Forget the yards per attempt. Forget the happy feet in the pocket and the leg injury. Derek Carr is worth every penny and he hasn’t won the Raiders a championship or NFL MVP, yet. Carr and the Raiders seemed poised for both until Trent Cole sacked the Raiders QB and ended hopes for either.
But this 5-year, $125 million extension isn’t about Carr’s past. It isn’t about Carr being the Raiders most stable quarterback since Rich Gannon or the most promising prospect since Kenny Stabler. It isn’t about Carr’s comeback wins or low interception rates. It isn’t even about the viable comparisons to Aaron Rodgers.
This extension is about Carr’s future as the unquestioned face of the Raiders franchise. I know he will share that title with Khalil Mack for most of their careers, but Carr plays the position that touches the ball the most. He will be a Raider until 2022 which means he will lead the team to their relocation to Las Vegas.
Carr is already renowned for his community work as well as sharing his beautiful family on social media. Just look at all the respect he got from opposing players and coaches. Todd Gurley and Kyle Long both congratulated him. This is because the California native is the face of the modern Raiders era. He understands what it takes to be an NFL quarterback because he watched his brother flame out but he also understands what it means to be a Raider on the field and the community.
For Raiders fans, we’ve witnessed Andrew Walters, Aaron Brooks, Dante Culpepper, Jamarcus Russell and so many other QBs who were not worthy of the Silver and Black. On countless Sundays, we watched the most important position let us down. For decades, we cringed as QBs couldn’t keep us in games or bring us back. Therefore, you can’t put a price on the intangibles that Derek Carr brings.
Many people have called this one of the best days in Raiders history. Many have broken down the contract and found that it is a fair deal for many. In fact, Carr might not even be the highest paid player for much longer if Kirk Cousins cashes out.
Either way, Carr is worth every penny. You can dive into the stats like everyone else. However, every Raiders fan can tell you he is worth it. You can’t put a price on feeling like your team has a chance against anyone. You can’t put a pricetag on knowing that your team is never really out of a game. This is the effect that Carr has on the Raiders and it is a wonder that he fell into the second-round.
Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie understands how lucky he was that Carr turned out alright on and off the field. Like Raiders fans, he does not take that for granted. He locked up Carr and now it is time for the Raiders QB to deliver on his side of the bargain with an NFL MVP and Super Bowl.
Nonetheless, props to McKenzie and Carr for getting the deal done before we all sweated about it into the season. This is how contract negotiations should go on both sides. Teams should play their players and good players should want to stay with great franchises. Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised. Carr has been a textbook franchise quarterback since he landed in Oakland.
God Bless DC and the Raiders. Just Spend Baby!
The Oakland Raiders entered the draft with most of their starters set, but glaring needs for depth across the roster. How did they do with their picks? Why did they make the selections that they did?
Jack Del Rio and Reggie McKenzie shared insights onto their picks. As a bonus, I’ve also recapped my thoughts on the picks since the dust settled on the NFL Draft.
S Karl Joseph, West Virginia (No. 14 overall)
McKenzie: “You can feel his toughness. He has a very aggressive mentality. He’s versatile. He can play all over the field, and he’ll run and hit anything that moves.”
Del Rio: “We just think he’s a really good football player, and he’ll have an infectious kind of personality and demeanor about himself. So, [we’re] really excited to get our hands on him and looking forward to working with him.”
My take: Initially felt like the Raiders reached on a 5’11 strong safety coming off of a knee injury. However, the Falcons took Keanu Neal at No. 17, so the safety position was in demand. Heard nothing but good things about Jospeh’s mental processing and competitive toughness. His selection fills the biggest gap on the roster. Excited to see what he can do.
DL Jihad Ward, Illinois (No. 44 overall)
Del Rio: “ He has played all the way out as a nine technique all the way down to into a three technique. He has been exposed to a lot of football. And, defensive line is not as complex as playing quarterback. We think we can help him grow as a player and we like what we are starting with.”
My take: Again, felt like the Raiders reached for Ward. I liked some of the other defensive tackles like Andrew Billings and Jonathan Bullard on the board at this point. However, Ward is extremely versatile. Not only did he play across the d-line at Illinois, but he played safety and receiver at the lower levels. Ward brings top-level athleticism which will push Mario Edwards Jr. and the rest of the defensive unit. Glad they took someone to improve the depth in the pass rush.
Edge rusher Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State (No. 75 overall)
Del Rio: “He’s a very productive young man, really understands how to rush the quarterback. He’s been an All-American and he’s been a very productive guy at a good college program. ”
My take: Calhoun was a great value at this point in the draft. Even though the Raiders took Ward, they should use Calhoun as a hybrid linebacker. He should learn a lot behind Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith. I hope he can improve coverage skills as he may need to play some Sam linebacker. Either way, I like players like Calhoun who showed lots of leadership and production for winning programs in college.
QB Connor Cook, Michigan State (No. 100 overall)
McKenzie: “ “Derek (Carr)’s our quarterback. Whoever we bring in, we’re just looking [at] can he help us? Can he add to the depth? Can he help our team? That was the only reason we went after him. Leadership issues, that was of no concern.”
My take: Again, this was a case of selecting the best player available. The Raiders traded up and got a player that could develop into some nice trade bait. Regardless, the Raiders only have Matt McGloin under contract for this season. Hence, there was a need to develop a backup quarterback. Cook brings production and a solid NFL arm to the Raiders scout team.
RB DeAndre Washington, Texas Tech (No. 143 overall)
McKenzie: “He’s the one guy that every time we watched him play, it was very difficult for the first guy to get him down. He had power, quickness and he had speed. He was the kind of the guy that can do it all. ”
My take: I liked some other running backs in this draft like Paul Perkins. However, everyone talks about Washington’s versatility. Remember the Raiders got Latavius Murray late in the draft. Maybe they struck gold again in Washington. He will push Taiwan Jones and Roy Helu for playing time early.
LB Cory James, Colorado State (No. 194 overall)
McKenzie: “He has played a lot of positions. We’ll see. For the beginning, we’ll let him play off the ball and see if he can play weakside linebacker, teach him both inside linebacker spots, and nickel. But he’s definitely going to have to try to make his money on special teams.”
My take: At this point in the draft, teams look for special teams guys who might develop into something more. James fills that role. Seems like a quality athlete with a decent motor. I trust Reggie McKenzie, Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr. when it comes to linebackers. The Raiders did well with Neiron Ball and Ben Heeney, last year.
OL Vadal Alexander, Louisiana State (No. 234 overall)
McKenzie: “(I was surprised he slipped in the draft), because big guys, they usually get taken. We felt really good about that and we like big people. He’s going to work both (guard and tackle). The versatility is what we liked about him.”
My take: The Raiders got lucky at this point. They found a big body and versatile player in the final round. He also fills the depth need on the offensive line with experience at guard and tackle. Plus, all that I’ve read says that he should have gotten drafted way earlier than this.
*All quotes via Scott Bair.
Now that the dust has settled on the NFL Draft, rookie contracts, and rookie mini-camps the Oakland Raiders can be excited about their 2014 draft class. I have never been an advid supporter of GM Reggie McKenzie, however, he should be applauded for having a top-notch draft classes. Besides the talent he was able to obtain, McKenzie proved he has a plan by selecting players who were productive throughout college.
No. 5 draft pick, Khalil Mack was a dominate and physical player throughout his tenure at Buffalo. Eventhough he was the best player on the field most of the time, Mack worked his way to the top of the draft after being looked over during recruitment. Forget the scheme fit and team need Mack fills. Mack is exactly the hardworking cornerstone McKenzie wants to build the culture around. Combined with last year’s top draft pick, D.J. Hayden, the Oakland Raiders should have two leaders of their defense for years to come. Added, the stop-gap veteran players on the Oakland Raiders can hopefully pass some knowledge to the young faces of the Oakland Raiders. Even if Mack struggles growing his game to the NFL, there are veteran guys there who can help ease his transition into the NFL. One thing is for sure, Mack combines nastiness and a work ethic which should make him a dominate force in the league.
On day two of the draft, the Raiders followed consensus opinion by selecting Derek Carr. The Raiders lucked out with this pick. Not only did they get the pass-rusher they coveted at the top of the draft, but a local prospect and pro-ready quarterback tumbled down the draft pick and into the Raiders’ lap. Carr is a raw prospect, but he has an NFL ready arm. His mind should be able to adapt to Pro termenology and pro-defenses, because his brother should have been helping him out with that. Carr was productive throughout his career at Fresno State, and he has the big body the Raiders envision for their quarterback. The former bulldog threw for 50tds and only 9 ints in his final season. Hence, Carr is another highly productive player who has the potential to seize the starting role and become the offensive leader.
With their third selection of the 2014 Draft, McKenzie made a smart move by trading back and obtaining another draft pick. Gabe Jackson from Mississippi State, is not a household name. He should be to those who have watched SEC football the past few years. Jackson dominated the best conference in the NCAA, and should be an immediate starter. Moreover he can be a mauler for years to come, especially if they plan to build a bully on the offensive line.
Ellis on the defensive line is another big body with some good upside. He is a true nose tackle, and should assist the Raiders with their plan on having a versatile defense. Not only will he eat up blockers, but he will suprise people with his pass rush.
The next addition in Keith McGill also helped the Raiders continue their plan on adding versatile defensive backs. McGill’s skillset makes him a capable zone defender. He has the size and skill set to fit into the line-up, instantly. McGill is another blue-collar guy who worked as an auto mechanic. Hence he has the work ethic which will help the Raiders build the type of culture they want. Moreover, he is 25 and should be ready to compete and put food on his table.
In the Later rounds, the Raiders added a few more defensive backs, and a defensive end. The first of the team’s seventh round pick TJ Carrie has a good chance to be a returner, and is a local product from De La Salle. However the next two picks are some of the Raiders most intriguing players. Shelby Harris and Johnathan Dowling both had their own mistakes that lead to character concerns.
Hopefully both of those players can suck up some veteran wisdom from the rest of the time. Either of them could be key contributors at a bargain cost. Especially Dowling, he has the size and looked like a solid prospect at Florida before being dismissed by the team.
This last draft class is an indication that Reggie McKenzie has a plan. He is not easily rattled enough to reach for a pass-rusher or quarterback because of team need. Moreover, it shows that he is trying to build an entirely new culture in Oakland, which will be based hard working and highly productive players. However, it also showed he is not afraid to take a chance on a player late, as long as it entails competition on the roster. Hence, the entire draft showed the Oakland Raiders are building a highly competitive roster. They do not want to just sit back and wait for rookies to compete. Reggie Mckenzie is ready for the rookies to compete with veterans from the start.
In addition here is the podcast version: https://soundcloud.com/silverandblog/raiders-podcast-otas
The Raiders added another couple of Superbowl rings and versatile weapons to their team in the second week of Free Agency, only this time it was offense.
GM Reggie McKenzie brought in one of his favorite players from his former employee named James Jones. At 29, the former Packer wide-out signed a two year deal worth up to $3.8 million a year. Considering their was not much rumored interest in one of the top wide receivers in Free Agency, McKenzie got himself another steal.
Jones passed up an opportunity to play for The Panthers in favor of returning to Northern California as he is from neighboring San Jose. Football wise, Jones is a versatile competitor. He is capable of lining up in the slot or in the outside position. He has racked up almost 800 yards the past two seasons catching balls from Aaron Rodgers.
I love this deal because it is another bargain price for someone who is a big time competitor. The cap implications are not the bad, but I hope they do not expect Jones to be a true #1 receiver. Jones’ sure hands make him a reliable target but he is best suited in a complimentary role.
I hate this deal because of it’s implications for the draft. I would hate to see the Raiders pass up the Clemson Phenom Sammy Watkins because of their depth at the receiver position. With Streater, Holmes, and Moore already there, plus Jones the Raiders have four capable play-makers in the receiving game. Either way, their is so much talent in this draft class when it comes to receiver that I would hate to see the Raiders pass up value in the mid rounds because the position is field.
Therefore, it would not surprise me to see Denarius Moore traded before the season ends. Moore was expected to be the go to guy, and made some big plays while struggling with consistency. Overall he is an Al Davis guy and has concerns with his work ethic which could make him a viable candidate for the trading block. He should have some value as a relatively young receiver who has made big plays in the league. The Patriots or Panthers could do worse then adding him to their receiving corps.
McKenzie was not done with adding Superbowl rings on Monday, as he signed a familiar face. Kevin Boothe was originally drafted by the Raiders in 2006 before being cut for schematic reasons the next season. Boothe went on to start lots of games for the Giants including two SuperBowl rings.
Boothe adds another big body capable of starting in the offensive-line. He is versatile as a center or guard. The veteran will be able to compete at either of the guards positions, while being insurance due to injury.
Boothe is not a Pro-bowler or anything spectacular. He is not a slouch neither, and is a welcomed addition to an offensive-line in transition.
Both of the signings are continue Reggie McKenzie’s trend of signing Veterans who know how to compete and win. He is not signing the most talented players but players who change the losing dynamic of the franchise. Boothe and Jones added to the core of players signed last week are the type of Leaders who can reverse the culture of losing.
I have been critical of McKenzie in the past, but I give him props for sticking to his guns. He is signing quality stop-gap players at a bargain rates in hopes that his draft picks can develop. For my beloved Raiders sake and for his own, I hope McKenzie’s plan works.
He will continue his plan and carry the momentum through the rest of Free Agency. He still has plenty of cap space.
Some Guys on my list who should be on his:
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.
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
A Few weeks ago, Dennis Allen’s job was pretty secure. He had this team winning and competing. Even after a few skids, Mark Davis admitted he was patient with the rebuild process, however, he also said he wanted progress. Dennis Allen himself has said that he is focused on wins and not the future. Unfortunately he hasn’t got many wins with an 8-22 record, and his future is indoubt. Fans have been asking for his job. SI’s Jim Trotter wrote that Dennis Allen getting fired is laughable. He cites all of the adversity he and McKenzie have dealt. He says that the team frankly doesn’t have the talent or the depth to compete over the long haul. Trotter said all of the bargain bin free agents signed last season are pushing their bodies farther than they ever have, as guys who were role players are now starters.
I’ll admit, Dennis Allen has done a lot with a little. He’s had veterans like Charles Woodson buy into his scheme and program. Hes made the best of all the injuries, lack of depth, and lack of talent. I think there are times where he should have made adjustments, such as the Washington, Dallas, and KC game, but you could say that with any coach. In Reality, I don’t think Dennis Allen, Reggie Mckenzie, or Mark Davis know whether Allen will be coaching this team another season.
Allen’s Future Comes Down To…
The Undrafted Rookie Quarterback Matt McGloin. Dennis Allen has hung his hat playing the undrafted QB. Even after a terrible game in Kansas City were McGloin showed he can turn the ball over just as well as Terrelle Pryor, Allen has kept McGloin the starter.
Terrelle Pryor put it into prospective last week, when he said he didn’t feel like he lost his job to McGloin. The truth is, it was never Pryor’s job to begin with. When Dennis Allen first came to Oakland, Pryor was the third string QB, but moved up the depth chart by the end of the season. This offseason, the Raiders brought in Matt Flynn, and said it was his job to lose. Pryor came in, played explosive, and took Flynn’s job. Flynn’s struggles, a bad offensiveline, and a lack of playmakers on offense made Allen play Pryor. Allen even named him the starter, and alluded to his possiblity as the future.
Pryor’s struggles, combined with injury, and a mishandling of them both, gave Allen a reason not to play Pryor. Since Pryor has said all the right things and helped Matt McGloin, but still isn’t playing. McGloin is 1-5 as a starter, and has thrown almost as many ints as TDS. He has more yards than Pryor, and the recievers play better with McGloin but thats largely due to some garbage time (IE KC Game). Offensive coordinator Greg Olsen has said the Raiders are trying to play Pryor to borrow some of his explosiveness. How is he suppossed to be explosive in 3 plays or one series? He isn’t michael Jordan. That seems to me like a play to appease ownership and fans.
But I get why Allen doesn’t want to go back to Pryor. If he plays well, then his judgement will be questioned going forward. If he plays bad then they will question why he made the shift and it will only hurt Pryor’s stock going forward. Hence, Dennis Allen has made his bed with Matt McGloin, and now its time for him to lye in it. Maybe not playing Pryor will increase the Raiders tanking in hopes of netting a new franchise quarterback. Maybe that was the plan all along, by playing McGloin the Raiders hoped to salvage another playoff-less season. Only problem with that is Allen may not be here next season to coach said rookie QB.
The Raiders have 2 more games left. Those two games are against bitter rivals and potential playoff terams. These are Allen’s last two chances to prove he can coach at this level. I’m sure he does have the leadership qualities people talk about. I’m sure he is a bright defensive mind. However, those two things dont always equal success. Winning equals success and Allen hasn’t done enough of that. Everyone knows the circumstances he has faced, but he knew what he was signing up for. These last two games are his chance to show he can get this team playing inspired and competitve ball two more times. If he can do that, and get atleast one more win, well that will be some progress for the season. Either way, Allen’s success is gonna come down to how well Matt McGloin plays. Ifthe undrafted rookie is able to pull a win off, if the beat up defense can rally, and if the team can play inspired and disciplene ball; then Allen will retain his job. That is a lot of ifs, and allen only has two more opportunities guaranteed to answer those questions.
Since the passing of Al davis last year, the Oakland Raiders franchise has gone through dramatic changes in culture and on the field. GM Reggie Mckenzie came from a prestigious Packers Franchise and was installed to bring the franchise back to its winning ways.
First, lets not get things twisted, in the NFL there is one goal, and that is to sell tickets and merchandise. The only way to do that in sports is to win games, and put a product on the field that fans are going to buy into. Insert Reggie Mckenzie. Mckenzie has a philosophy of drafting and acquiring blue collar, hard nose, and smart football players. It is a philosophy that has brought many championships to green bay, but the Raiders are not green bay.
You see, there is a special ora about the Raiders. There is a reason why the team has one of the most reliable fan bases despite being irrelevant for over a decade. The Raiders are the Raiders because they are the gritty, underdogs. The Raiders have been the team renown for their toughness, explosiveness, and even recklessness. It is a reputation that has caused many people to hate the raiders, but many others to love the team.
The Raiders logo represents a grittiness and toughness in itself, so much that gangs and rappers have affiliated with the logo. I don’t see too many people in green bay affiliating with the packers. The packers are an organization partly owned by its citizens, it is a franchise build on heritage and tradition, but it is mainly an organization dedicated to the blue collar hard working meat packers of Wisconsin.
Thats the biggest difference between the Raiders and Packers historic organizations. The magic of the Raiders is found in the minority fan base that has claimed the team as its own. Besides being the logo for urban youth around the country the Raiders were the first team to have minority coaches, and executives. This organization is built on a culture of reckless, so if Reggie McKenzie hopes that fans will be patient while he “builds things the right way,” then he has another thing coming. Raiders fans want to see a product that reflects the recklessness and rebellion in themselves. The reality is they don’t care about hardworking smart football players. Raiders fans want to see deep balls, big runs, big hits, and mostly they want to see them win.
Raiders fans love the raiders because they reflect an enigma in our society. The idea that someone can win and be successful doing things their own way and not caring what others think is something that resonates with the hearts of Raiders. The Markets of Los Angeles and Oakland are both huge minority fan bases that love the Raiders. You see, the white collar fans have teams, in northern California those fans can see 9ers games, and in the south they have chargers games. But for everyone else, all the bad asses and people who don’t give a fuck, those are the people the raiders are built for. It is a totally different fan base than the Wisconsin folk who will live and breath green bay football regardless of how good it is. See in California, we have so many other choices as sports consumers that we dont have to follow all of the mediocre free agent signings that McKenzie has made. All we want to do is see wins, so if McKenzie keeps anything from the previous regime it should be “Just Win Baby!”
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.