Monday, January 5, 2009

Raiders Should Add a Tiger in 2009

By Rick Richardson

It is very apparent that the Raiders desperately need to upgrade the offensive and defensive lines in order to return to the playoffs next year, but a case can be made for taking a wide out with the first pick.

The progress the Raiders made in the last two games of the season was nice. An impressive win versus an up and comer in Houston, and a come from behind win against a team fighting for its playoff life helped inject a little hope in the Raider Nation. There was something positive to take from just about all aspects of the two victories. The line played solidly and the youth movement at wide receiver paid off with some needed if not too late production from someone other than Tight End Zach Miller.

Building on that momentum for next year the Raiders now start the daunting task of making the right selection in the 2009 NFL draft. Michael Crabtree might be the consensus top wide out in the draft by most scouts, but the Raiders may be inclined to lean toward Jeremy Maclin’s unmatched explosiveness when they begin to breakdown game film, even if Crabtree were somehow still available. Maclin has very good hands and will shoot up draft boards after teams get a gander at his combine workout. He has a rare gliding, controlled explosion not often seen. With Johnnie Lee Higgins outstanding production in the punt return game this year it is hard to imagine, but Maclin would probably step in and unseat Higgins as the Raiders punt returner day one. Maclin is that special. If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing this kid’s jets, think Devin Hester of 2007 in the return game. Imagine a kick return team with Maclin and Miller/Higgins keeping opposing special teams coaches up at night.

Maclin is more than just a special teamer. The red shirt sophomore ended the season with 102 catches and 1260 yards and 13 touchdowns to follow up last years 1055-yard performance. Maclin can make all of the catches and would bring the deep threat back in an impressive way with explosiveness that will make match up problems at the next level an every Sunday occurance.

The Raiders are closer than most might think, and adding a special talent at the number 7 spot in the 2009 NFL draft is a must. Mr. Davis loves speed and explosiveness, and Jeremy Maclin fits that bill. Many people speak of the big three turning a team into an offensive dynamo. Great quarterback, great running back, and a great go to wideout. Maclin could complete the trio.

Player profile courtesy of the official athletic site of the University of Missouri.


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