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The upcoming draft part 1: the offensive line

I thought I would just hang out and read your blogs for a while before writing this next post. Since the season is over and we are contemplating how the Raider roster will be adjusted, I thought I would comment on what I perceive we are looking for in the draft, mainly to clarify what all of you have been arguing. I tried to constrain what so many brilliant minds have concluded and thought it wise to argue for the basics; namely, the lines and what drafting might be necessary. When there are a number of areas that need work, it might become misleading as to what is the most important and amid the confusion, getting back to the basics is always the most productive. Without a doubt we can use an olb, perhaps another cb, etc., but I believe the lines are what is most important.

To justify my logic, I will use the blueprint that has always been successful, and refer to an example from the past regarding the o-line. My initial focus is on the o-line because that is the area that needs the most work. Consider the line with Upshaw and Co. That line was so powerful that, if you old-timers recall, even the sportscasters and the Tribune commented on how the Raiders had 6 starting running backs, (e.g., Van Eeghan et al.). What that tells you is that when the flow is well-established, the synchrony was so strong that anybody regardless of development - the new players as well as the veterans - could perform in a spectacular manner. Consistency was always there because the lines had depth in talented players and everyone knew what everyone else was doing. Such was the depth that it was difficult to make the Raider roster and other teams fought for our waived players like starving children. We were also able to trade for free agents whenever we needed to because we had so much depth that we could easily afford any trade we wished to make at any time, e.g., Raymond Chester for Bubba Smith, since Casper was the backup. Look at how the Pats could afford to give up Seymore and they get two 1st-round draft choices, which allows them to sculpt their teams with untarnished, young players directly from the draft, and is why they are the powerhouse that they are, and the Steelers are a second example. I always say, avoid free agents if possible and do drafting directly from college. What is most important to acknowledge and why going back to the basics is most important, is that by drafting for the line, you help your other players, e.g., drafting a wide receiver will not improve the offensive line, but drafting for the offensive line will improve your wide receivers (and rbs and qb for that matter). So, rather than drafting for that franchise wide receiver, draft for the line and make all of the wrs, qbs, and rbs that much better.

Looking at our 0-line, the main anchor position is center. Satele is an excellent C, but the problem is that big nose tackles push him around too easily and is one of the reasons why we can look so good one week and so bad the next week. I don't want to reinvent the wheel and it is better to go forward, especially when their can be a patent on future success. Gallery was considered a bust but it appears that what he needed was good coaching and to give him other people to work with that know what they are doing, which is why he was able to perform when he started working with Veldheer. Just think if we drafted a center in the second round that will not be pushed around by the big guys, one that could synchronize with Gallery as Veldheer did - that would make for a pretty powerful left side of the line. If Bruce Campbell had been played instead of Carlise, just think how synchronized he would be with Gallery by now - there is no excuse for keeping a monster like Bruce on the bench, I mean, if a Div 2 player like Veldheer could be thrown into the fire, why not Bruce? Veldheer has given up about 10 sacks and cost us many false start penalties, but at this time we can attribute that to rookie mistakes, something that Hue, Sanders, and Wiz will have to work on. Finally, we need a RT that can actually protect the qb. Walker can do some good things but he is not a complete player - too slow and cannot match up with guys like Mathis and Freeney. The o-line is the top priority for the draft because so much work is needed there. To get the depth quickly, players like Satele and Walker make excellent backups, but not starters. Finally, we must acknowledge the synchrony that a repaired o-line will allow when JC is not pressured and can read our deep-threat receivers well, and our receivers will finally be able to adjust to our qb, something that has not been done since how many qbs ago? When the right side of the line becomes as synchronized with flow as the left side, we will have the bully we are looking for. What do you think?

Signed, Offense-OrientedPsycho

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