Posted on: April 16, 2010 12:31 pm

Best Raider Available

Recently I came across an article about draft strategies pushing best player available (BPA) as the best way to build a team. But a good point that was made in the follow up comments was that this player has to be the best player available for your team.

This would mean for the Oakland Raiders you need to expect them to pick the Best Raider Available (BRA); an athlete who is a size/speed/strength specimen who can play football but may need some seasoning.

Of course, going back to the first round of 2009, I don't agree that Darrius Heyward-Bey was the best Raider available at #7 - but he was a better Raider fit then Michael Crabtree whom everyone says the Raiders should have picked. In my opinion, the BRA at that point was Brian Orakpo, a known workout warrior who would have played SLB dropping down to RDE in nickel packages. But that was last year, and DHB would still have been a top-5 player when you consider BRA.

For 2010 who I would pick as the BRA would come down to who is there when the Raiders pick at #8. If stacking a board for the Raiders based on BRA I'd list the following players as my top-5:

  1. DT Ndamukong Suh
  2. OT Trent Williams
  3. S Eric Berry
  4. DE Jason Pierre-Paul
  5. OT Bruce Campbell

As Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy and Russell Okung should be gone - and I wouldn't be surprised to also see a few of Dan Williams, CJ Spiller, Bryan Bulaga and Jimmy Clausen also gone - several players from this list should still be there and the Raiders should be able to get a good Raider for their team this year.
Posted on: December 30, 2008 4:33 pm

The right man is Tom Cable and Raider musings...

At the moment, with Al Davis running the show, Tom Cable is the right man for the Raiders.  He's gotten the attention of the team and has had them playing the game the right way at the end of the season when there was nothing but pride to play for.  He's won the respect of Al Davis and has shown a willingness to work with him for the better of the team. As a result, he may get himself a player or two - but more importantly - there isn't a huge scism between the front office and the coaching staff right now. As important, due to both of these things he's collected Davis's staff pieces together into an actual coaching staff that will work together for the better of the team.  And with Cable calling the shots, there is a chance that both Shane Lechler and Nnamdi Asomugha will be willing to come back, something I don't see with any other head coach.

Going forward the Raiders need his mentality, and they need his expertise in the trenches to get better. If the Raiders do what most people think they should and beef up the offensive and defensive lines they will be better for it only if the players develop.  And who better to ensure that they develop then a man who has come from the trenches and knows how to make the most of what the team has there.

On defense, the pass rush was good but not great - tying for 12th in the league in sacks, and along with trouble on the back side (particularly early in the year) they gave up a lot more yards then expected ranking only 9th in the league in passing yards allowed despite the opposition throwing an average of 3.2 times less per game against the Raiders then the average team in the league.

On the line, Tommy Kelly wasn't great - but he's been paid and showed well enough that he can be expected to continue to develop inside. Along side that Trevor Scott showed well for a first year player and along with the arrival of Kalimba Edwards they provide some solid depth at defensive end. On the other hand, they need some support from the nose tackle and strong-side linebacker which both need to upgradeded.  Tardell Sands didn't play well enough inside to justify his contract and Gerard Warren is more a rotational player with how he's played - making him a solid backup, but not the guy you want starting. Ricky Brown is likewise a solid backup - but not starting material and the Raiders would be wise to look into competition in free agency or in the middle of the coming draft.  In the secondary, the Raiders appear to have found themselves a real football player in Gibril Wilson and if they can keep Nnamdi to go with the Chris Johnson/Standford Rout who have developed this season in the back line then perhaps they'll continue to improve back there.

On offense, the young talent that was marginalized under Kiffin is starting to show.  Michael Bush really lit things up in the season finale - and he'll make a push to get on the field with Darren McFadden.  If the coaching staff is paying attention to other teams in the league, they'll look at the Saints and Dolphins use of unorthidox two back sets and will get their best 11 on the field more often.  With Zach Miller continuing to develop into a weapon along the seams, Johnnie Lee Higgins starting to develop in the deep threat that he always looked like and Chaz Schilens showed in the last two games that he could provide a slot option for JaMarcus Russell.  That said, the receiving corps needs some help as Higgens, Schilens, Ashley Lelie, Ronald Curry and Javon Walker don't make a receiving corps that anyone will fear. But nothing will really matter until the edges of the offensive line improve. The Raiders struggled (to say the least) at both offensive tackle positions and didn't show much from either the FB or TE in terms of pass blocking skills. They need better overall play in protecting Russell or we'll continue to find check downs and short passes as the passing game options. The Raiders will get help at the FB position with players coming off of early season injuries - but the rest still needs to be addressed.

In the draft finding an offensive tackle, a wide receiver and a defensive lineman should be the priorities. But while those are the priorities a strong-side linebacker, a blocking tight end and further depth in the trenches and secondary should be a secondary focus.

In free agency, a veteran QB would be a good complement to this team as a backup/insurance policy on Russell.  And any players who would compete for jobs in the trenches should be given long and hard looks.
Category: NFL
Tags: Oakland, Raiders
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