Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Raiders Draft Analysis

Going into the 2006 NFL Draft, there was a well defined shopping list of positional need areas to be addressed by the Oakland Raiders. These need areas consisted of OLB, SS, OG, DT, and RB. It looks by all indications we fulfilled 3 of the 5 need areas.

After reading the scouting reports and various news articles on each player, I noticed a few recurring themes or qualities that seemed to be prevalent with this group. These qualities are Tough (T), Physical (P), High Character (HC), Exceptional Speed (ES), Motivated (M), Need (N).

Round 1/7 - Michael Huff (S, 6-0, 204, Texas) - (T, P, HC, ES, M, N)
Round 2/38 - Thomas Howard (OLB, 6-3, 240, UTEP) - (T, P, ES, M, N)
Round 3/69 - Paul McQuistan (OG/OT, 6-6, 313, Weber St.) - (T, P, HC, M, N)
Round 4/101 - Darnell Bing (SS/LB, 6-2, 228, USC) - (T, P, M, N)
Round 6/176 - Kevin Boothe (OG, 6-5, 312, Cornell) - (T, P, HC, M, N)
Round 7/214 - Chris Morris (C, 6-3, 299, Michigan St.) - (T, P, HC, M)
Round 7/255 - Kevin McMahan (WR, 6-2, 196, Maine) - Forever known as "Mr. Irrelevant" as the last pick in the draft

Here is a breakdown, analysis, and scouting report for each new Raider:
(Grading scale/Key for scouting reports)
Michael Huff (Scouting Report)
Huff Daddy is the crown jewel of the Raiders draft. He will be able to make an immediate impact in improving the Raiders defense. Huff is fundamentally sound, versatile, exceptionally fast (4.35 40 time), an excellent open field tackler, and a prime-time playmaker. His versatility is his calling card. Huff is equally adept at lining up in press coverage, in the slot, or as a deep safety. Take a look at this video. Huff has amazing closing speed and a nose for the football.

Here is's analysis on Michael Huff: "This is a big of a surprise, but you always have to expect the unexpected with the Raiders. Matt Leinart seemed like the right pick here, but the Raiders apparently feel comfortable with Aaron Books and their other quarterbacks. Instead, they have gone with one of the better and more versatile defensive players in the draft. Huff can play cornerback, as well as safety. He is excellent in coverage and he is an extremely tough, hard-hitting player who could greatly help in run support."

Outlook: Michael Huff is a special player. He is the new breed safety who can play anywhere on the field. Huff is the "Where is Waldo?" defensive player who the offense needs to locate and identify. Is he blitzing, in the slot, on the line, in deep coverage? This versatility will allow Defensive Coordinator Ryan the flexibility to mix and match his coverage schemes and blitz packages. For example, I would anticipate Huff playing the Rover or "Wolverine" position in the Big Nickel package. This nickel package will help neutralize the offense's effectiveness in 3 WR sets.

Thomas Howard (Scouting Report)
The LB corps was probably the weakest link for the Raiders going into the 2006 draft. We desperately needed an OLB who has the ability to cover both tight ends and running backs and make plays from sideline to sideline. Howard was probably the fastest LB in the draft (4.45 40). He is very effective at applying pressure on the QB off the edge. Watch this video. It is amazing how Howard uses his speed to blitz off the edge.

Here is's synopsis on Thomas Howard: "He might be the fastest linebacker in the draft. Originally, he was at UTEP as a safety. He can run and cover receivers, and has a strong defensive mentality."

Outlook: Thomas Howard should improve our overall pass coverage and adds athleticism and playmaking skills that were sorely missing in 2005. Look for Howard to be rotated into the base 4-3 defense with Sam Williams. Once again, a player like Howard affords Defensive Coordinator Ryan the flexibility to mix and match his personnel groupings based on down and distance. Because of Howard's speed and coverage abilities, the Raiders should have the entire LB corps on the field more often instead of relying on the nickel package. In my judgment, Howard is the "X" factor in the draft. If he fully utilizes his exceptional athletic ability and hones his football instincts, this draft will be looked upon very favorably.

Paul McQuistan (Scouting Report)
Our new red-headed, Braveheart. I love this pick! The red mullet is just a bonus. McQ plays with a determined nasty streak. McQ is an extremely physical, hard-nosed, coachable football player who played OT in college but more than likely will be moved to OG. Art Shell & Jackie Slater should be able to mold McQ into a highly productive member of the O-Line. Here's a short video clip of our beloved Braveheart McNasty.

Here is's analysis on Mr.McQ: "He has a twin brother who played with him at Weber State. He is a long-armed mauler type of offensive lineman who grew up on a ranch in Oregon. Typical Raiders offensive lineman."

Outlook: McQ will provide immediate depth on the O-line. It would not surprise me if McQ takes over for Brad Badder by mid-season. For the Raiders to return to glory, the O-line will need to gel, set the tone, and establish an effective power rushing attack. Braveheart McNasty is starting to developing quite a cult following amongst the Raider Nation.

Darnell Bing (Scouting Report)
This was a high value pick for the Raiders. Bing was originally projected to be a late 1st round, early 2nd round pick by most experts. The reason being given for his drop to the 4th round is that he is a "tweener". Not fast enough as a safety, not big enough to play line-backer. The Raider organization has announced that Bing will be converted to LB. Bing is known for being a ferocious hitter with an imtimidating presence.

Here is's synopsis on Darnell Bing: "He doesn't have good coverage skills for a safety, but they announced they're going to play him at linebacker. He's a good player who has a good opportunity to convert to LB."

Outlook: Bing-A-Ling will make a solid contribution as a special teams player, blitzer, run stuffer, occasional SS in the Big Nickel package, and as a WLB down the road.

Kevin Boothe (Scouting Report)
Boothe is a physically imposing lineman who needs to work on his technique especially his footwork. He might be more suited to transition into an OG as opposed to his college position of OT.

Here is's analysis on Kevin Boothe: "He is their kind of guy ... IF he can pass a physical. He played Ivy League football, which is a disadvantage, because they don't play as many games, and they don't practice as long as most schools. He plays better in pads than shorts. Every year, someone takes a chance on an Ivy League lineman."

Outlook: Boothe has all of the physical tools to one day become a solid contributor. He is a smart, coachable pupil for both Shell and Slater to work with for the long term.

Chris Morris (Scouting Report)
Morris was an Academic All-American at Michigan State who gained valuable experience playing against top competition in the Big-10.

Here is's synopsis on Chris Morris: "He's a center from Michigan State. He is a big offensive lineman that has been a trademark of the Raiders. He's the kind of player they like; he's big and strong and runs well."

Outlook: Morris will be the emergency back-up to starting C Jake Grove in case Grove is injured or gets moved to OG. He also will be used as a long snapper on special teams. With the drafting of Morris I would anticipate C Adam Treau being cut come June 1st.

Kevin McMahan (Scouting Report)

Summary: Huff, Howard, and Bing are physical, athletic players who should improve our overall defense in terms of playmaking skills, QB pressure abilities, and flexibility in our defensive packages. McQ, Boothe, and Morris strengthen our O-line and provide immediate depth. Overall I would characterize this draft as solid and productive. We were able to fill 3 need areas and give our coaching staff players to build for the future.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huff is a great pick...Tackling technique is terrible and will get tossed like a paper towel if he continues to tackle high and grab a lot of jersey. I mean his tackling skills are gross. However, I haven't seen a kid come out of college in a long time that quickly disects and recognizes a play as quickly as he does. His initial burst and closing speed is quite impressive. The thing that some what scares me, is the kid was a track star who then decided to play football. But again, this kids seems to have picked up the game quite quickly. If they teach this kid how to tackle, he'll be a force. If not, Larry Johnson, L.T, any RB from Denver and throw in Gates and Gonzo are all licking their chops...I tend to think he'll pan out.

The Howard pick and Mc "Ugly" will be the gems of the draft in my opinion.

9:43 AM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

good read jack, thanks for the video links they were sweet.

i loved our draft, except for i thought we took a big reach in the third. but i had zero knowledge of the kid and after doing a little research on him i'm quite convinced he's got alot of upside to him. he seems to have created quite a buzz around the raider nation too.

i thought bing was a steal as late as we got him, thats before i heard we were gonna move him to LB. the only worry i had was he may be a tad slow as a safety, as an LB he'll be real quick. trust me when i say this kid lays HAT!! he brings it every chance he gets. i am a university of Washington season ticket holder and have seen this kid in action against my boys for the last couple years and i loved the pick, was hopin he'd fall to the second round and we'd grab him if we had gone a different direction in the first. to get him after we already adressed the position was a pleasant surprise. to move him down to a spot where we are thin is fantastic. now we can run him out on every special team we have and have not a worry in the world about it, while he learns the LB spot.

overall a very good draft. i think every pick besides Mr. Irrelavent has a shot at makin this squad.and that would do wonders for our lack of depth.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Frkyraider - Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post.

My dad is a season ticket holder for USC football. I have seen Bing in person quite a few times. Watching some of the hits that Bing administered was like watching a car wreck. He can seriously bring the lumber. I can't believe he fell into our lap in the 4th round.

I sincerely believe that Bing will pay immediate dividends for the Raiders.

He definitely will help our special teams coverage teams. I also think he will be effective in the Big Nickel formation or as a hybrid SS/OLB depending on down and distance.

His conversion to an OLB will be a work in progress but he should be a productive member of the D. He is more than capable of covering tight ends and backs, playing in the box to stuff the run, and coming off the edge as a blitzer.

I love Bing's tenacity and thirst to make a big hit. The Raider Nation will love Bing who has a swagger and nasty streak to him.

7:55 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home