Oakland Raiders

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29 April 2010

Raiders Finish The Weekend Strong: 2010 NFL Draft Review

The Raiders addressed a major need with the addition of Rolando McClain, the middle linebacker out of Alabama at last Thursday’s draft. The overhauling of the roster was just beginning. The Raiders were able to have a successful draft for a few reasons, but mainly because they were able to zero in on their needs and address them.

With their second round selection the Raiders traded out of the 39th pick to gain additional picks and selected Lamarr Houston with the 44th pick overall out of the University of Texas. The 6’3 defensive tackle also played time at end, which will come in nicely to add more depth to a defensive line that was non-existent at times last season. Jared Veldheer, who could turn out to be, with Rolando McClain as the two key players in the draft for the Raiders was drafted out of Hillsdale College, a division 2 college out of Michigan. The 6’8 Veldheer displayed a great use of his size and skill set during his tour of senior games after the season.

Day three saw the Raiders continue to add more depth to a team that needs a shot of youth to not only bring healthier days, but healthier spirits. Bruce Campbell out of Maryland adds more depth at the offensive line position. In some peoples eyes Campbell dropped and could be considered a steal in the fourth round and would transition nicely to the right tackle position allowing Veldheer to compete for the left tackle position due to his size and quickness. Jacoby Ford out of Clemson will add help on special teams as the speedy receiver is adding to the trend of shorter slot receivers in the league being listed at 5’9 and 186 pounds.

As Darrel Revis, the New York Jets all-world cornerback asserted himself last season as arguably the best defender in the league, Nnamdi Asomugha, the 8-year veteran out of California has to be in consideration for the title of “best of the rest.” But with talks of moving in a different direction in terms of JaMarcus Russell, and a change in philosophy coming into affect, parting ways with Asomugha might be a little easier because of all the cap space he would save the team. With that in mind, three of the last four selections for the Raiders were defensive backs. Walter McFadden, Jeremy Ware and Stevie Brown. They also selected Travis Goethel with hopes of adding depth to their line backing corps. 

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23 April 2010

Raiders Shore Up Defense, Select Linebacker McClain

And just like that, after all the speculation, after all the scenarios that the analysts threw at you, you now have your pick Raider fan’s, a great one at that. The Raiders selected Rolando McClain, the 6’4, 250 pound middle linebacker out of the University of Alabama. McClain who started nine games as a true freshmen in one of the deepest conferences in college football, the SEC is now headed to the Bay Area to anchor a defense that has been one of the worse units against the run in the NFL.

The Raiders, who run the 4-3 defense as their base set, revolves around a strong middle linebacker. Many consider the middle linebacker as the “defensive quarterback” because they make most, if not all the calls for the front seven by adjusting linemen techniques and also assisting the outside linebackers in coverage shifts. McClain has been said to not only be a gym rat, but a true student of the game. He plays big, and hits even harder as seen in the National Championship game against the University of Texas.

This years draft is deeper than most with value across the board stretching down all the way to the fourth round. But there are not many impact players. The few that were there however happen to be on defense in what could go down as one the strongest crop of top ten defensive selections in recent memory, and McClain definitely stands alone as the top backer in this years draft. You could compare him to a Ray Lewis, Bart Scott type of backer, but lacks the side-to-side speed you would see in those two players. Sure, it is not fare to stamp that label on such a young player, but again, if there were to be one player that could step into the league and run a defense as smoothly as the two aforementioned players, this would be the guy to do it.

Al Davis hit a home run with his first round selection and there were options here. But as the first pick grew closer and closer, and the speculation of the Raiders being linked to Ben Roethlisberger quickly fading, reality began to kick in and the Raiders were in a position to not only pick for value, but you could also argue that at the eighth spot, the Raiders took the best available player overall. Sure you could toss back and forth amongst certain players, but again, in terms of need and value, this was a no brainier.

What To Look Forward To On Day 2

With the Raiders addressing a major need on day one, look to the Raiders to add help on offense. The addition of McClain, coupled with trades for Wimbley and Groves, two linebackers who are capable of being disruptive forces on defense, expect the unexpected with the Raiders here. Many top players that you could have argued as top fifteen, to late first round talents are still available ala Jimmy Clausen. There are at least four teams selecting ahead of the Raiders that could use a quarterback such as the Vikings, Buccaneers, Browns and possibly Eagles but also look for the Raiders to possibly add Sergio Kindle the strong DE from Texas or Everson Griffen, also a DE out of USC. Keep a watch for Taylor Mays to possibly slide into the secondary or offensive line help, which is also a huge need.

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21 April 2010

Should The Raiders Trade For Roethlisberger?

Commissioner Roger Goodell sentenced Ben Roethlisberger to a six game suspension to begin the 2010 season that could be reduced to four games if Big Ben displays growth and maturity from this time forward. So what does all that mean? That is a great question, and we will wait to find the answer to that question. However, according to Jason La Canfora of NFL.Com the Steelers have been in contact with at least two teams to participate in a possible trade. The St Louis Rams whom hold the number one pick overall and the Oakland Raiders. The Steelers had hopes to package a deal around Big Ben that would give them the number one overall pick and the chance to select Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford. According to sources that offer was rejected almost immediately. The Raiders, who have a track record of selecting via trade, draft or free agency embattled players, are now the only team that makes sense.

The package that was on the table was Big Ben, the Steelers current standing in the first round which is the 18th pick overall and surely more picks, for the Raiders 8th pick overall which would leave them in line to draft a quarterback, most likely Jimmy Clausen, or leave them in a position to trade up with the St Louis Rams for the first overall pick.

Considering the fallout that Ben is currently facing in Pittsburg, these rumors seem to all make sense, but again they are just rumors. But if the Raiders were to pull the trigger on such a deal, their draft and team philosophy would change dramatically. It would definitely bring an end to the JaMarcus Russell era, which got off to a rocky start to begin with. Russell has never found a grove in the Bay Area and the Raiders could use a strong signal caller. Sure, Roethlisberger has had his share of off the field issues. But you cannot deny his pedigree or work ethic. Teammates rave about his work ethic and his two Super Bowl Rings speak volumes.

This move would also change the whole perspective of the draft for the Raiders. If the trade were to play out as stated, with the 18th pick the Raiders could look to fine tune their roster rather than focus on need. Roethlisberger can have that much impact on a team that things that might have seemed like needs are suddenly not there. The receiving and running game would instantly be upgraded because now you have a perennial pro-bowler under center. A man of his caliber makes everyone better. The Raiders have a decent crop of young players and could use his on the field guidance. Which would leave the Raiders in a situation to take a lineman, which as stated earlier is deep, or even look to the defensive side of the ball. The Raiders could look to lets say a Taylor Mays who has been sliding for a while on many boards but would fill in nicely in a depleted Raiders secondary. They could look also at linebacker and offensive guard.

Again, this is all speculation, but if you were the Raiders it would be foolish to not entertain the idea. Al Davis has been apart of many crazy things, but if this has any hint of truth, this might turn Al Davis from the madman with no sense of direction to a visionary.  

Raiders Acquire Groves From Jaguars 

As we inch closer to the draft teams jump at the chance to bolster their rosters. The Raiders are no different, and as such have added DE Quentin Groves via trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars for what’s reported to be a 5th round pick. Groves, who was a second round pick, 52nd overall out of Auburn has not necessarily played to expectations, but maybe a change of scenery is exactly what is needed for this young outside linebacker. When grading trades like this you have to look into all aspects of the deal. The Raiders are parting ways with a pick that would not bring in as much value as Groves and he also fills an immediate need at the outside linebacker position. This is the second linebacker the Raiders have traded for this off-season, on March 14th they traded for Kamerion Wimbley from the Cleveland Browns.

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15 April 2010

Where Go From Here

As we sit just over a week away from the 2010 NFL Entry Draft, the Raiders are one of many teams that have been asking themselves this whole off-season, “where do we go next?” On the surface, this question seems pedestrian, ordinary and somewhat foolish. But when you ask yourself this question, and when you are the Oakland Raiders, many more questions are sure to follow.

The past ten drafts have seen the Raiders select five defensive players with their first round picks, four on the offensive side of the ball, and kicker Sebastian Janikowski out of Florida State.

Interestingly enough, the Raiders defense ranked 26th in offensive yards allowed, with 361 yards a game. So it is safe to say that the Raiders still need much more help on defense. On the opposite side of the ball, the Raiders have committed over $26 million dollars in 2010 to four offensive players, Robert Gallery (Who was selected as a left tackle but was switched to right tackle), Darren Mcfadden, JaMarcus Russell and Justin Fargas. Lastly, you have to ask yourself, what is the philosophy here? In what direction does Head Coach Tom Cable want to go? Is Tom Cable going to be here for the start to the season and if so will he finish? This is sure to be another exciting season for Raider fans thank to another season that will be ultimately be headed by Owner Al Davis. So lets kick off this wacky roller coaster ride with next week’s draft.

The Raiders hold eight draft picks with the first pick being eight overall. There are many directions that the Raiders could go here. There is need all across this team, but an interesting scenario could develop. Many mock drafts across the Internet, including our very own have the Raiders selecting help on the defensive line. They need help on the defensive line, but hopefully Tom Kelly will come back stronger then ever, and with a full season under his belt as a Raider, Richard Seymour could possibly stir things up and help solidify this defensive unit.

So what is the scenario? What happens if the Rams select Sam Bradford with the first pick overall? The Redskins pulled off a head scratching deal with the Eagles for Donovan McNabb so the need for a first round signal caller is not pressing right now. The next team that could possibly need a quarterback would be the Cleveland Browns at seven, but all things are pointing to the Browns heavily favoring Jake Locker of the Washington Huskies who decided to go back to school for his senior season. The Browns also need help on the defensive side of the ball so lets say they as well bluff on Jimmy Clausen. It would be hard to turn away from taking the chance on the Notre Dame signal caller. He has the poise and skill set to run the Raider offense. But what’s most impressive is his attitude. Again it is a long shot, but that’s why we are here, to stir some things up!

The Raiders also could use help on the offensive line, and defensive secondary. Again, in the next week many different scenarios will be thrown out there. This is such an exciting time for us writers, organizational personnel but most importantly you, the fan. Because for one weekend, optimism rules the worlds and every team feels that they are Super Bowl bound. With Al Davis running things still, who knows in what direction he will be going. But we will be here breaking down every selection.

2009 Oakland Raider Draft Selections
1. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland

2. Mike Mitchell, S, Ohio University

3. Matt Shaughnessy, DE Wisconsin

4. Louis Murphy, WR, Florida

4. Slade Norris, LB, Oregon State

6. Stryker Sulak, DE, Missouri

6. Brandon Myers, TE, Iow

2010 Oakland Raider Selections.
1. 8 (8)
2. 7 (39)
3. 5 (69)
4. 8 (106)
5. 7 (138)
5. 27 (158)
7 8 (215)
7 44 (251)

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11 October 2009

Embarrassment Comes With The Territory

As Raider head Coach Tom Cable watched the seconds tick off the game clock, you could tell that more was on his mind then just the loss at hand. Sure, not many people picked the Raiders to topple the mighty Giants; okay, no one picked the Raiders to defeat the Giants. But the Giants were banged up. QB Eli Manning was questionable to start and the defense for the Giants had taking numerous hits to start the season.

It is safe to say the game was over once the Raiders touched down at JFK airport. The Raider offense was limited to 123 yards, total. Raider QB JaMarcus Russell was sacked six times, three of which led to turnovers. He received no help from his offensive line, or anyone for that matter. RB Michael Bush was able to run in a 5 yard touchdown at the end of the 2nd quarter thank to a gift from Steve Smith, the Giants deep man on punts. The touchdown was a gift, wrapped, sealed and delivered, but no other gifts would be given. Russell went 8 for 13 passing and added 100 yards through the air. Justin Fargas and Michael Bush combined for 55 rushing yards, while Amad Bradshaw rushed for 110 on his own.

The disparity on the field was evident. Surely Al Davis did not make this trip to New York. Why would he? The one thing that has followed Al Davis is his reputation. A huge knock on Davis is that he cannot and will not handle criticism, at all. Why come to New York and witness a team that plays like class, but also is ran with class.

The final score was 44-7 in favor of the Giants, but the score was not indicative of how badly the Raiders played, or how excellent the Giants played. The Raiders were out hustled, out classed, and even out coached. They were embarrassed. After the game Raiders defensive end Richard Seymour noted, “We couldn’t stop anything, that's a bad feeling when you are out there and they are running whatever plays they want to. The third or fourth quarter I think they had their backups in the game and they were still doing whatever they wanted to offensively. There is no excuse for that and everybody has to look themselves in the mirror and say, 'I have to do a better job.”

That must be some special mirror with some special powers if it’s going to help this team win. The Raiders play host to the Philadelphia Eagles next week and this match up will once again test the Raiders defense.

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29 September 2009

Raiders Fall, More Ways Than One

Week 3 came and went as the Raiders fell 23-3 to a Denver Broncos team that surprisingly has started the season 3-0. Maybe the adage is true when you lose, it is not whether you lose, but rather how you lose? This could be true, but that all sounds like window dressing. The Raiders played uninspired football for a majority of the game and QB JaMarcus Russell looks worse with every snap.

Russell threw for 61 yards on 12 of 21 passing. The key in this whole equation, are the pair of interceptions thrown. Through the first three games of the seasons, the Raiders offense has coughed the ball up twelve times making Tiki Barbers fumbles with the Giants of old seem acceptable.

RB McFadden rushed for 45 yards on 12 attempts; his longest gain went for 15 yards. Michael Bush added another 22 yards on six carries. The Raider have looked pedestrian to be kind. They hung in with the Chargers, but amassed 366 total offensive yards. They escaped Kansas City with a win while only garnering 166 yards of total offensive yards. In short, the Raiders should be 0-3, but they will take the 1-2 to start with their heads held high.

The defense has looked better, but the acquisition of defensive end Richard Seymour if nothing else has opened the eyes of everyone, and has shown that one player is not the answer. This defense, if not team, needs a complete makeover. The season has just begun so lets save the trade talks and offseason moves for just then, the offseason. But it is hard not to look into the future and guess at what could help this team. The fan base is sticking to their team which they have always done. The question still comes up though, when is enough, enough? The Bay Area cannot be pleased with what their seeing.

The same questions arise with this team week in and week out. Was the departure of Lane Kiffin really a positive? Is JaMarcus Russell the quarterback for this team, and if so does he have the talent to show it? With the off the field issues building up for Coach Cable and his assault case still under investigation, when will the NFL step in and help one it’s most historic teams come out of the cellar? They say that there’s nowhere to go but up once you hit the bottom, but maybe the Raiders have just broke through the floor.

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22 September 2009

Two Weeks In, Not Much Found Out Yet

Week 1: 24-20 Chargers Over The Raiders

With all the drama that had been building up to the start of the 2009 campaign, the Raiders stayed competitive with an underachieving San Diego Chargers who at most played sub par. With much of the Raiders training camp cluttered with talks of off the field transactions and coaches acting as if they were working for Dana White of the UCF rather then working for Al Davis, owner of the Raiders, things did not look completely bleak. The offense netted 366 total yards while only allowing 317 yards to a Charger offense which, given the right opposing defense, and if the will to win is there that day, could look like Super Bowl contenders.

JaMarcus Russell completed 12 of 30 pass attempts for 208 yards adding a touchdown, but was hurt with two interceptions. Russell continues to look uncomfortable in the offense that Coach Tom Cable puts forth each week, but Russell who is still young continues to show flashes of ability. Darren McFadden and Michael Bush combined for 123 yards on the ground, while Bush added in a touchdown run.

The Defense played respectively. The addition of defensive end Richard Seymour paid off immediately who had 9 tackles and added two sacks to pressure  Philip Rivers who never really got things going. Rivers was 24 for 36 with 256 yards through the air and settled for a touchdown and interception while rushing for negative yards. The defense held LaDainian Tomilnson to only 55 yards on the ground and a touchdown, but with this increasingly rising trend of multiple backs Darren Sproles added 23 yards, but more importantly the deciding touchdown with 2:16 left in the fourth quarter.

Moreover the Raiders played good enough to win, but for some reason could not seal the deal. If this game is indicative of the rest of the season Raider fans should hold on tight and long for a roller coaster ride that might never seem to end.

Week 2 13-10 Raiders Over The Chiefs

Week two proved be a microcosm of the Raiders offense the past season or so. JaMarcus Russell never got into a rhythm throwing for no touchdowns on 7 of 24 passing and only gaining 109 yards through the air. Not quite the arial attack, but for some reason they were able to pull it out. Arrow Head Stadium is never an easy to play, players talk about the fierce winds that riffle through the stadium. But there was no wind to speak of on Sunday. What everyone is beginning to see is that maybe Russell is not quite the answer. The learning curve is still there, but that window is closing by the day. When you lose, or in this case barely win, you want to see progression more then anything in your players, especially your franchise quarterback. That progression has not been visible in a while, and many question whether it has been there at all. 

The Raiders defense looked vulnerable this week letting a 75 percent Matt Cassel throw for 241 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, they held Larry Johnson to under 80 yards and no touchdowns. At the end of the day however, only one touchdown was let up and Coach Cable will take that every week in hopes of the offense to come around.

After two weeks the Raiders find themselves in a favorable position. They can steam forward and use these two games as stepping stones to build off a defense that has not looked as bad as advertised, and also be optimistic that this offense will continue to “learn” and Russell will one day develop into the quarterback of “now” rather then the future.

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23 July 2009

IS GARCIA THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM?

Maybe he is just searching for that story book ending, finishing it where it all began? Maybe he wanted to complete his tour of U.S cities with a final stop in the Bay Area? Whatever has Jeff Garcia going these days; it is a breathe of fresh air for the Oakland Raiders and their fans.

Jeff Garcia has always been the underdog never the favorite. From humble beginnings coming out of San Jose St. and going undrafted and signing with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL before the 94 season, to leading the charge in Phillidelphia when Donovan McNabb was injured, no one has ever picked Garcia to lead a team to the proverbial promise land.

But Garcia who has amassed a 58 and 58 record as a starter during his ten year career in the NFL is not quite ready to concede to second string. "Not knocking JaMarcus, or anybody else on the team, but I just have a belief in my own ability, those things have me feeling that I am the best quarterback on the team." Jeff ; in regards to his place on the Oakland Raiders Strong sentiments for a player who was brought in merely as protection to the teams number 1 overall pick in 2007’s NFL Entry Draft, JaMarcus Russell.

But could the Raiders hierarchy have other plans in their future? No, of course not, but as we near training camp it is always fun to speculate. However, the signing should serve as a wake up call to Russell who in his early career has been less then stellar in his time as the signal caller. Russell has 15 career touchdowns and 12 career interceptions. Now consider that during the pass two seasons the league average for QB Rating was at 82.3 percent, Russell fly’s under league average with a QB rating of 73.9 percent.

Jeff Garcia on the other hand holds a 87.5 percent QB rating and four pro bowls to boot. Now please do not misunderstand what I am saying, Russell is still the starting quarterback, but with Tom Cable not in completer control of his coaching fate, stranger things have happen to Raider Nation. And honestly, would the offense really miss a beat? Players around the league marvel at Garcia’s work ethic, while Russell was more concerned with getting “properly compensated” holding out until mid september during his rookie campaign with contract disputes.

Complacency is always the death of teams, so look at the addition of Garcia as the Raiders striving to improve the team not only on the field, but in the locker room and the community. Garcia, a Bay Area native brings stability and a familiar face to a team that needs something, anything to make them relevant again.

Al Davis has always been one to create a storm, from questionable signings and draft picks, to hand picking coaches just to second guess them two months later. Maybe this time he got it right, maybe Jeff Garcia is the calm before the storm.

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15 June 2009

Former Dallas Cowboy DE Greg Ellis, Raiders Ink Deal

Greg Ellis (6' 5" 278 lbs), a former first round pick of the Dallas Cowboys has signed a three year deal to play for the Oakland Raiders. Terms of the contract have yet to be released. Ellis should add not only  experience to a defense that ranked 28th in total yards allowed per game last season, but versatility in that he can play linebacker or switch and put his hand on the ground.

Ellis was the 2007 comeback player of the year, and was named to his first and only pro bowl that year as well. He finished last season  with 36 tackles, 8 sacks and an interception. He has 634 career tackles while adding 77 sacks to his resume.

4 June 2009

Will Raider Nation Rejoice?                                   
                 
                 Raider Nation might be able to breathe a little easier this season after all the craze that was stirred up with the selection of Darrious Heyward-Bey with the 7th overall pick in this past springs NFL Draft. The playoffs might be a long shot for a team who has just come off a 4-12 record, and has their fan based mixed on their prize selection in this years draft, but respectability is not that far from being in the realm of possibility for Mr. Davis and his Raiders. With the bye week falling directly in the middle of their schedule this year this affords the team a perfect time for rest and the opportunity to regain strength for the tough finish to their schedule. Here is a look at the 2009 schedule and where I think the Raiders will win and loss this year, I am not a betting man so no spreads just wins and losses.

9/14- San Diego Chargers- Loss
9/29- At Kansas City Chiefs- Loss
9/27-  Denver Broncos- Loss
10/4- At Houston Texans- Win
10/11- At New York Giants- Loss
10/18- Philadelphia Eagles- Win
10/25- New York Jets- Win
11/1- At San Diego Chargers- Win
11/8- Bye
11/15- Kansas City Chiefs- Win
11/22- Cincinnati Bengals- Win
11/26- At Dallas Cowboys- Loss
12/6- At Pittsburgh Steelers- Loss
12/13- Washington Redskins- Win
12/20- At Denver Broncos- Loss
12/27- At Cleveland Browns- Win
1/3- Baltimore Ravens- Loss

                    The Raiders finishing the 2009 regular season with a 500 record and landing them at 8-8 is highly attainable. Sure this could be a stretch of a record but if you take a deeper look at the schedule, there are a few breaks that favor the Raiders. In the first half of the season I have the Raiders losing three of the first four games they play. But after a road loss to the Giants they welcome the Eagles, who yes have added fire power with the addition of WR Jerry Macklin with their first pick in this past springs draft, but questions still arise with whether Donavon McNabb will even being calling plays come this fall and if this speculation becomes reality who is going to break that huddle for the Eagles? Edge Raiders. After that the Raiders welcome in Rex Ryan and the New York Jets for what has been a dreadful trip out west these past few seasons for the New York Jets. Then they finish the first half of the season rolling with a win down in sunny San Diego thusly leaving them with a 4-4 record. After the bye the Raiders win back to back home games against the Chiefs  and Cincinnati  before having a short week and going to Dallas for turkey day which will unfortunately result in a loss. After returning home for a win against the Redskins, they split their last two road games picking up a loss in Denver and a win in Cleveland but finish the 2009 campaign with a home loss to the Baltimore Ravens. 
                  
                    Conisder that the Raiders have picked in the top ten in the NFL Draft five out of the last six drafts with the 2005 pick being traded to Minnesota in what would have otherwise been six out of the last six years in picking in the top ten, an 8-8 record would surely land them with a pick in the middle of the first round most likely between 13th to 17th overall. A marginal victory for a front office that has pieced together an offense which has the potential to become not only one of the highest scoring teams in the league, but also star studded with pro bowl caliber talent such as JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden and rookie WR Darrious Heyward-Bey. 
 
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7 May 2009

A second Opinion on the Raiders 2009 Draft

At first glance it seems as if Mr. Al Davis has left us scratching out heads again. Selecting a wide receiver in the top ten that many believed to have been a mid to late first rounder. And then selecting a safety in the 2nd round, whom many thought would surely be lying around on day 2 of the draft. However a closer look at the selections made by the Oakland Raiders show much upside and potentially could pay huge dividends down the road. Here is a look 2009 NFL Draft picks made this year by the Raiders. 
 
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland, Rd 1 pick (7) 6'2" 210 lbs
   Sure Michael Crabtree WR out of Texas Tech would have been the flashy pick, or even the sure pick. But days before the draft Crabtree's actions were taken in to account. He was seen walking around New York City with a huge entourage and many gave him the label of "diva" status. Regardless of the fact, Heyward-Bay is the fastest football player in University of Maryland history running a 4.23 40 during preseason drills. JaMarcus Russel has a new toy to play with and do not be shocked if Heyward-Bay defiles the learning curve and pays off immediately for the Raiders.

Mike Mitchell, SS, Ohio, Rd 2 (15) 6'0" 220 lbs
Most likely would have been around on day two of the draft, but his speed was too good to pass up. With the Raiders secondary leaving a lot to be desired this coming season Mitchell who is known for being a weight room junkie could get an early chance with special teams and see time increase on the field if he pans out the way the Raiders front office suspects. He finished with 212 tackles and 7 career interceptions.

Matt Shaughnessy, DE, Wisconsin, Rd 3 (7) 6'5" 266 lbs
Shaughnessy should provide help for a defense that finished just better then five teams in the NFL giving up 360 total yards and 24 points a game. With great size at 6'5" and 266 pounds Shoughnessy is a project pick. I just question overall strategy here because for a team looking to add fire power to a lackluster offense U. Oklahoma WR Juaquin Iglesias is still available which would have been a value pick here due to need and talent. And if the Raiders wanted to take a project pick here why not entertain the idea of Ramses Barden, Cal-Poly's all everything WR who went to the NY Giants.

Louis Murphy, WR, Florida, Rd 4 (24) 6'2" 203 lbs
The selection of Louis Murphy adds depth to an offense that needs a shot of adrenaline, but as stated earlier Ramses Barden and Juaquin Iglesias, two receivers I had rated higher then Murphy were available a round earlier and Matt Shaughnessy would have surely been available here. Ran a 4.4 40 at Florida's pro day, should be a decent intermediate threat for JaMarcus and company.

Slade Norris, DE, Oregon St, Rd 4 (26) 6'2" 232lbs
Ran a respectable 4.65 40 time at Oregon St. pro day but then pulled a hamstring right after. Had 18.5 tackles his senior year with 10 sacks which is key for a defense that needs all the help it can muster. Should transition nicely to outside linebacker in the NFL. 

Stryker Sulak, DE, Missouri, Rd 6, (199), 6'5" 251 lbs
Sulak was a solid contributer at the U Missouri where he started his career as a safety. 3 time All-Big 12 selection. Posted 55 tackles as a senior with 15.5 tackles for a loss and lead the NCAA with 6 forced fumbles.

Brandon Myers, TE, Iowa, Rd 6 (202), 6'4" 250 lbs
Not very effective in the passing game but should be an excellent 6th blocker for Darren McFadden, he blocked for Shone Green.
 
Overall Grade D+

6 May 2009
The 2009 NFL Draft Review

Just when you thought that that the Raiders were on the right track, they do it again and have one of the more “interesting” drafts in team history.  Saying that they drafted wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey too early is an understatement as was taking strong safety Mike Mitchell.  It appeared as if the Raiders drafted for speed and left the ability to play good football to the side when conducting this draft. It was yet another classic Raiders draft.

The following is a player by player look at the athletes that the Oakland Raiders drafted in the 2009 NFL Draft.  There is an overall grade for the Raiders draft at the end of this posting.

Darrius Heyward-Bey-WR-Maryland picked 1st (7th)
The Raiders really reached here in picking Bey especially when Michael Crabtree was on the board still.  Bey is fast and should give them the ability to stretch the field, but he is not as well proven as a guy like Crabtree and the Raiders may have reached.  If Bey doesn’t turn out the way that the Raiders hope, this could set them back a few years.

Mike Mitchell-SS-Ohio picked 2nd (47th)
This was one of the strangest picks of the entire draft.  The Raiders needed help at the safety position but with guys like Missouri’s William Moore sitting out there, it makes you wonder what the Raiders saw in him to take him that high.  Mitchell was thought to be a fourth rounder at best but the Raiders liked him so much, they took him much earlier than they should have.  He could be the biggest bust in this year’s draft.

Matt Shaugnessy-DE-Wisconsin- A project player that could develop into something in a year or two, Shaugnessy could come out of this draft as one of their better pickups.  He probably won’t contribute much in year one but could pan out for the raiders in his second or third year in the league.

Louis Murphy-WR-Florida picked 4th (124th)
This was the best pick of the draft for the Raiders and it’s possible that he could come out ahead of Bey when it's all said and done. But again, Murphy is a speed guy with average production on the field.  He does have skills though and just might be the answer for some of the Raiders troubles at wide receiver and could be a starter for several seasons to come.

Slade Norris-DE-Oregon State picked 4th (126th)
Another decent pick by the Raiders and one that could pan out in the future.  Norris has great speed and helps to bring some additional speed to this speed hungry defense.  He could be a future starter.

Stryker Sulak-DE-Missouri picked 6th (199th)
The Raiders went for speed again with Sulak but he will need some time to develop into a full time player.  They might end up bringing him in as a pass rushing specialist but will take some time to develop.  A decent pick for a sixth rounder.

Brandon Meyers-TE-Iowa picked 6th (202nd)
Meyers won’t be used as a pass catching tight end so much as he would be used as a blocking tight end.  There is going to be a lot of development before Meyers makes the regular roster, if he does, but he could be a good blocker for their running game in the future.

While their draft was a bit confusing, there is some light at the end of their long, dark draft tunnel that should encourage them at least on defense.  The did fail to take care of needs at the cornerback position and on the offensive line, but if the speedy Bey proves all his doubters wrong and he turns into the reincarnation of Randy Moss, this might end up being a draft that they can build upon. The odds are against the out of touch, meddlesome owner Al Davis though, the 2009 NFL Draft will likely be yet another futile example of his failed "vertical passing game" mentality.

Grade: D
By Bryan Dietzler