Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fixing, Upgrading, Wheeling & Dealing


Over the course of the past few weeks to include of course the 2010 NFL Draft, the Raiders organization has followed a simple, sensible blueprint for improving the team.

1. Acquire young NFL vets to address needs and upgrade the talent level.

Instead of over-spending on older players on the downside of their career, the Raiders picked up QB Jason Campbell for a 2012 4th round pick, LB Kamerion Wimbley for one of their extra 3rd round picks this year, and DE Quinten Groves for a 5th round pick.

2. Improve our run defense.

The Raiders run defense was ranked #28 in ypc (4.5) and ranked #29 in ypg (155.5) in 2009. The additions of 1st round selection Rolando McClain (Alabama) and 2nd round pick Lamar Houston (Texas) helps our interior run defense.

The center-piece to our improved interior run defense falls on the broad shoulders of McClain whose football IQ is off the charts. He is a born leader and field general that will help orchestrate better team defense. Here are a few attributes listed in McClain's scouting report:

Rolando McClain, 6-4/256

• Huge frame for ILB
• Very long arms
• Good level of production
• Comfortable in coverage
• Excellent tackling technique
• Stacks and sheds blocks well
• Very good pass rusher
• Love his timing on blitzes
• Nice agility; smooth change of direction
• Highly experienced
• Takes good angles to the ball
• Stays in control
• Vocal leader
• Intelligent
• Doesn't take plays off
• Outstanding instincts

Here's the draft analysis on Lamar Houston, 6-3/305:

"The hulking interior defender is an exceptional athlete with outstanding strength and power. He is capable of stacking blockers at the point of attack, but also possesses the quickness to play as an up-field penetrator. Given the Raiders' woes on defense, the addition of Houston will undoubtedly shore up some of the problems." inside.

My guess is that Richard Seymour will see his fair share of snaps playing DT and Houston will be used both as a DT and DE. Our projected front 7:

LDE-Shaughnessy/Houston; UT-Kelly/Houston; NT-Bryant/Seymour; RDE-Seymour/Richardson

WLB-Scott/Howard; MLB-McClain/Nixon/Goethel; SLB-Wimbley/Brown

3. Upgrade our QB play
Jason Campbell is quite simply the "Anti-Russell". Campbell is everything that a fan should expect out of a professional QB with the key word being 'professional'. No one has to worry about whether our new starting QB is well prepared, knows the playbook, and in top shape. Campbell is an athletic, durable QB who started in all 32 Washington games over the past 2 seasons. He is an accurate (64.5% in 2009; 61.2% career) passer with good mobility.

4. Add talent, depth, and competition at OLine.

This remains a work-in-progress. Although we drafted 2 OTs with a ton of "upside" and athletic talent in Jared Veldheer and Bruce Campbell, both of these prospects would seem to be 2-3 year projects.

Round 3, Pick 5 (69) - Jared Veldheer, OT,6'8" 312, Hillsdale

Pick Analysis: "The Raiders go with small-school standout Jared Veldheer to compete for time at offensive tackle. Though he dominated inferior competition in college, his impressive performance in pre-draft workouts showcased his immense potential as a pro."

Round 4, Pick 8 (106)- Bruce Campbell, OT, 6'6" 314, Maryland

Pick Analysis: "The Raiders pick up the most athletic offensive tackle from the NFL Scouting Combine with their selection of Bruce Campbell. Though many expected the team to nab him in the first round, the Raiders patiently waited to acquire him with the 106th pick. While he is raw in several aspects of his game, Campbell's outstanding athleticism gives him a chance to develop into a solid player in time."

5. Improve our KR/PR abilities.

Last season the Raiders return units were horrendous. Our KR unit ranked last with a 18.2 yards per kick return average. The Raiders PR unit ranked #29 at 4.9 yards per punt return. 4th round pick, Jacoby Ford (Clemson), should be able to create a spark on special teams and improve our field position. He is also a good prospect to be a slot WR.

Round 4, Pick 10 (108) (From Jaguars) - Jacoby Ford, WR, 5'9" 186, Clemson

Pick Analysis: "The Raiders continue their tradition of selecting outstanding track athletes with the addition of Jacoby Ford. The former track All-America has exceptional speed and quickness, and gives the team a versatile receiver/returner. With his explosiveness, Ford could develop into an impact player for the Silver and Black."

Rebuilding instead of reaching ... what a wonderful concept.

7 Comments:

Anonymous JSpicoli said...

C'mon talk some more smack about The Al now, after his latest draft. Or tell me how he gave up control to Cable or some hogwash like that.

He aint perfect, but he is not what you and other self hating Raider fans have been saying.

12:02 PM  
OpenID RaiderMike88p said...

Great draft by the silver and black, very excited to see our defense, and so relieved to have a earnest professional at the helm on offense -- it appears that the emphasis on pursuit of basic foundation blocks puts us in a good position for the season.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

JSpicoli -

I give credit when credit is due and voice my disappointment when there is a bad move/decision made by the organization. Positive information in, positive comments out. Negative information in, negative comments out. See how that works?

Davis, Cable, and the Scouting Staff did an excellent job in the 2010 draft. Kudos for rebuilding and not reaching.

Do I think Davis needs executive support from a well qualified executive like Scot McCloughlan? Absolutely.

I'm not an "Al Davis hater" nor do I bow down to him like he can do no wrong. I am a fan of the Raiders TEAM. Capiche'?

Pender -

A reliable, professional, athletic young QB is a wonderful thing!

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Bdizraider4life said...

J Spicoli..... I think you Are Dazed And Confused. It is Typical That Someone has to Bring the Negitive Aspect into such a positive article. I have Been Reading Silver and Black Forever For a few years now, and its always Real. I am a long time Raiders fan and Feel Great about the 2010 Draft. I also feel great about the quality of players we received and the Qb we traded for. Such great improvment. We are gonna have a really solid team next year, and I think Your Article Was Sick Calcio Keep up the good work. Its nice to Write about something positve for a change isnt it. I really hope we can just cut Ja"Miss The Mark-us" Russell seeing as it would save us 6.5 Millon and hes a waiste of space we need to cut this fucker. Heres to a great 2010 Oakland Raiders Season. YEAH BABY!!!!

6:20 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

I'm with you, Bdizraider4life! It is a nice change to report on some solid moves by the front office. This will be an exciting year and new chapter in Raider football.

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this time last year pirate boy was talking about how Russell was going to be fantastic and had ended 2008 on high note and that he was not fat. That all the aft reprots where just rumors and that he was just a 22 year old kid not undiscpolined etc. etc.

How about a mea culpa genius

BTW Campbell is average at best nowhere near what you make him out to be. Mind you average is way better that fat Russell.

Steve Sanderson

7:16 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Steve:

Going into the 2009 season, many Raider fans including myself were optimistic about Russell taking the next step in his career progression. Why? Because he was going into his 3rd season after finishing his 2nd season strong.

This is what I wrote immediately following the close of the 2008 season on 12/30/08 (and you can look it up because my posts are on record);

"JaMarcus Russell's Stats for the last 3 games vs. New England, Houston, at Tampa Bay:
49/78, 626 yards, 62.8% completion rate, 8.0 yds/att, 6 TDs, 2 Ints

The improvement in Russell's play the past 3 games is indicative of the game slowing down for him and his confidence building. The mental aspect of the game is catching up with the physical tools Russell possesses."

Was I wrong about Russell continuing a natural career progression? Yes. So what. You can act like you've got all the answers but you are only kidding yourself. As far as Campbell goes, he is just like any other QB in the NFL ... he needs to prove himself on the field. What exactly am I making Campbell out to be? A professional, reliable, accurate, in-shape QB with high character and a fresh start? You bet Steve. And your point is ?.... yawn.

9:43 PM  

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