Monthly Archives: May 2013
Jamarcus Russell’s comeback story has gained interest because the former number 1 pick has lost 50 lbs. since he first started training for the NFL again. At 265lbs, Russell is at the same weight he was at the NFL scouting combine where he was able to capture many eyes including the late Al Davis.
Even though he has been out of the league for three years, Russell is still an intriguing prospect because he is only 27 years old. The guy did not exit the league because of his god given size, mobility, or arm strength. Rather Russell has been labeled one of the biggest busts ever after weighing in at over 300lbs and falling asleep in meetings. However, in his comeback attempt Russell and his trainer Jeff Garcia want league representatives to know that this is not the same Russell. They went on to say that Russell is willing to sit behind and learn from another veteran QB in the NFL if their is a team willing to have the new and improved student.
Garcia has documented Russells comeback in a series of videos. In the videos Garcia constantly tests Russell’s mind by watching film with the young player and going over NFL plays/terminology.
As a Raider fan who has watched Russell’s documented comeback, I can say I would like to see this guy put on the pads. I am not saying that he should be given a roster spot, but you can’t tell me there are many guys who look like a defensive linemen but are able to move like him. I have trouble convincing myself that john doe from a small school has a better shot at making an NFL roster than Jamarcus Russell. Scouts who seen this guys Pro Day will testify that he has god given ability and arm strength that can not be taught. Even though Russell had minimal success in the NFL, he was able to compete at the highest level of amateur football in the SEC, and he was able to beat out current Raiders QB Matt Flynn at LSU.
The fact of the matter is some guys just are not ready for the NFL out of college. I am not using his struggles with weight, purple drink, or illness in the family as a cop out for his lack of success. Frankly, I am still bitter because he should still be the franchise qb of my Oakland Raiders. But If it took being labeled one of the biggest busts of all time to motivate Russell, than fine, but at least he finally starting to get it. He is finally addressing his questionable motivation and work ethic and trying to put his tools to use and redeem his name. I only hope there is a franchise out there willing to give this guy a shot, because now a days so many teams would rather stay away from circuses. If not there is always the CFL or AFL who would probably love to give him a shot.
Russell says he would be willing to give the CFL a shot too. Either way, America is a place that loves second chances and comeback stories. So if Jamarcus is successful in his, I’m sure there will be plenty of people showing him support. I just hope for his sake, his comeback has more success than Ryan Leaf, another catastrophic bust whose in jail.
Reggie Mckenzie has received much praise for his work in the NFL Draft, after he was able to add a few picks in the draft via trade. Mckenzie was able to draft ten players after starting the draft with far less. The raiders high turnover rate has also left room on the roster for 12+ undrafted rookies, but the overall theme from Mckenzie and the Raider’s draft was competition.
At the top of the draft, The Raiders selected D.J. Hayden from the University of Houston. The rookie has been a huge story as he has been able to recover from an extremely rare football football injury. As for the football field, I think Hayden brings a variety of skills to the Oakland Raiders. His combination of size and speed make him a valuable defender in zone or man coverage. His instincts combined with his explosiveness give him the tools to be be an elite corner. If Hayden’s durability isn’t and issue, his work ethic and pure ability could make him the next shut down corner and a steal in the Draft. Reports from mini-camps have shown that Hayden has clearly been the best defensive back on the field.
After trading down in the First round, the Raiders were able to reclaim another 2nd round pick. With the pick they selected Menelik Watson from Florida State. The tackle has an interesting background where he came to the states for basketball. His limited football experience has made this pick a gamble. But his size and athleticism had many people giving Watson a first round grade in the pre-daft. This is a pick Al Davis would love, and Watson’s athleticism adds another element to the Raiders Offensive like that is looking to continue improvement. While little wiz and Valdheer have two of the positions on the offensive line on lock, the other three positions are up for taking. Watson could be the anchor needed to protect the right side of the offensive-line if he continues to learn the game and is able to adjust to the strength of the next level.
Linebacker, Sio Moore from Uconn was drafted by the raiders in the third round. The Self proclaimed best linebacker in the draft has shown that he has the ability to rush the passer and drop in coverage at the collegian level. The confident linebacker adds a tenacity and swagger to an already improved line-backing core. The Raiders hope that this guy will be able to rush the passer in both 3-4 and 4-3 looks. The linebacker will give competition to the free agent addition backers, Roach and Malava, but he will also improve the Raiders special teams.
Tyler wilson out of Arkansas was selected in the fourth round. The quarterback was graded as a high pick until a letdown senior season due to a coaching change at Arkansas. The quarterback adds a skill set different the Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryror,and possess enough potential to atleast compete for the starting job. Raiders Beat writer Jerry Mcdonald has said Wilson has looked better than previous raiders rookie’s Proyer, Russell, Walter, and Tuisosopo. The quarterback continued to impress media members with his accuracy all around the field, and his command of the huddle.
Overall, I think the Raiders maximized the amount of potential competition with their first four picks. They were able to select four players at key need positions who can become building blocks for them. Eventhough I would have liked to see them select an impact pass rusher or pass catcher, I think Mckenzie adressed other key positions. Hayden and Moore seem like they can be two potential impact players from the get-go, While Watson and Wilson seem like to players with very high ceilings. Overall the Raiders did a good job of adding competition to their roster by selecting players at good value positions. However, their real abilities will not be confirmed until they are in pads and on the field on Sundays.