First, I need everyone to read this link.....if you don't, you'll be lost:
That is a blog post by Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury about the Raiders' draft. Under the name "Raconteur", I posted a comment in response:
There’s a great deal of perception in this column, but there’s also quite a bit of distortion.
First of all time, you’re not exactly making Raider Nation cry by listing some of those 49ers draft picks: Eric Johnson, Andy Lee, Eric Heitmann, Kyle Kosier, Parys Haralson, Joe Staley. I’m not going to pine over not having them.
That some point applies with some of the other names you throw out to taunt us with. I mean, really, Sage Rosenfels? You can do better.
The thing that annoys me most of all is this: hindsight in general is a double-edged sword and never more so than when applied to the NFL draft. Every year we get the same things, “Can’t miss prospect!” “He’s a franchise QB in the making!” “A stud tackle that’ll anchor the left side for years!” “A big, fast linebacker that plays with a mean streak!”
Alternatively we also get…”He’s a bust waiting to happen!” “He comes from a spread system! He’ll never learn the pro game!” “His mechanics are all off!” “He doesn’t know how to shed blockers!”
If your point was to demonstrate that Al isn’t the all-powerful talent evaluator he thinks he is and as some of my more ardent fellow members of Raider Nation still believe…..then, I agree. But just say that.
But, don’t mock Al for taking Robert Gallery #2 overall in 2004. All the experts were saying the same things about Gallery then that they said about Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe this year. At the time, it seemed like the safe, logical, sensible choice.
And if he continues the level of play in the future that he did the last several games of 2008, then it looks like Mario Henderson may be the guardian of Russell’s blindside for years to come. A steal in the third round! Any credit there for that selection?
I agree that Al’s emphasis on speed is a fatal flaw in his drafting. In particular this applies to cornerbacks, as witness Fabian Washington and Stanford Routt. With receivers, it’s hit and miss. Johnnie Lee Higgins had a disastrous rookie campaign, but bounced back last year. If he plays like the ‘08 JLH instead of the ‘07 one, then he’ll be a very successful speedster.
For every success, though, there’s a Carlos Francis type. However, you bring up Jared Allen as an example of how Davis’ focus on speed blinded him to another good prospect. Fair enough, but consider this: 31 other teams blew that one as well, including Kansas City for three rounds. I’m sure when the pick was announced, Kiper said something like, “Allen’s got a great motor and a nose for the QB, but [insert flaws here] kept him from going higher. He projects to be a situational rusher at best.”
Who knew? Which I guess is my point. Al is certainly deficient as a talent evaluator, but the way you’re going about point this out is disingenuous at best.
Just thought I'd offer this as food for thought here. If I get a chance, I'll offer my draft thoughts with in the next day. If not, well........a lot of what I have to say has been said already. :-)
I don't want to make it seem like I'm an ardent Davis defender. But when all you hear about in the media is "ALL AL DAVIS CARES ABOUT IS SPEED AND THAT'S WHY THE RAIDERS SUCK!" it starts to get annoying. Davis may have his problems as a scout and drafter, but he's hardly the only one. But you'd think based on the media, he's the only one.
Witness the comedy of errors that has been the St. Louis Rams since 2000:
2000: Coming off a Superbowl Triumph. How did they do?
Trung Canidate (31st selection)-- Currently out of football. Spent only 4 seasons in the league and amassed less than 1100 yards rushing.
Jacoby Shepherd (62nd selection)--Also currently out of football after only 4 seasons. He amassed SEVEN tackles and 1 interception in that time.
2001. They had 3 first round picks. How did they do?
Damione Lewis (12th selection)--Currently with the Carolina Panthers. Has amassed an average of about 25 tackles and not quite 3 sacks per season. Not exactly overwhelming.
Adam Archuleta (20th selection)-- Started off brilliantly but went rapidly downhill. Currently out of football.
Ryan Pickett (29th selection)-- Pretty solid career, averaging over 48 tackles per year. Not currently with the team, though, and never emerged as the dominating force you want from a first round pick.
Tommy Polley (42nd selection)-- In what's rapidly becoming a theme here....out of football. Had a pretty decent career, actually, so I don't know if that was due to injury or what.
Robert Thomas (31st selection)-- Spent just 3 seasons with the Rams and played just two games for the Raiders last year.
Travis Fisher (64th selection)-- Having a pretty decent career actually, about what you'd expect for a late 2nd rounder.........but has also left St. Louis for greener pastures.
Jimmy Kennedy (12th selection)-- Currently with the Vikings, has played just 9 games the last three seasons and has only 99 tackles for his career.
Pisa Tinoisamoa (43rd selection)-- No arguments here. Great pick.
Steven Jackson (24th selection)-- Again, an awesome pick. Probably the best player on the team.
Anthony Hargrove (91st selection)-- Back to fail, as he is (say it with feeling!)...out of football!
Alex Barron (19th selection)-- Has proven durable, missing only 3 games in his career and done a decent job on the other side from Orlando Pace...but one wonders if he was worth a Top 20 pick, they would've moved him to the left and not needed to pick Jason Smith this year.
Ronald Bartell (50th selection)-- Actually a good choice. has had a productive career, just what you'd expect for a mid 2nd rounder. Still with the team too!
Tye Hill (15th selection)-- Has played all of 12 games the past two seasons. Seems like an effective player if he could stay healthy, which apparently he can't.
Joe Klopfenstein (46th selection)-- Has all of 33 catches in three years. Seems a bit high just to take a blocking tight end, dontcha think?
Adam Carriker (13th selection)-- Currently tearing up the NFL with....43 tackles and 2 sacks in his career. Not exactly top 15 worthy.
But do we ever hear about this? Nope, just about what fools the Raiders are.