Thursday, March 6, 2008

Al will draft who?

By Rick Richardson - Self proclaimed Raider expert

With the fourth overall selection in the 2008 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders select….Darren Mcfadden, running back from the University of Arkansas. A few cheers and several groans later, a slow creeping optimism will be felt by even the most pessimist of Raider fans. It is the annual rite of training camp. Is this the pick that I would want or think that is best for the Raiders? Not by a long shot. The Raiders have much bigger needs, but needs are not what Al Davis typically went after in the draft until recently. The maverick in Al always went after the best athlete available. A view that Jerry Jones owner of the Cowboys would later share. With the recent return to “we don’t rebuild, we reload” philosophy being shown by Al, I believe that is the pick he is going to make. Al loves the stars, and Mcfadden definitely has that star potential.

Analyzing recent moves it looks like Davis realizes that occupying the helm of the Raiders is a finite job. His health has slipped recently along with his legacy. In every corner of the press he is being portrayed as a man that has lost his gift for the game, if not his marbles. That is hard to take for anyone, and it makes me think that Al is going for broke (no pun intended), to reclaim the “Greatness of the Raiders”. Is he overspending? Probably, but there are only so many free agents, and only so much time when health concerns start to rob us of the illusion of immortality. At 78, Al doesn’t want to wait for the 5 year plan. Who would? And the free agents available are what they are; they are the only free agents available.

The same holds true for the draft. Left Tackle is the most pressing need, but Left tackles rarely step in and dominate immediately like Joe Thomas did last year. For every Tony Boselli and Orlando Pace, there are a dozen like Tony Mandarich. At the next level they slip. It can be said that every position suffers from this, but I think along both lines of scrimmage it is more prominent. The line requires incredible strength and size, and I fear that this is where steroid testing sometimes returns more than a few behemoths back to mere mortals. Left tackles and linemen in general are best found in the lower rounds. Free agency is where you splurge on a proven left tackle if he becomes available.

Mcfadden will probably end up being a nice pick. He has pretty good talent, although I am not sold on his overall ability. He is compared to Marcus Allen. The only similarity that I can see is his versatility. Marcus could quarterback also and had great receiving hands. But Mcfadden seems to have weak legs. He will need to be paired with a workhorse back in a lightening and thunder type of situation. Michael Bush might be a good compliment. Last year I advocated for Adrian Peterson. Not that I am not happy with Jamarcus Russell, but I thought he could help us win now. Comparing Mcfadden to Peterson is like comparing apples to oranges. Adrian is explosive and powerful, while Mcfadden is more finesse. In the end Mcfadden will probably have a longer career because Peterson is on the Earl Campbell career plan of doling out punishment at a heavy cost, but I would take seven years of “wow” over 12 years of pretty good any time.

The best thing the Raiders could do is trade down and pick up multiple picks. They don’t need another high draft pick eating up the cap, and have many holes to fill. But on draft day Al will go for the splash.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're having a great offseason so far, but I don't know why the Raiders would draft a running back after just re - signing Rhodes and Fargas, with Bush healthy as well.

They still need a left tackle, I was hoping for Flozell Adams, but now hope they draft one. Bill Parcells said last year that 1st round running backs fail as much or more than any other position.

Anyway, the main thing is Al is showing why we're loyal; because, whether successful or not, he is always trying to make a great team.

March 17, 2008 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger MoRaider said...

Hi anonymous,

You are right on all points. I wish they wouldn't draft a running back, but it is my gut feeling. I watched Micheal Bush in college quite a bit and really wanted him to come out early before he broke his leg. Needless to say I think he will be a very good back for a few years. We certainly have bigger needs.

Left tackle is a glaring need, and I would hate to rely soley on Kwame Harris at this crucial position. The market here is very thin. Drafted left tackles are hit and miss. Long looks much like a stud, but so did Gallery. I worry about steroid testing bringing some of these guys back to earth when they hit the NFL. "Disclaimer" I am in no way saying that Gallery or Long are in any way connected with steroids. "End disclaimer"

Your right, you have to give Al credit for trying. Even the harshest of critics have to give him that.

Thanks for commenting!



March 17, 2008 at 11:39 AM  

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