury.

With our running backs in 2007, their success was mostly due to the offensive line scheme, as opposed to running back talent. This made our running backs interchangeable and replaceable amongst each other. That is why Lamont Jordan, Justin Fargas and Dominic Rhodes were all able to have several 100 yard rushing games. However, with McFadden in the fold, once the offensive line helps him to get into open space, he has the speed and elusiveness to take the play even further. Many draft pundits have noted that his legs go dead upon contact with defenders, but he is still capable of breaking a few tackles. Also, once McFadden turns the corner around the offensive tackle, it’s off to the races. McFadden may not be able to carry the ball 20-25 times in the NFL which means that our stable of back up running backs will be able to get more use.

During the second round, all of the top wide receivers and other positions were still available and had Oakland not traded the second round pick for DeAngelo Hall, we could have selected Devin Thomas, James Hardy, Trevor Laws or Quentin Groves. All players who could have helped the Raiders out much more than DeAngelo Hall will. The Raiders should have definitely considered trading into the second round in order to have selected Desean Jackson, Malcolm Kelly or Limas Sweed when they fell to the mid-late second round. A possible trade package of Fabian Washington and Lamont Jordan could have netted us a late second rounder.

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