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The Matt Schaub Situation

Raiders new starting QB Schaub address the media via Google images.

Last week, The Oakland Raiders acquired their starting Quarterback, Matt Schaub, from the Houston Texans for a draft-pick in the sixth round.

Matt Schaub was once the promising back-up for the Atlanta Falcons in the glory days of the Mike Vick Era. He was then traded to the Texans some seasons ago to become their starter.

In Houston, Schaub was a two-time pro bowler and had a QB rating in the top ten (Schaub Supporters won’t let you forget it). For the most part, Schaub was not an elite QB, but definitely above average as he lead the Texans to a few playoff births with the help of JJ Watt, Brain Cushing, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, and other key Texans’ Players. 

Many of us do not remember those days as vividly as we remember Schaub getting booed by him home crowd after an aparent injury. In a league based on ‘What have you done for me lately,’ I remember Schaub’s consecutive pick-six interceptions in four games last season, before being benched for a late-round rookie. 

In my eyes, even Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman are better options. Freeman was a one time pro-bowler, and Sanchez has an extensive playoff resume. Both are farther from 30 then Schaub (and Schaub is over 30). Even though both fell out of favor with their previous regimes due to off-field issues and on-field performance, under the age of 28, both guys have more potential for growth then Schaub.

The last capable starter the Raiders had was a young Jason Campbell who fell out of favor with the previous regime, and I think Sanchez or Freeman could have had a similar effect. Even after all Schaub and Freeman had been through, I am not sure either lost as much confidence as Matt Schaub did after fans booed him. Maybe they did not fit the scheme as well, or were not worth the hassle, but who the Raiders did not get is an entirely separate issue.

My problem is not with Schaub as a Quarterback. I understand he is the big, strong-armed quarterback capable of managing games and getting the ball to his play makers. I understand the familiarity with Gregg Knapp’s offense in Oakland, and I understand he is a more reliable option for managing defensive games, while being more predictable for the coaches to predict. 

Added, Schaub has been relatively successful in the league, possessing pro-bowls, playoff births, and a high QBR. However this is the Not For Long(NFL). Yes, there were not many viable options for a starting QB in Free Agency or the Draft, however that does not mean you give the job to the first semi-capable one that becomes available. 

The Raiders and Head Coach Dennis Allen have already gone on record as saying Schaub is their starter for this year and possibly years to come. I understand the Allen, Mckenzie, and Owner Davis have urgency for results this season, but their is no telling if Schaub is even capable of being the quarterback he once was.

Do we remember the last Matt the Raiders banked on, Matt Flynn? He was handed the starter job only to lose it in camp, despite being Reggie’s guy and having the highest salary of the other QBs on the Roster. I know Flynn and Schaub are not even close to the same player, but Schaub spent his own time as a back-up, and was only above average/solid/good for a few seasons with the Texans(that seems so long ago).

Schaub lost his job in Houston for good reason, so how can we simply hand this guy the job. Yes it is important for a QB a to handle adversity, but Schaub’s confidence seemed deteriorated after poor results and criticism from fans last season. If he struggles this season, even a little bit, the black hole is going to be even less forgiving, especially considering he is more pricey then any of the guys mentioned earlier.

My thinking is, why wouldn’t you want Schaub to come in and compete for the job? If he is truly capable of being our starter then let him go out and prove it to fans and , more importantly, his own confidence. Handing him the job is not going to do anything for his development. The Truth is Schaub has not seen much development over his past seasons. This last season we seen a huge digression which could have been a product of his team or it could have been the other way around.

Terrelle Pryor has asked for a trade, and I do not blame him. Many say the writing has been on the wall, and this was already a conclusion in process since Pryor fell out of favor with the regime. But why not let Pryor compete with Schaub? Even the undersized McGloin could give Schaub a run for his money, so why acquire Schaub to be your starter?

If Schaub was really the best guy and If he really wanted to be a Raider, why not wait for him to be released? The truth is, Schaub probably would have opted for Kyle Shanahan and the Cleveland Browns, but I don’t think they would have even named him the automatic starter.

Like I said, I do not blame Pryor for wanting out. it is hard to take hits and a beating for a team over a season and then hear they handed your job to someone who has not even beaten you or proven more capable then you. Does anyone remember how we beat Schaub at home a few seasons ago?

Whatever the case is, Allen and Mckenzie are banking a lot on Schaub this season. He may have been the best option for a starting QB out there, but that does not mean he is the best one for the Raiders. Schaub does not have much more potential. No one is even sure if he is the QB we saw last season or the ones from the previous few seasons. Either way, The Raiders will do well to invest in a young QB who can actually compete with Schaub and push him in training camp. Otherwise we may be looking at an uncontested mediocre quarterback with no future at the helm of our Raiders.

If Schaub fails then the Raiders, as a whole will fail. Losing Pryor takes away any other capable experienced option the Raiders have. Sure McGloin is a compeitor and a solid back-up but he is not the playmaker or gamechanger that Pryor is.

Hence, the Raiders are gambling on Schaub, and if he does not succeed then he, Allen, and McKenzie will probably all be looking for jobs next season. The Raiders will then be in exactly the same position they have been the past few seasons, looking for their QB of now and of the future.

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Don’t Sleep on Antonio Smith or Tarrell Brown

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Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie capped off the First week of Free Agency by signing two under the radar Free Agents Tarrell Brown and Antonio Smith. Although neither have the name recognition of Justin Tuck or LaMarr Woodley both could have just a big of an impact on the Raiders Defense.

Brown Comes from just across the Bay as a former 49er. Last season he did not have his best effort as he did not record an interception in 10 starts. However the two seasons before he started every game and recorded a combined 6 interceptions. Playing with the 49ers, Brown has the playoff experience which Raiders young secondary members such as DJ Hayden can learn from. 

Brown may not be a pro-bowler but he has a lot of value as a starter or coveraging the slot. He is an above average tackler and his one of Pro Football Focus’ highly graded corner. He should be able to play the man or zone coverages required of Tarver’s scheme. Best part about this deal is the deal is only one year and worth $3.5 million, meaning their is no long term commitment for either side. 

As for Smith, the former Texan and self-proclaimed ninja brings the defensive line some more versatility. With the Texans he was primarily used as a defensive end lined up in the 5 technique. With the Raiders he will probably be utilized in those sets on some of the versatile schemes utilized by the Raiders. The Pass Rusher will also line-up as a pass rusher in the 3-technique.

Sure Smith is approaching 33 years of age, but he played well for the Texans recording 5 of his 41 career sacks. He is also stout against the run and could be critical in helping Stacey McGee develop along the Raiders Defensive Line rotation. Smith will be a critical element of keeping the defensive line fresh and also being able to mix up fronts and stunts for oppossing offensive lines.

Overall, neither of these guys have much household recognition. Fortunately they continue McKenzie’s trend of adding high leadership and work-ethic players to aid the development of our struggling organization. It is not going to happen overnight so having veterans capable of playing well young players develop is critical. Brown and Smith can both play at a high level and will be critical elements of the defensive rotation regardless of who else is brought in via free agency or draft. The best part about both of these signings is they are relatively cheap and offer low risk to the franchise.

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Who is Left in Free Agency

Alex Mack is the Best Free Agent Still Available and should be on Raiders list still

Guess What? There is still a long way until the NFL and draft and even longer until the season starts. The Raiders have not been the figurehead to Free Agency as many would have hoped, but they still have more than 50 million in cap space, and plenty of needs along the roster.

Offensive Line Hoggies do not recieve a lot of recognition, so I am going to group them together.
Alex Mack- Mack was one of the best centers in the game last season, and at 28 years old is the best free agent left on the market. The Raiders could benefit from selecting him and sliding the wiz kid to guard. However, cleveland can match any deal made to him and he will probably want a huge deal making it unlikely he becomes a Raider.

Brian De La Puente-
The former saints center could be a nice starter to help sure up the offensive line. Has performed decent, but probably deserves starting money. If number is right, this Saint connection could become a Raider easily, as a guard or Center.

Donald Penn-
The former undrafted free agent has been a beast for Tampa over the years and has not missed any games. At 31, I am not sure if he is going to get any better, however he is probably the only capable Left tackle available. He has visited with the Raiders and indications are it has been a successful. Raiders can not afford to let him leave as they need a replacement for Veldheer.

Michael Oher-
Oher, yes the one from the movie, is still relatively young at 27. Even if the Raiders ink Penn, Oher would be a nice addition as a guard or solid depth. He has regressed some the past couple of seasons, but a change of scenery could benefit him.

Darryn Colledge-
the Boise State product has been a guard as Green Back Packer and Arizona Cardinal. He is far from a pro-bowler, but he is a servicable starter. At worst, he would be a solid option for depth. He has arms long enough to play tackle combined with enough speed and power to pay guard. He should not command anywhere near the 4 million he would have made with Cardinals, so the Raiders should come into play, especially with Reggie McKenzie’s connection to the former Packer.

Other Names-Zach Strief, Tyson Clabo, Eric Winston, John Jerry, Kevin Boothe, Davin Joseph, Uche Nawaneri, Richie Incognito

Secondary-
The Raiders need to address the Defensive Back field as they have yet to resign incumbants Mike Jenkins or Charles Woodson. Specifically they need to add atleast one or two cornerbacks to pair with D.J Hayden, as well as added insurance in the even Hayden goes down with injury. *As I wrote this, Tarrell Brown was signed for the Raiders. Great move, underrated cover corner familiar with the bay area. He will do well as a starter, but I would perfer him as a nickle Back and insurance policy to DJ Hayden. Raiders could still add another corner for starter purposes and a FS. Brown was a great start, but here are a few other guys.

Guys I like:
Mike Jenkins-
Raiders brought Jenkins in on a one year prove it deal. He played up and down but is worthy of another affordable deal. He is versatile and would give raiders some continuity they have been lacking. There are a lot of teams interested in the former pro bowler and versatile CB, so I am not sure Raiders will bring him back especially if they have not done so already. However he is the capable and versatile starter to compliment Hayden. He Brown and Hayden would make the corner position sured up for the raiders in the immediate future.

Walter Thurmond-
Thurmond is still relatively young and coming off a superbowl year. He was primarily a back-up which could lead to him getting over payed. He would still be an upgrade over the other Raiders Cornerbacks.

Antonio Cromartie-
Entering his 30’s Cromartie is no longer the player he once was. However, he is still scheme versatile, athletic, and a competitor. Cromartie doesn’t reflect the high charachter guys Raiders have targeted, but I’m sure Raiders could offer him more then anyone else, and I know he would not turn down one last pay day, as well as a chance to be back in Cali weather.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie-
He is by far the best corner available due to age and the fact he is coming off a great season with the Broncos. He did already turn down a 9 million dollar avg. deal from the Broncos so he may overvalue himself. Raiders may not fork out the money he wants, but he would be the best #1 corner Raiders could get, while forming a good duo with Hayden. Not to mention he can play former team Broncos twice a year. No offers from Raiders yet could change once raiders sure up needs.

Terrell Thomas-
By most accounts, Thomas was mediocre in 2014 after consecutive ACL injuries. He was a productive player before and could be an affordable nickle back for Raiders. He could reunite with Justin Tuck and prove he still has plenty left in the tank. He already made a visit so the mutual interest is there.

Other names- Rashaad Mathis, Asante Samuel, Champ Bailey, Carlos Rodgers, Dunta Robinson, Anotine Cason, Drayton Florence, Josh Wilson, Aaron Ross

*All of these guys have proven capable at a time. However, many of them are on the decline due to diminishing skill from increased age or injury. Could be training camp guys without a shot at making the roster and proving themselves worthy.

Safety Position
There are plenty of stzrts in this Safety pool. However many are their for injury concerns or dip in production:

Charles Wooson-
You already know why, and how much he means to our franchise. Proved he has plenty to offer a team in nead of leadership and playmakers. Numbers have to be write to bring in a guy closer to 40.

Chris Clemons-
Regardless if Raiders get Charles Woodson they’ll need a second safety to make sure he does not take so many snaps. Clemons is the best available as we speak. He has only missed three games in four seasons.

Nate Allen-
He has underachieved with the Eagles, but at 26 years old he is an affordable back-up option. We could hope he learns something from Playing under Charles Woodson a year.

Other Names- Usama Young, Roman Harper, Quintin Mikell, Kendrick Lewis, Thomas Decloud, Brandan Merriweather, Michael Huff

Defensive Line

Raiders announced signing of LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck yesterday. The two would still benefit from having a pass rushing pressence on the inside.

Henry Melton-
Melton was a pro-bowler and is a versatile passrusher despite being undersized. He is coming off injury and an off field arrest which could have made Raiders shy away thus far. Melton could really be useful replacing Houston as an undersized bass rusher on the inside. Give him a fat one year prove it deal.. Please!

Kevin Williams-
I have been very adament about the 6 time pro-bowler. He is approaching age 33 but he can be effective as a two down run stopper. He is better then Vance Walker or Patt Simms. With something left to prove, he could be the bargain Reggie McKenzie looks for considering their has not been a lot of interest.

Vance Walker-
Even if the Raiders can court one of the three guys above, Walker would still be an effective back up. He knows the Raiders defense and is capable of stopping the run.

Antonio Smith-
The former Texan is already visiting. Coming off a 5 sack season he can play the end position in a five technique or DT as a 3 technique. They could do a lot worse then the Veteran Smith, but he is not my first option.

Other Names- Terrance Cody, Patt Simms, Patrick Carriker, Robert Ayers

Inside Linebacker
Regardless of what you think about Nick Roach, The Raiders could use an upgrade on the inside, and Roach could be better utilized in his natural position as an outside linebacker.

Brandan Spikes-
Spikes is only 26 years old. He had a falling out with the Patriots, so why not come to the Raiders. He is a two down thumper, but the Raiders need that, especially if they utilize more 4 linebacker sets. I’m sure if the Raiders called, he would be happy to take their payday, even if it is only a one year prove it deal due to his injury last season.

Akeem Ayers-
He has started a lot of games for the Rival chiefs. If nothing else he is an affordable depth option to push Nick Roach.

ErIn Henderson-
Henderson has had his fair share of off the field incidents with 2 DUI arrests, allegedly. However, He can play and with little interest could be some real value for Raiders on all three downs.

Other Names: Dan Conner, Jonathan Vilma, Nick Barnett, Larry Foote, Pat Angerer, Desmond Bishop

Here is the full list of Available Targets :

Notice: I excluded QBs, RBs, and WRs because they have not been very high in demand. McKenzie is either waiting to address other needs and let their stock fall, or he would rather address those needs via the Draft in May.

Why Terrelle Pryor should not be written-off

Via Google Images, Pryor Scrambles away from Bears defender

The buzz around the Raiders is that the 2014 starting quarterback may not be on the roster. The Raiders did not do anything to dispell the myth at the combine, as they were interested in many of the top picks. Hence there are many reports indicating the Raiders are shopping Terrelle Pryor for a late draft pick.  Others suggest he may be cut if the Raiders can not find value for him on the trade block. Here are some of the arguments being made, as to why Pryor has played his last down for the Raiders.

The Raiders have not seen enough development in 3 years.

Why Does Pryor deserve another shot with the organization responsible for drafting him three years ago? Yes, the Raiders know what they have in Pryor, but the truth is he is still learning to play the position. He made a huge jump from his second season to the third, and I Pryor’s work ethic could be displayed this season as well.

Dennis Allen and Pryor don’t seem to get along.

Sure their were media reported drama here and there.Both sides have remained professional enough to not burn the bridge completely.The truth is, Pryor and Allen are both professionals and competitors wanting to win. I think the two men can put aside whatever charachter clashes they have to win ball games. The fact is, this is bigger than Dennis Allen. Mark Davis has his sights on a new stadium but more importantly winning. If Pryor gives them the best shot at that, then Mark should channel his inner Al and keep Pryor on Scholarship.

Pryor does not fit the Raiders scheme.

Maybe the Raiders do favor a quarterback with more traditional traits. Yet, mobile quarterbacks are the new way of the world. Pryor gives them an element to their offense that McGloin does not. His electric speed and size possess the playmaking ability the Raiders are desperate for. Take a look at the draft, even the NFL’s newest prospects do not posess the type of god given athletecism Pryor has.

Raiders have interested in Free Agent and Rookie QBs

This is fine. The Raiders have not had a franchise QB in years, so they should be exploring every option to fill their void. Pryor should be included as one of those options. He shouldn’t be written off even before training camp. He has enough potential and experience to atleast warrant a back up oppurtunity. Worst case scenario the Raiders could cut him after Training Camp, IF and only IF someone else beats him out.

Pryor is not an ideal backup

The argument here is teams want a backup similar to their starter so their is not two different offenses installed. My take is, don’t you want a Backup QB who can win games if your starter comes out? Pryor has proven his ability to impact games and that is the kind of quarterback I want if my starter comes out. Sure he makes mistakes, and he is not perfect, but he doesn’t need to be if he is a backup. Not to mention, after backing-up McGloin, Pryor said all the right things. He did not cause a distraction and handled the matter like a professional. Moreover, with the amount of mobile QBS in the league the Raiders need one of their own to give the Defense an honestly look week to week. How is it better to have a Matt McGloin as a back-up? Sure Allen likes McGloin better than Pryor, but does that mean he is a better back-up than Pryor. If McGloin is better then let him prove it camp.

It is best for both parties to move forward.

Really? How is it better if Pryor goes and plays well for another team? I guess most people are operating under the assumption that Pryor won’t play well on another team. I am not so sure on that, the jury is still out as the young man tries to improve his mechanics this offseason. Additionally,  I am sure Pryor wants the chance to bring wins to a franchise that drafted him and a fanbase that supported him. Pryor wants to be a starter, and the Raiders need a starter; that should atleast be enough mutual interest to warrant a competition.

In closing, the Raiders need a lot of help and should be exploring every option to make their team better. Pryor should not be written off as an option for this team moving forward. At least give Pryor another offseason of growth before writing him off as a Quarterback. The Raiders should allow him to compete with McGloin and any other options at Qb via the Draft or Free Agency. What is the worst that could happen? Pryor competes and wins the starting job, which forces Allen to play him, Again?

Snoop Dogg thinks the Raiders should keep Terrelle Pryor, while Vic Tafur, Raiders Beat writer thinks the team is likely done with Pryor. Where do you fall? Vote on the Poll

Why the Combine still Matters

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What is all the hype with the combine? Who cares what time someone ran, or how many bench presses someone has. Why hype up the combine?
As fans, we want to see players flying around making plays and touchdowns. We do not care if they can run around bags or throw on air.

Even In High School, I can remember the players that excelled in tee shirts and shorts. The guys who would have people buzzing about their athleticism due to plays made without pads. Once the pads came on, they were a completely different football player despite their athleticism. The people with 100 spare ratings were the same ones tapping out once they got hit in pads.

The combine is the same principle. Every draft there is a player who wows scouts and has a team reach for him based on the athleticism. Said player may not have success on the field just because they ran or jumped well at the combine (ask any Raider fan). Then teams are left with a draft bust and angry fan base.

Why bother with the combine at all, if the tests do not mean success in the NFL?

No these drills are not the end all be all determinate of a prospects potential career in the NFL. Prospects prepare for months at high end facilities geared towards the type of combine testing that goes on in Indianapolis. That is part of the reason why prospects fair so well.

So why bother? Prospects have already put together hours of game tape that show what they can do on the field. Why not focus for bettering the infield product rather than combine numbers.

The answer is simple. The combine itself is an overwhelming experience for the players. They are put into a four day gauntlet of position drills, measurable tests, academic tests, interviews, and medical exams.

As an employer, NFL teams want to see how their potential investments fair in a high stress environment

Pro-days already offer the same combine drills, testing, exams, and interviews that the combine offers. The difference is The combine makes players step out of their comfort zone. Prospects are not dressing in their locker rooms, working with their coaches, or playing with their teammates. You want to see how a prospect reacts to leaving their comfortable college stage and entering the media spectacle that is the NFL combine

From a competition standpoint, it does not get better than the The NFL Combine

How often do you get. 300 of the best football players in one arena? Almost never. I remember being in my own High School combines, I wanted to see how I faired against the best around. I wanted to see if the best were as advertised.

The same should be said about the NFL. Teams want the player who wants to be the best. To be the best, you have to showcase that within your peers. Combine is the chance for NFL prospects like Clowney and Watkins to show why they are the consensus best players of their position. I give more power to them for wanting to showcase their abilities in pos. drills and athletic tests. Just being around that many good players with NFL eyes on you can be nerve-racking, but It is preparation for the type of competition in the Dog eat Dog NFL.

The game is still based around athleticism.
Every team is always looking for the next best thing. They want the big receiver, the running QB, the tweener safety, the big corner, and the lighting explosive pass rusher. The combine is for teams to see every players athleticism on display. Some say these drills are outdated having been the same since the first combine. Well players have been rehearsing these drills for years, there is a reason for that. These drills and tests have stayed around because they are the best judgement of a players athleticism translated to the game of football.

The Interview process is the most underrated part of the Combine.

The combine in itself is a large job interview. While scouts have familiarized themselves with players all year, The combine is an opportunity for Players to get acquainted with Teams coaching staffs. This is a really underrated part of the process because a prospect needs to be put into a position to succeed.

Like any other job, a player has to fit the organizational culture. Coaches have to be able to see themselves coaching said prospect, and they have to feel said player will fit in their locker room. Otherwise it is hard for a prospect to develop, with no mutual feelings of comfort between the player and organization. Not to mention today’s heavily media driven society means fans and media are more connected to players than ever. Teams are investing a lot of stake into these draft players and interviews are key to making sure a prospect is mature enough to handle the jump from amateur to professional.

The combine is the bridge between being a collegiate athlete and becoming a professional Football player.

It is not just a test of athleticism, personality, health, or football IQ. The NFL Scouting Combine is a small test to see if a player has what it takes to survive the multiple aspects of being an NFL football player. NFL teams want to see if prospects can handle the distractions and put an impressive product on the field.

In closing, The NFL Combine is not going anywhere. There is no magical way to predict how a player will transition to life as an NFL player. No matter how many tests there are, outliers will always disprove the system with successes and failures. Being successful in the NFL is a daily feat and no test can accurately access how a player will translate in the professional field. Either way, The Combine and the spectacle it has become, serves as the start to the spectacle that is NFL life, where eyes are watching you no matter.

Raiders should have eyes on Reciever in 14′ Draft

Watching the AFC Playoffs, and watching 3 division rivals play for a Superbowl is rough. As I watch the Broncos, Chargers, and Chiefs I realize how undermatched the Raiders really were. The Raiders offense lacked the playmakers to compete against those teams. The Chargers have Antonio Gates and Eddie Royal, The Broncos have Demarius Thomas, Wes Walker, and Knowshown Moreno, and The Chiefs have Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe.
For the Raiders, recievers Denarius Moore and Rod Streater flashed potential, but they still lack the ability to consistently dominate a game. The combination of Raiders Recievers were mediocre at best. Streater caught 900 yards, Moore caught 600 despite injuries, and Holmes caught 400 towards the end of the season.

Bottom Line: Regardless of who the Raiders have at Quarterback, The Raiders need an explosive gamechanger around him. The Raiders need to adress the receiver position sometime between rounds 1-3 of the draft. Young Tighte Ends Rivera and Kasa flashed potentional, but could also benefit from an outside threat who can be relied on for big 3rd down catches. Here is my anaylsis of this draft classes’ recievers. While Sammy Watkins seems to be the conseus #1 reciever, this is still a very deep draft class of pass catchers. If they miss out on Watkins the Raiders can still get quality later in the draft.

1. Sammy Watkins-Clemson

Sammy Watkins is only 6-1. He isn’t the massive target that AJ Green or Julio Jones were. Watkins can change the game. He has the versatility to play the outside or inside position. His effortless acceleration makes crisp routes, and big plays down the field. He can take the ball anytime he touches it rather it is a return, screen, or run play. Besides his advance route tree I think Watkins possess a lot of maturity unlike Moore. I think he is the most NFL polished reciever in this draft and who ever the Raiders have at QB will be better of this guy. Even the most pessimistic Raider fan can not argue him being drafted at 5, but ideally the Raiders would love to grab him and another draft pick via trading down in the first.

2. Mike Evans-Texas A &M

Mike Evans is a monster 6-5 posession style reciever. He has the size Reggie Mckenzie likes for his west coast offense. Evans has been compared to Vincent Jackson, but he is still raw. He makes big plays, but there are stretches when he is ineffective. Whoever drafts Evans will have to allow him develop his route running skills. Some Team will probably fall in love with Evans for the middle-late first round, so it is unlikely he will be a Raider. I think the Raiders could do better adding one of the more polished receiving targets

3. Marques Lee -USC

Marques Lee was probably one of the top receiving targets in last years draft. He won the Biletnikoff award as a junior, but followed it up with a disappointing senior year. Lee has a good combination of size and speed, and showcased that with 118 yds & 2 tds in his last game as a Trojan. His production and route running should translate to the next level. The Raiders could be very happy if he is on the board when they select in the 2nd round.

4. Allen Robinson

At 6’2, 211 lbs. Allen Robinson can grab balls out of the air. From Penn state, the reciever has a continuity with Matt McGloin. He had back to back 1,000 yds receiving, however, the knock on him is he doesn’t do anything spectacular and he has had some drops. The Raiders will have a tough decision between him and Lee in the 2nd, but Robinson will be considered.

5. Brandin Cooks- Oregon St.

128 receptions for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns are Cooks stats in 2013, as he was named the nations best reciever. He draws some comparisons to Tayvon Austin because he is undersized. At 5’11 186 Cooks is undersized, but he is also the biggest threat in the open field. If he falls to the 3rd round he could be an absolute steal. His speed and play-making ability could command attention from Streater, Holmes, and Moore. Cooks would add another dimension to the Raiders offense, so I could even accept the Raiders drafting him in the 2nd.

6. Davante Adams- Fresno State

I don’t care what anyone says, there is something about catching 24 touchdown passes in a season. Davante Adams did that in 2013. Yes he did it with an NFL QB and a Down-field system. However, Adams is an explosive down-field threat. His speed and size allow him to make plays on the ball. He could go anywhere between the late first and early third round. The Raiders need someone who has a nose for the end-zone. Adams is a local head and would be the down-field threat Raiders fans would love.

7. Kelvin Benjamin- Florida State

Benjamin is sure to have someone fall in love with him. He is a 6’5 reciever with enough speed to get down the field. He is coming off a national championship, which is a benefit of playing with a heisman winner. He could be as low as Mike Williams or as High as Vincent Jackson. Someone may reach for him in the 1st rd, but he should probably have enough upside to be worth a 2nd rd pick.

8. Jordan Matthews- Vanderbilt

He only played in the toughest college football conference, but Matthews might be a sleeper pick. At 6’3 he can make plays on the ball, and drops are uncommon for Matthews. He has a 2nd round grade according to CBSSPORTS.com and he could fall to the early 3rd for the Raiders.

9. Odell Beckham Jr. – LSU

Beckham won an award for having the most yards in all of football. He is raw, but his kick returning ability should have him climb up draft boards. At 5’11 205LBs he doesn’t have elite size, but his hands and route running ability are underrated. The Raiders desperately need a game-changer in the return game, and someone to stretch the field. Beckham could be that answer in the 3rd, as he averaged 19 yds a reception last season.

10. Jared Abbrederis – Wisconsin

Despite shaky quarterback play he had a 78 reception season in 2013.  At 6’1 he doesn’t have great size or jump off the tape, which will probably hurt his status compared to others in the draft. He does make plays and is one of the most underrated prospects according to SI.com. He can make plays and if the Raiders should take him in the 3rd or 4th rd.

Best of the Rest:

Paul Richardson- Colorado

Bruce Ellington- South Carolina

Donte Moncrief- Ole Miss

Mike Davis- Texas

Jarvis Landry- LSU

Martavis Bradley- Clemson

Cody Latimore- Indiana

The Result: I am old-school, I like my Raiders recievers fast and able to stretch the field. I can live with adding a dynamic play maker at #5 by drafting Watkins. However, if they select a defensive player with #5 then there are plenty of options in the 2nd round. Lee and Robinson are probably the best players available if they are available at the top of the second. I like Lee despite the track record of USC receivers, he has enough production and upside to be the raiders #1. Cooks or Adams could also be considered at the top of the second round because of their dynamic play-making ability. I like the dimensions either of those guys add as a compliment to the Raiders Receivers Corps. If the Raiders do decide to hold out until the 3rd round than Cooks or Adams should be the no brainer pick if either are available. Outside of that, Beckham could also be a great value selection in the 3rd round because of his special teams ability. Some of the other receivers are bound to fall and the Raiders have other needs, hence they may just wait until the 3rd round and select the best available. My Personal favorite is Adams. Adams is a local out of Fresno State, and you can not teach 24 tds. I don’t care what anyone says, the Raiders need someone who has a nose for the endzone. He might be raw, but I wouldn’t mind the Raiders selecting a defensive player #5 and getting Adams in the 2nd rd.

 

Images via Google Images

Pryor and McGloin deserve another Off-season

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The Quarterback position is the toughest position in the NFL. When a team succeeds than the QB gets the credit, and when a team loses they usually take the blame. A QB can be loved one week and hated the next. There are only about 90 QB jobs in the NFL, so it is a position based on the results.

Translated to the Raiders, the quarterback position embodies The Raiders season. At times, Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin have showed ability to compete and make plays at this level. Other times, they have looked over-matched and over-ratted. Raider Analyst Rich Gannon and Raider Beat Writer Vic Tafur have both said next year’s starting QB is not on this roster. Last week, I was going to write that the Raiders QB shouldn’t be drafted in the higher rounds. Since, my status has wavered, but I still don’t think the Raiders answer is the high rounds of the draft.

The Raiders came into the season knowing they were salary-strapped, which limited the talent on the squad. The Raiders brought Matt Flynn in hopes that he could manage the game, and not hurt the team’s chances of winnings, despite the limited amount of players around him. When that failed, They started Terrelle Pryor in hopes that he could succeed despite his make-shift offensively. They hoped Terrelle Pryor could be the explosive play-maker, even-though McFadden and other guys were hurt. Then they brought in McGloin, hoping he c0uld be the intangible leader and get the ball out quick despite McFadden, Moore, and other guys being hurt.

The idea is, The Raiders have set their quarterback’s up for failure, all season. They have hoped that McGloin and Pryor would be able to make magic with a limitation of ingredients in their playmaker pantry. Both of these guys are young quarterbacks with limitations, but the Raiders have hoped they would be able to have success in spite of their terrible circumstances. McGloin and Pryor have been expected to do a lot with a little.

I want to see what these guys can do with a full set of playmakers around them. I want to see what they can do in a position where they can actually succeed. I want to evaluate if they can be successful in propelling a playoff team rather than a bottom feeder.

Pryor made leaps and bounds last off-season, admiting he still is just learning the position. I want to see if he can make the same growth after another off-season. I think the play of McGloin may signal that the organization is sour on Pryor. He has been in the organization long enough, and maybe he doesn’t deserve another season of evaluation. However, Pryor admitted he didn’t play the position until two years ago. He is still learing how to be a quarterback, and I think he can still develop with another year. Pryor has the leadership and confidence that you want in a Quarterback. He has some of the best god-given ability in the NFL. I think Pryor wants and can give more to the organization that took a chance on him. Even if he fails to progress, his contract ends next season and both can move on.

As for McGloin, if this guy is the intangible hard-worker and leader, then I want to see what he can do after an off-season of NFL preparation. The Raiders have already invested five NFL starts into McGloin, so he needs another offseason to prove he can play at this level. McGloin is undersized, he was the underdog walk on, and he probably will be an underdog next season. If McGloin possesses the leadership and work ethic the organization says he does, then I want to see if he can translate that into success. Maybe five starts is enough, but even if he fails he can be cut like any other non-drafted rookie.

I think both of these guys have flashed enough ability, surrounded by a lack of talent, that they deserve another season before the judge is out. I don’t think the Raiders need to draft a Quarterback in the top rounds. They have already spent giving these guys a season of experience. It is time to give them an off-season for progression, and hopefully they can actually be set up for success.

I will agree that there is a great possibility neither of these guys are the answer. I do think there needs to be more QB competition next season. I just don’t think it should come from the first or 2nd round of the draft. I prefer for the team to sign a veteran free agent, or draft a developmental project not named Tyler Wilson. Either way, Pryor and McGloin can be cut after training camp, but I think they deserve another opportunity to improve in camp.

The Failed Experiment

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On Monday, The Oakland Raiders said goodbye to the Matt Flynn era which only lasted about 3 preseason games. After an unimpressive outing against the Redskins, Flynn was demoted to third string quarterback. Only a few days later, the team released him, and coach Dennis Allen said he wasn’t quite sure why it failed but it failed and it was time to move on.

Initially, when the Raiders traded for Flynn he was rated pretty highly by many in the football world. Fans hoped he would be the second coming of Rich Gannon. However, even from the teams OTAS people wrote about how unimpressive the Raiders QB’s were in general. The sighted many of Flynn’s duck passes and lack of arm strength.

The Flynn experiment failed because Matt Flynn is merely a gamemanager. No one said this guy was going to come in and be Peyton Manning and sling the ball around. Rather people cited his I.Q. and knowledge from backing up Rodgers as his call to duty.

Well he may have a good I.Q the fact is that only gets you so far in this league. It is hard to ask someone to manage a game when he lacks the dominate playmakers around him. The Oakland Raiders young receivers have been inconsistent at best, and the offensive line has been banged up all season. It was unfair to ask Matt Flynn to go out and make plays when his whole career has indicated him incompetent at doing that.

This is the same guy who was beat out by Jamarcus Russell in college, Russell Wilson in Seattle, and Terrelle Pryor in Oakland. He didn’t get beat out by these guys because they were smarter than him. He lost his job, because those guys had the playmaking gene that he lacked. They had the swagger and confidence that Flynn could only dream of.

Therefore, The Matt Flynn expirrement failed in Oakland for no other reason than Matt Flynn. The Raiders new what they were getting when they paid for him, yet they failed to surround him with a situation he could succeed in. They expected Matt Flynn to show the kind of Playmaking ability he has lacked his whole career. Even at LSU the guy didn’t win a national championship because he carried them there.

In this league Knowledge gets you nowhere but in analysis seat next to Jessie Palmer and Tim Hasselback. At the end of the day, a quarterback is supposed to make the plays and the throws to help there team win. If your unable to make plays, if you lose your confidence, and you have a poor attitude well then you are on a fast track to free agency.

I understand, Matt Flynn cannot control his god given talent or the talent of the players around him. However, there’s a reason why an Undrafted rookie beat him out for the number 2 QB spot. Theres also a reason why the bills or jaguars aren’t jumping to get this guy.

Flynn failed to control the factors in his hands. He failed to maintain any confidence and failed to have a positive attitude. Any Quarterback must possess those to traits, which is why he ultimately failed as a starting NFL QB.

Flynn’s fortunate that opportunity knocked twice for him. He missed both so I’d be suprised if he ever has another chance to start. Even his old team the packers have denied any interest. His third opportunity will be as an ESPN analysis next to Jessie and Tim. Either-way, his one start has already netted him millions of dollars, which is more opportunity that a lot of Quarterbacks get at the highest level.

Corner Competition

The Oakland Raiders defensive Backs took turns getting picked apart last season. Throughout the season guys got, hurt, guys got signed, yet they were all interchangeably bad. This season the Raiders completed a complete overhaul of the entire secondary in hopes of reversing this culture. In The process they drafted a player in the first round and signed a few veterans with experience and a lot to prove. This unit has so much swagger that they practice with Blue Balls because there harder to find in the light

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Ideally, The Raiders hope that this new found swagger will change the dynamic of the defense. So lets assume that DJ Hayden turns out to be exactly what the raiders drafted him to be. If Hayden fully recovers and is able to translate his game to the professional level then he should be able to seize a starting spot at corner.

After that, the Oakland Raiders brought in a couple of savy veterans whom they hope will play chip on their shoulder.

Tracy Porter is a fimiliar face to Dennis Allen as the two worked together in New Orleans. Porter’s athletecism and ball skills have kept Porter in the league. His gambles, injuries, and tackling abilities lead him to the bench and a third team in three years.

Michael Jenkins was once a big time draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys who was expected to be a lock down corner out of USF. Initially Jenkins had plenty of success as a starter, but soon offenses began to pick him apart and he fell out of favor with Dallas.

Both guys have NFL starting experience. Both guys have made plays at the highest level of the game. Each has a slightly different skill set, but both are capable of being starting cornerbacks. One of the two is just going to have to stand out by playing with the bigger cheap on its shoulder.

Personally I’m gunning for Jenkins because he possess a bigger all around skillset. He has unique size and speed to match up in zone or man coverage. Jenkins does lack the ball skills and ability to create turnovers which is Porters strength, but I think the raiders defense could use the versatility and consistence.

We won’t even know who the winner will be until these guys start wearing shoulder pads instead of shorts and tee shirts. I want to see which one of these cornerbacks has more confidence after suffering a lack of success. The one with the bigger chip will be the one contributing on sunday. Who are are you taking to start at corner? I’m sure your happy as I am that it won’t be Ron Bartell LOL

Not so tight end

Don’t hold your breathe, the Oakland Raiders tight end position is filled with joe schmoes that will probably never be big time players. The Raiders will need someone to start for them on Sunday afternoons.

The tight end position is especially crucial for the Oakland Raiders because they lack a dominate force on the outside. Last season, Meyers was able to accumulate 80 receptions, from the tight end position, but he bolted to Giants for a bigger paid day. The current players on the raiders roster lack any real NFL experience or production.

What The Raiders do have:

David Ausberry is a wide receiving prospect out of USC whose lack of experience at blocking has held little production, in his first few seasons.

Richard Gordon has been on the field primarily as a blocking tight end. He has the most experience of the group, but his questionable receiving skills leave much to be desired.

Then there are the two rookies the team drafted. Nick Kasa out of Colorado is a converted defensive end prospect. His collegian production and blocking ability have many hoping his recieving skills will improve.

Michael Rivera out of Tennesse is an interesting prospect whose size lead to many TD receptions at receptions. Most of his production came when he was motioned outside, and his blocking skills have become liability.

As a whole the Tight end position leaves much to be desired. All of the four players possess potential, and the skill sets remain to be an enigma.

Ausberry possess the most well rounded skill set and highest ceiling. His route running ability and hands add versatility to the Raiders line up. Ausberry’s struggles to become consistented have been noted, but I along with a lot of people hope he can live up to his potential. His size alone makes him capable of being the red zone target the Raiders have been looking for. Another year of experience should aid the young tight ends blocking ability.

If Ausberry is able to have a successful season he will be the dependent reciever any of the Raider quarterbacks could utilize. Having a solid tight end will definitely open up the outside for Moore deep and streeter or Criner intermediately. Ausberry’s reciever skill set will make the defensive have to honor his receiving threat more than the other players on the roster.

The only thing that will hurt David Ausberry is his suspect blocking ability. The Raiders have made it known they will pound the football and if Ausberry is unable to block, Gordon or Kasa will gain those snaps. Meaning, he can’t be consistent or efficient if he is losing snaps because he can’t block. But if the competition does dicatate an increase of receiver skills than David Ausberry might be fighting just to stay in the league. Either way, if the Raiders can’t find production out of one of the Tight Ends, it is gonna be an even longer year for the Raiders Offense and whoever is QBing it.