Arr Maties! Let's count the loot!
This off-season started with Raiders fans hungry and anxious for change. Eagerly awaiting results, the barking mob grew restless as the Raiders sat idly by during the free agent signing period. Aside from sending some misfits down the short plank on the high seas, there was nothing to report. The only free agent signings were guys that were on the team last year. The already irritable fan bas was getting restless.
A couple of non-earth shattering, pre-draft day trades did little to ease the worries of a trodden fan base. It was still foggy and the ship seemed to be perpetually traveling in circles. Then the shipped stopped and the pillaging began. The Raiders crashed upon shore and started grabbing booty. In the frenzied nature of a good pillage, it can be hard to assess the quality of the gains. Let's take a step back and, like a kid after trick-or-treating, dump our bags to see what treats we have to feast on.
Just like I did for Jason Campbell, I decided to go to the real source for player evaluation, the fans.
The thing that jumped out at me more than anything is this was not a blind booty grab. The Raiders pillaged with a purpose. They brought in high character and self-motivated people. There wasn't one negative comment posted about any of the players' attitudes or work-ethic. Most players received positive comments in these areas. It seems the Raiders may actually be building towards a vision instead of using band-aids to keep severed limbs in place.
The next thing that jumped out at me is:
Silver and Black Pride is greatest blog in the world.
All other blogs are run by little girls.
S B and P #1 exporter of potassium.
Other blogs have inferior potassium. Very Nice!
Back to the topic at hand, our booty. Due to attention spans, yours and mine, I am going to break this into two parts. Keep reading to find out the lucky members of part 1.
I'll take some McClain, with some extra McClain and a side of McClain, please.
I expected 'Bama fans to gush about about McClain since he just led them to the Championship, but I was shocked at their gushiness. I think if Rolando were to give a Dirty Sanchez to a wife of most of the Alabama fans, the husbands would brag about it to their friends and ask her to never wash it off.
Alabama fans feel the only valid question mark about his game is his ability to cover someone in man to man defense. They have no doubts, however, that he will figure this out and not be a liability.
McClain was described as Saban's brain on the field. He knew all of his and his teammates assignments in Saban's complex defensive schemes and he typically knew the opposition's offense as well as the opposition did.
As far as any other concerns I have seen voiced here, they were quick to dispel them.
Alabama used many 4-3 sets. There is zero concern that he can not excel in a 4-3 defense. His lack of 40 speed is nowhere near indicative of his fast game speed.
He is good at shedding blockers. His intensity and effort were never in question. My favorite part of the post was this comment regarding the poll:
You 6 assholes who voted for 'solid starter' should be ashamed of yourselves. Or go back to Track 'Em Tigers
The number of 'assholes' ended up being 10. I take it as a good sign, that people view a rookie being projected as a solid starter, as offensive.
Actually, I lied. My favorite thing was the poll. Out of 188 voters, almost half voted that he would end up in the Hall of Fame. Unrealistic expectations for any rookie, but a great sign!
Rolando McClain will be a
Hall of Famer.
Pro Bowl caliber player.
out of the league in 5 years.
Week 2: Reunited, and it feels so good!
Reading thefans' responses about Houston, I am still confused about the Raiders' plans to use him as a DE. Texas fans feel that he is best suited to be a 4-3 DT or a 3-4 end.
He is quick, but not fast enough to be a dominant 4-3 pass rushing DE. His run D is not in question, however.
Texas fans had nothing but glowing things to say about his game. They are quick to point out that he outplayed Geral McCoy last year. They love his attitude, intensity and work ethic. They site his use of his hands to shed blockers giving him the ability to stuff out the oppositions run game. He knows how to shoot the gaps and get good penetration. Teams did not have success running at Houston.
While they don't feel he is currently a blocker eating NT, that most of us our clamoring for, he may become one. By almost all accounts, Houston has not yet reached his physical potential. He improved every year and his frame can handle extra weight. They feel we can expect him to be a solid to dominant contributor to the D-line for years to come.
I think Lamarr Houston will be a
Hall of Famer.
This looks like me blocking a 5 year old!
I tried to reach Hillside's fan base, but I wasn't able to contact him.
So, just to recap what other's have said about him:
The dude is raw and all upside. I have seen some people penciling him in as a starter this year--please, stop this. There is a reason he was available in the 3rd round and it wasn't because he is an amazing athlete and ready to step into a starting spot. He is only the former.
This guy knows how to take a beating.
Fans love Campbell's work in the Evil Dead series as well as his Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep. Wait, I have the wrong Bruce Campbell, again.
Fan input really started tailing off as our picks went on. There wasn't much to learn about Campbell that we didn't already know. He has freakish athletic ability and is extremely raw. He is fairly injury prone and this severely limited his game experience.
He needs to work on his awareness while learning exactly whom it is he should be blocking. When he was blocking the right person, he was fairly effective. His lack of awareness may be what fueled his switch to Guard or maybe it was born out of necessity--only the Cable Guy knows for sure. It'll be interesting to see what the future holds. He has the body and talent to be a dominant Tackle.
Nobody mentioned his work ethic and drive as a positive or negative. These qualities should only be bolstered by the fact that he went lower in the draft then he hoped. Having a freakish athlete working for a contract is never a bad thing.
Bruce Campbell will be
a pro bowl caliber player.
a legitimate starter.
a back-up level player.
out of the league in five years.
In the future, will we be celebrating or hoping in these moments?
Fan comments were still plummeting.
He is fast, but not elusive. He makes big plays with his speed and not his moves.
It was mentioned that his hands improved each year. His routes were described as okay and we can expect him to come in right away and start as a return man, but not a WR.
He does catch routes underneath as well as going deep and he is not afraid to go over the middle. He knows and spent most of his time in the slot.
Jacoby Ford will be a
a legit NFL slot wr.
returner with limited wr duties.
just a return man.
out of the league in 5 years.
Stay tuned for part two. Some Bat time, Same Bat channel.