The 2009 NFL Draft is approaching fast. After over-analyzing the Raiders #7 pick and reading too many "experts" mock drafts, I have narrowed my guess down to 2 choices. Here are my 7 reasons that pick #7 will be a "Cadillac";
(1) The 2009 NFL Draft's most glaring strength is at OT.
(2) The Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable is a former offensive lineman who made his mark in his profession as an offensive lineman coach.
(3) The franchise QB JaMarcus Russell needs to be protected at all costs.
(4) The best overall value, need, and available player at #7 will be an OT.
(5) OT Jason Smith (Baylor) and OT Eugene Monroe will both be off the board by #5.
(6) It is clear from what has transpired this offseason that Tom Cable has earned the trust and been granted the authority by Al Davis to provide major input in the draft selections.
(7) It is also as clear as day that Cable wants to get a 'Cadillac'.
Cable: Oh, yeah, especially, like I said, there’s four legitimate guys that can play for anybody, regardle ss of what your scheme is and probably all four can play left tackle. It’s a luxury if ever there’s been one, and I don’t know if there has ever been that many good ones in the first round like that. But there is this year. There has always been a number of first-round picks, don’t get me wrong, but some were right, some were left. These four guys probably can play left.
Q: Doesn’t this system allow you to find someone in the later rounds who can fit? Cable: “Yeah, but remember your question was to get one of those Cadillacs.
(Of course, if WR Heyward-Bey is taken, disregard the previous 7 points!)Michael Oher
Height & Weight: 6’5”, 315lbs
Ranked #8 on FF Toolbox top prospects board
FF Toolbox Scouting Report:
Oher would have been a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, but he liked Mississippi's hiring of Houston Nutt and decided to return for his senior season. The massive offensive tackle paved the way for running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to amass 1,000 yards on the ground in both 2006 and 2007, and he helped a 2009 rushing attack amass over 2400 yards. He was a first-team All-American last season and a consensus First-Team All-SEC selection. NFL scouts love how Oher is able to control the line of scrimmage with his hulking physical frame and excellent footwork. Such a lethal combination makes it almost impossible for defensive linemen to get around his pass protection. Oher's quick feet also make him a strong run blocker (even though he is an even better pass blocker), as he is able to get to linebackers and neutralize their pursuit of the ball. He ran a 5.34 in the 40-yard-dash at the combine but knocked it down to 5.08 at Mississippi's pro day. Scouts also have to like Oher's durability; the big man has had no injury problems whatsoever at Ole Miss. He has been passed on the offensive linemen charts by Jason Smith, but Oher could be the second or third OT off the board and possibly a Top 10 selection in the 2009 draft.Andre Smith
Height & Weight: 6'4 - 340 lbs.
Ranked #9 on FF Toolbox top prospects board
FF Toolbox Scouting Report:
Smith and fellow SEC offensive tackle Michael Oher (Ole Miss) once led the way in what has always been thought of as an extremely strong offensive linemen draft class in 2009. The former Alabama standout was named his team's Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and was a 2007 Coaches First-Team All-SEC selection. An ankle injury kept him out of the Crimson Tide's season opener against Clemson, but Smith bounced back to lead Nick Saban and company to the SEC Championship Game and the Sugar Bowl. Smith is a massive presence at 6'4'' and 340 pounds, but what sets him apart is his footwork and quickness. Rarely does a lineman of Smith's size move with the agility he does. Durability should not become too much of an issue, as Smith started every single game at left tackle in Tuscaloosa as a sophomore. The off-season, however, has not gone smoothly. Smith's work ethic has been called into question and leaving the combine early did not help. That's the main reason why he has been surpassed by OTs such as Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe. Still, Smith's talent is undeniable and he will be a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.