AFC West Offseason Review/Draft Preview

Oakland Raiders:  D+

The Raiders suffered through another painfully mediocre season, finishing 5-11, although they did manage to come on strong when Bruce Gradwoski took over under center.   Working on the heels of another head-scratchingly bad draft, with such stellar selections as Darius Heyward-Bey in the first and Ohio safety Michael Mitchell in the 2nd round, Al Davis continues to run this franchise into the ground with his awful selections and terrible allocation of financial resources.  Nnamdi Ashomgua’s hefty two year contract is set to expire, which includes a clause that prevents the Silver & Black from applying the franchise tag.  What this equates to is the Raiders either having to let him walk and receiving nothing in return or having to part with him via trade for what is sure to be far less than fair market value.  Draft and free agent personnel decisions such as these are proof of the fact that Al Davis either needs to step aside or die in order for this franchise to return to its former prominence.  There were almost no notable acquisitions this off-season, save the re-signing of defensive end Richard Seymour and maybe the trade for Browns linebacker Kameron Wimbley.

On the offensive side of the ball the Raiders will enter 2010 with huge concerns at both offensive line and quarterback.  Jamarcus Russell has cemented his place in football history as one of the top 5 biggest draft busts of all time and Gradowski is best served holding a clipboard.  Kyle Boller was signed recently but he’s shown in Baltimore and St. Louis that he doesn’t belong in the NFL.  Their offensive line is one of the worst in the league and they really need to bring in a left tackle to protect whoever is taking snaps next season.   While DHB appears to be a bust they actually do have some promise in terms of playmakers in the passing game.  Louis Murphy, a 5th round pick out of Florida, played well given the circumstances and Zach Miller has emerged as one of the better young tight ends in the league.  That aside, the Raiders are looking at another bad season and I don’t think salvation is on the horizon.

Draft Needs

The Raiders are a team with a number of glaring needs, but offensive line and quarterback are the two most pressing ones.  If Jimmy Clausen were to fall to the #8 pick I believe that they would be smart to select him.  One thing you can’t fault Raider Nation for is their dedication, and a Jamarcus Russell purging would be a much-needed act of good faith on the part of Al Davis.  Clausen doesn’t embody the classic Raider quarterback in terms of his ability to fling it downfield, but he’s got the sort of swagger that the Raiders would like.  If Clausen is gone, they can look to one of the many talented left tackles that will be available at that spot.  Trent Williams, Bryan Bulaga and even Anthony Davis would be options at this spot.  In the 2nd round they should look to draft a CB, as Ashomgua is as good as gone.  Kareem Jackson, Devin Mccourty and Patrick Robinson would be good options at this point.  In the latter rounds, l would like to see the Raiders take a defensive tackle to pair with Tommy Kelly and a middle linebacker to replace Kirk Morrison as he’s expected to be traded.

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