The Oakland Raiders held a press conference today with head coach Tom Cable presiding, Cable discussed the draft and some informative updates on some Raiders players and coaches. This will be the last time Cable speaks publicly until the draft. You can read the entire transcript here.
Below are some excerpts from the press conference as provided by David White of SFGate.com:
Raiders coach Tom Cable was mum on who the Raiders want to draft and what their biggest needs are, which is to be expected at these predraft press conferences.
He did, however, admit the Raiders have narrowed down the field of candidates for the No. 7 overall pick of next weekend's draft.
"Four spots," Cable said at team headquarters Tuesday. "I'm not going to share them with you either. But I know we need one of four guys."
Cable also dropped the No. 4 when asked what positions must be addressed with the team's five draft picks. Again, he declined to specify what they are.
So, here's an educated guess on the who's and what's he was talking about.
The four players being targeted (again, my guess): Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin, Alabama left tackle Andre Smith and Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji.
The four positions of need: wide receiver, offensive tackle, safety, defensive tackle.
Here's why I think what I think.
One, Cable made it clear he thinks Crabtree is the most productive receiver in the field and that his foot's stress fracture is not a concern.
Two, Cable said there are four "great" offensive tackles in the draft. Problem is, Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith will be long gone as the top two prospects. That leaves Smith and Michael Oher, with Smith being the better of the two.
He also admitted the run defense needs to be shored up, which is why I think Raji remains in the mix. And Maclin gets thrown in for old time's sake (Al Davis loves those 40 times).
As for the positions, Cable reiterated offensive tackle is a major point of emphasis -- even saying the position is the strength of this draft class -- and that the lack of depth at safety is a concern.
But enough conjecture. Here are some quick hits from the half-hour interview.
On trading down as an option: "It has to be. Has to be, based on what's in the draft this year, for this year, 2009, and the types of players that are there, where the strength of the draft is, all that. I think you have to consider that."
How to improve the run defense: "I think you got to look at your scheme, you got to look at how you're coaching it and you got to look at your players and does the draft help any or all of those? Maybe. Do you have enough to do it with here? Yeah, I think so. We gotta clean some things up how we teach it within the scheme. But certainly you want to add and make your team better every chance you can."
Update on fullback Oren O'Neal's knee: "I think the hope is he'll be ready to start at training camp. He is progressing. Because of the type of injury and everything, there is good days and bad days but he is getting better and it is progressing so I think the plan is still at training camp we're ready to go."
Update on Javon Walker's health: "He is working. He is not here but he is working and he is healthy, cleared, good to go, for sure."
Jeff Garcia's quarterback role: "To be very clear in his role, his role is to come in and be a backup that you can go in with that, if necessary, he plays and then second I think it's important that you have a guy that's a pro in there that's really been through a lot. You think about his career, going to Canada, coming back to the NFL, going to the Pro Bowl, being in the playoffs, doing all that. So he's seen a lot, done a lot and I'm hoping, my goal was, that he would create an environment in that room with JaMarcus to kind of take him where we're trying to go. I think his role is pretty well laid out and if the opportunity comes to that we have to have him and he's got to go in and play, you feel good that he can go in there and win for you."
Compare John Marshall's defense to Rob Ryan's: "There will be a lot of similarity. Hopefully, we'll just be maybe a little more fundamentally sound, a little more structured."