Okay, most all of us feel great about the Raiders' picks. Filling needs, bringing in guys with high football IQs, high motors, and strong work ethics. Hell, we even took a guy in the 4th round people said we were going to take in the first. So a great draft all around. And, especially, given what happened last year, a big sigh of relief for all of us. But beyond that, we all feel so good for more reasons than that.
Consider what we went through last year and what most tormented us in order:
1. The Quarterback position: Obviously, JaMarcus was the biggest problem on the team. Probably the biggest problem for any team in the league. Well, we're done with that with today's trade. We have a replacement and we've sent the right message to the entire team and its fans.
2. Stopping the run: We didn't, for the most part last year. We haven't for the most part for many years. Our first two picks recognized this and began dealing with it. Cable hinting at new schemes is promising too.
3. Chaos at receiver: The DHB disaster, Schillens' injury that never healed. The Javon Walker nightmare. All this with JaMarcus the guy throwing at them. Consider how we enter this season. DHB with a year under his belt--it can't possibly get worse than it was last year and Cable is raving about his progress. Chaz healthy. Murphy in his 2nd year. A new wideout added. A new quarterback throwing to them.
4. Protecting the QB: First, this gets easier once JaMarcus isn't under center. We all remember the "friendly fire" game against the Redskins. We added two tackles, got rid of some dead weight. It's not going to be perfect, but it's going to be better.
5. Character and attitude: "No more knuckleheads," Cable said. We brought in guys with character last year. We added the same kind of guys this year. We have stability at coach. We didn't quit last year--except some of the second halfs when JaMarcus just took the life out of the entire team. I think the character stories will change with the Raiders this year. I think we're done with that.
These are all huge changes. There are plenty of reasons to feel very good about the upcoming season.