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.





Chad Johnson in Silver and Black?

21 04 2008

Will Al Davis come and get him?

Disgruntled Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson has stated that he will not play for the team in 2008, but he might be interested in the Raiders. In 2007, the Raiders did not have a primary receiving threat and one of our best receivers, Jerry Porter, left for a big contract in Jacksonville. However, in the 2008 off season the Raiders signed Javon Walker to a HUGE contract even though he has had numerous knee problems throughout his career. Also, Drew Carter was signed, and looks to continue his solid performance from Carolina. Adding Chad Johnson would definitely help our wide receiver corp.

Trading for Chad Johnson would only bring about past memories of the Randy Moss trade. The Raiders paid a steep price for his two years of service, and sent him to New England for next to nothing. Moss was limited by injuries, but he was also very lethargic on the offense once he realized he could not help the Raiders win. As we saw last year, all Moss needed was the proper motivation in order to keep him playing on a high level. There were questions about Randy Moss’ ego when he came to Oakland, but he was fairly low key during his stay. Chad Johnson has an enormous ego, but it would be embraced in Oakland much like in the Randy Moss situation. Having Chad Johnson on the Raiders gives Jamarcus Russell an enormously talented receiver. In fact, we would be a very dangerous team on the offense. Chad would take a double team whenever he is on the field and that would leave guys like Walker and Curry open to make plays. Even our tight end Zach Miller would be a bigger threat on the offense. This would be combined with our punishing group of running backs keeping the defense honest. The Raiders offense in 2008 would be very dangerous.

Probably the most important question of this whole situation is how the trade would be accomplished. In most cases, a trade for Chad Johnson would probably have to include a low first rounder or several second and third rounders. But in the Raiders case, a trade for Chad might involve the swapping of first round picks with the Bengals. The scenario could play out like this. In the 2008 NFL Draft, the Dolphins select Jake Long, the Rams select Chris Long, the Falcons select Matt Ryan and with the fourth pick, the Raiders have Glenn Dorsey at their feet. Cincinnati has long needed a defensive tackle to help with their run defense (sound familiar), they came close but a trade for Shaun Rogers fell through. They see that Glenn Dorsey is still on the board and the Raiders are looking to trade down with a team who might want McFadden or Vernon Gholston. A trade for the Raiders’ fourth pick and Fabian Washington is completed with a swap of Cincinnati’s ninth pick overall and Chad Johnson. Cincinnati could get their defensive tackle of the future and the Raiders could still get theirs (Sedrick Ellis).

One problem with a Chad Johnson trade would be his huge contract, but I’m sure the Bengals would have to take care of the bulk of salary. But in the future, his contract would provide quite a sizable salary cap hit for the Raiders. A small prize to pay for his talent.





Al Davis chooses YOU!

4 04 2008

Al Davis

Who will Lane Kiffin Al Davis draft in the first round on April 26th? Lets take a look at who he has drafted in past first rounds.

2003

Nnamdi Asomugha – One of the best cover corners in the league, even if he took a couple years to blossom. An outstanding pick by Davis. Now if we can lock him up with a long-term deal.

Tyler Brayton – Played marginally well but alas, he left for Carolina this past offseason.

2004

Robert Gallery – Hmmm. A huge bust at left tackle, but our offensive line was in complete disarray the past couple of years. Under Tom Cable, he has blossomed as a starting left guard. He has a future there.

2005

Fabian Washington – Another highly-touted corner who has failed to perform to expectations. Now with the acquisition of Deangelo Hall, he needs to be shipped out pronto. Hopefully for a third or fourth rounder. Maybe we can package him in a Dallas trade down deal? They do need a corner and he’s solid.

2006

Michael Huff – Huff performed well in his rookie season as a starter, but he has failed to record an interception. There seems to be a trend in picking defensive backs. But that all ends with one of the youngest secondaries in the league. Gibril Wilson will move to SS, freeing up Huff to move to FS. Hall and Asomugha will lock down each of their receivers. Who will Jay Cutler through at on opening day? Asomugha or Hall, such a tough decision.

2007

Jamarcus Russell – We await this gunslinger’s fate. With Javon Walker, Drew Carter and Ronald Curry as wideouts, it shouldn’t be too hard. And possibly Chris Henry, anyone?

2008

Chris Long – Hopefully.

Analysis
Davis’ tendencies on draft day tend to be to select flashy players with sub 4.4 40 times. He also doesn’t necessarily select players whom fit a need for the Raiders (e.g. Fabian Washington). For this reason he might select Darren McFadden, which would be detrimental to further developing the team in 2008. With the current glut of running backs in Oakland, we need to cut, rather than draft them. He could also draft Vernon Gholston since he had an awesome combine, which would be fine since it feels a need. Other than that, its fingers crossed when the Raiders come to draft.