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Westsider Rider

Monday, April 30, 2007

2007 NFL Draft

Welcome to the Black Hole Jamarcus

With much of my time taken up by the Lakers I did not have much discussion of the Raiders as well as the NFL draft which took place over the weekend. The draft is always an event I look forward to as college football fan, and with the Raiders holding the #1 pick it made it even more important for me than usual. While I can't say I'm upset about the pick of Jamarcus at #1 there are some concerns I have about him. I would have preferred taking Calvin Johnson at #1 and addressing the QB situation in the second round but at the same time because of the horrific display that the Raiders called an offense put on last year I understand why the team did not want to mess around and drafted what they believe is the franchise quarterback that was so desperately needed. Jamarcus peaked at the right time saving his best play for the end of the year, he has great arm strength and enough mobility to get by so I am happy to see him in the Silver and Black.

The other big news on Day 1 from the Raiders standpoint was the trade of a 4th round pick to Detroit for Mike Williams and Josh McCown. Williams was a star at USC but has done nothing in the NFL, there are a lot of reports that he has consistently shown up out of shape and is not willing to do the work that is necessary to succeed in the NFL. I really don't care about Williams because if he doesn't want to play that's fine the Raiders already have Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry. The key part of this deal was getting Josh McCown, who only has one year left on his deal but will be crucial for the Raiders this upcoming season. Prior to Saturday the Raiders had Andrew Walter and Josh Booty as QB's on their roster so the job is definitely open and I am penciling in McCown as the starter now. It's extremely rare to see a rookie QB succeed in the NFL and having McCown will buy enough time for the Raiders to develop Russell and not expect immediate dividends.

The second trade, but bigger one on Sunday was the Raiders traded Randy Moss to the Patriots for a 4th round pick. Although on the surface it doesn't look like an even trade, the Raiders had to make a move and get rid of Moss because he was becoming a cancer in the locker room. Also it will give the Raiders some cap relief.

The Raiders draft picks are as follows:

1st, 1- Jamarcus Russell, QB, LSU
2nd, 38- Zach Miller, TE, Arizona State
3rd, 65- Quentin Moses, DE, Georgia
3rd, 91- Mario Henderson, OT, Florida State
3rd, 99- Johnnie Lee Higgins, WR, UTEP
4th, 100 - Michael Bush, RB, Louisville
4th, 110- John Bowie, CB, Cincinnati
5th, 138- Jay Richardson, DE, Ohio State
5th, 165- Eric Frampton, S, Washington State
6th, 174- Orenthal O'Neal, FB, Arkansas State
7th, 254- Jonathan Holland, WR, Louisiana Tech

I like the Zach Miller pick a lot, he played great for Arizona State and was considered the 2nd TE available in the draft behind Greg Olsen. Quentin Moses was considered higher before the season started but did not play as well as he did his junior year, this could be a very good pick for the Raiders at this point. Johnnie Lee Higgins has put up some good numbers at UTEP and he can be a valuable asset in the return game as well. Should be a good complement at WR to what the Raiders currently have. Then came day 2 which started out with a bang in my book as the Raiders drafted Michael Bush the RB from Louisville who declared early as a junior. He broke his leg this season and was unable to workout. He probably should have stayed in school but he decided to make the jump and I'm ecstatic the Raiders were able to grab him in the 4th round. If healthy he would have been a 1st or 2nd round pick, the injury concerns are there but in the 4th its a great pick.

Looking across the league I really liked what the 49ers, Vikings and Bills did in the draft. Patrick Willis is a stud, and trading back up to get Joe Staley at 28 was a very good bargain. Add Jason Hill in the 3rd round and the 49ers probably had one of, if not the best first day's of the draft. I think they also got two very good late round picks in Tarell Brown from Texas and Thomas Clayton from Kansas State.

The other draft I really liked was of the Minnesota Vikings. Getting Adrian Peterson at #7 was a steal for them and then in the 2nd round they were able to get Sidney Rice the early entry WR from South Carolina who had been falling on the boards but at 44 it was a great value. Then in the third they were able to grab Marcus McCauley from Fresno State who probably should have gone a bit higher as he did not play as well this year as he did last year so his stock dropped but it could be a steal for the Vikings. Also liked the Rufus Alexander pick in the 6th round.

The Bills also did a good job on day one getting Marshawn Lynch at 12 who should be able to step in and fill the void now that Willis McGahee is gone and Paul Posluszny is a solid pick in the 2nd round. Getting Trent Edwards in the 3rd round was a steal as he was rated as the #3 QB by some teams, and was the 3rd in my book. His production wasn't as great because he played at Stanford but I believe there will be many teams kicking themselves down the line for not taking him.

Drafts I didn't like were by the Titans and Eagles. The Titans had many needs coming into this draft and safety was not one of them. So it was a surprise they took Michael Griffin, who was a reach even at pick #19 in the first round. WR was a glaring need for them as well as CB. With Robert Meachem and Dwayne Bowe on the board or even Aaron Ross as a CB that could return kicks the Titans went after Griffin.

The Eagles traded out of the first round in a good deal with the Cowboys but ended up making a questionable pick in the 2nd round by taking Kevin Kolb as the third quarterback ahead of John Beck, Drew Stanton and Trent Edwards. Kolb is a good QB but I don't believe is as good as the other three QB's previously mentioned. We will see how he adapts to going to a new offense for the first time as his high school head coach was hired at Houston and Kolb followed him there, so he has essentially been playing pretty much the same offense for 8 years. But he will have plenty of time to learn as Donovan McNabb is still the man in Philly. So another draft has come and gone and now there is nothing left on the football landscape until camps open for NFL and college. My main concern is getting Jamarcus in to camp on time as he will need all the time he can to get accustomed to the NFL.

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