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Oakland Raiders (Last Year: 4-12)
It just can't be Christmas without a Christmas tree, and you can't have an NFL Draft without the Raiders in the top 10!
I feel very sorry for all those Raiders fans out there because your team is very much doomed. Al Davis is one of the worst owners I have ever seen. He's a horrible evaluator of talent and he overrates triangle numbers, specifically 40 times. I have a hard time seeing the Raiders making the most logical pick at No. 4. This team really doesn't have that many needs, but the talent that is there doesn't knock my socks off.
Nevertheless, let's get right to the Raiders draft strategy with their first pick in the draft:
Jake Long: I feel like the biggest splash in free agency to affect the draft certainly was signing Kwame Harris to a 3 year, $16M deal. I don't think Harris is better than Long whatsoever, but when you make this kind of investment in a player he certainly has to feel a need. You don't pay that kind of money, then draft a tackle in the top five. I feel like the Raiders think they are set at tackle, thus Long is not an option. Do I think selecting Jake Long would be a great move? Absolutely, but I wouldn't have inked Harris.
Sedrick Ellis/Glenn Dorsey: There is a huge value in this league for big-time pass-rushers at the three technique. I think Dorsey is slightly better than Ellis. But when you make a $50M contract with a player at that position (which I think that's what Tommy Kelly is) then you don't draft another one in the top five.
Another reason why I don't see it happening is because it would be a great pick, and that is not Al Davis' cup of soup.
Vernon Gholston: They have Derrick Burgess, who certainly has some talent left in the tank, and he's only 29, so he has quite a ways to go before he loses his speed. Right defensive end is not a need here. I don't see this pick happening - then again, Al Davis keeps us on our toes.
Darren McFadden: Well, for someone who loves 40 times (Phillip Buchanon, Nnamd Asomugha, Fabian Washington, Stanford Routt, Thomas Howard, Quentin Moses, Johnnie Lee Higgins, and John Bowie), Davis certainly must love Run DMC's 4.27 unofficial at the combine. Yeah, they have LaMont Jordan here, but I definitely think he is a cap casualty and is cut after the draft (like the Panthers cut Keyshawn after they drafted Dwayne Jarrett). This offense needs a play-maker, and McFadden brings that ability to the table, though there are concerns. He might not be very durable in this league; he'll take a lot of hits with those thin legs. He's a better inside runner than Reggie Bush, but he still doesn't look comfortable with the idea. Mike Mayock on the NFL Netwrok showed gametape of how his legs go dead on contact.
McFadden's a risky player to draft this high, especially at the running back position which has extremely little demand in the NFL these days. But it seems like the pick Al Davis would make because he loves athletic ability in his play-makers. I said Chris Long to the Fins was the biggest lock of this draft; McFadden-Raiders is the second lock I have in the 2008 Draft.
Where else will the Raiders look now that they don't have their second (DeAngelo Hall) or third (traded last year to Patriots to trade up for Florida State tackle Mario Henderson)? I think it would be a good year to pick up a defensive lineman late. Jason Jones, Kendall Langford, Jeremy Thompson, and Louis Holmes would all be solid options at defensive end available in Round 4. If they are looking for a tackle, I think they'll consider DeMario Pressley, Letroy Guion, Andre Fluellen, and Chris Norwell.
Another position they would be wise to invest in late is offensive guard; they really don't have much here (Robert Gallery and Cooper Carlisle). Mike McGlynn, Robert Felton, Heath Benedict, Oniel Cousins, and Fernando Velasco would all make sense late if they can get these players. Cousins and Velasco also provide versatility because they can both play center.