With the trade deadline some 24 hours away, the Raiders, with the unfortunate injury to starting QB Jason Campbell, are now players for a playoff caliber quarterback. Typically alot of deals that happen at the deadline involve draft picks and that is something the Raiders don't have much of due to previous moves, they are without picks in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds of the 2012 draft. The 3rd round pick was sacrificed as a part of the supplemental draft that put Terrelle Pryor in a Silver and Black jersey. So, one of the first things that needs to be analyzed is what trade chips the team can use to acquire a player of need before the deadline.
The Raiders have a surplus at receiver. Al, in his infinite wisdom, over the last couple seasons has done a great job collecting young fast talent on the outside for the Raiders late in the draft and those players are beginning to show their worth far exceeds the round they were selected in. Jacoby Ford stepped on the scene last year and proved his big play capability not only at receiver but also returning kicks. Teams love his playmaking ability and the speed that Al was always looking for, to the chagrin of the haters of Raider Nation, is what has NFL GM's drooling. It is that speed that gets DBs backpeddling and safeties setting up further and further downfield that opens up the underneath routes, plays to the flat, and of course the vaunted Silver and Black running game. Another later round pick that has caught the attention of many is Denarius Moore. Moore, a 5th round selection in this past draft is also a burner. He's shown the ability to combine that track speed in an athlete that can compete for the ball at it's highest point. He has been a game changer in the early season on go routes, balls to the post, and even on reverses. Every team needs that one guy on the outside that forces the secondary to fear that big shot deep down the field and these two guys do that. Don't forget Louis Murphy. After being selected in the 4th round of the 09 draft, Murphy has also shown his ability to get down the field and make plays. Coming off a 521 yard and 4 touchdown appearance as a rookie, Murphy followed with 609 yards in the passing game last season and is seen as someone that could potentially become a real star in the league, just now in his 3rd season as a pro. Al took some heat over the last couple seasons with the selection of Heyward-Bey in the 1st round of the 09 draft, but much of that talk has been quieted as DHB has become Oakland's most consistent pass catcher on a markedly improved team this year. He's put quality performances together week to week to show that 1st round love given by Al was all worth it. Now, add into the mix Derek Hagan who differs from the rest of the group in that this guy is a get down and dirty chain mover. Hagan will go over the middle on crosses and slants and fit gaps in the zone that brings a different skill set than some of the afforementioned burners. Chaz Shillens anyone? How can we lose sight of this guy? Chaz was a 7th round selection by Al and the gang in 08 and many feel if not for some ill-timed injuries that this guy has all the tools to be a quality NFL receiver. That's 6 quality receivers on the outside and the depth is great but Hue can't get all those guys enough touches to allow each to do what they do and the team with the recent injury at quarterback is extremely thin at the position that gets all those guys the ball.
Let us take a look at our trade bait value. Although the Raiders see the value in the tools of the trade that Shillens and Hagan bring to the table, at this stage they're probably not going to land the gunslinger that carries a team to the playoffs. DHB has been the man so far so moving him is unlikely. That leaves Ford, Moore, and Murphy as the guys that could land us the guy we need behind center. I really like the upside with Ford and Moore so if a deal can be done with Murphy and a combination of picks that is the move I would make.
Trade partners is the next area we'll address. It has been recently publicized that Hue wanted to get the Bengals on the phone due in large part to the time he spent there as receivers coach and his opinion of their disgruntled/quasi-retired QB Carson Palmer. Palmer and the Bengals have been at odds due to his unwillingness to lace them up for Cincinnati. Andy Dalton has come onto the scene for the Bengals and along with a power running game featuring Cedric Benson, Dalton has mixed in throws to TE Jermaine Gresham and WR's Jerome Simpson and AJ Green to the tune of a little over 200 yards a game. Might the Bengals finally put the Palmer saga to bed by acquiring a game changer on the outside from the Raiders along with a 6th round pick in the upcoming draft? How about a mid-round selection in 2013 coupled with an early 20's speedster that could make life for Dalton, Gresham, and Benson a little easier? Other possible trade partners could include the cross-town Niners whose short passing attack may not be best suited for 2nd round pick Colin Kaepernick. Other teams who have become disenchanted with their situation at QB include Minnesota with McNabb and Denver with Orton.
Style and Substance is the final area we'll look at here. Not all pegs are square and not all holes are perfectly round. The Raiders have a philosophy on offense that is based on a dedication to the running game and the play action pass. Quarterbacks that best fit that style are not of the dink and dunk variety featured in West Coast offenses that are looked to for short accurate crossing routes and plays in the flat. No, the Raiders need a guy that can take seven steps, avoid the rush, and heave the ball 50 yards downfield on a rope. Of course the quarterbacks that do both well probably don't do either great or they wouldn't be a trade option after week 6. Hue saw plenty from Palmer in Cincy and feels he has the makeup needed to help the Raiders get verticle. McNabb doesn't move well anymore and I can picture him at the bottom of 300lb linemen stacked in formation if he doesn't get the ball out of there. Kaepernick is a little bit of a reach for a team that is determined to go to the playoffs this season. He may come into his own in the next few years but I believe the Silver and Black are searching for the guy that will help take them closer to the promised land this year. Orton is strange for a few reasons, it would involve a trade in-division against a team you still have to face this season and even though the guy posseses all the measurable tools, he just doesn't seem to get it done on a consistent basis. No, I think when you weigh all the factors involved that Palmer is the guy that could take the Raiders deep into the post-season. He's not super mobile but enough to slide step, has some pocket awareness, and has the arm to get the ball downfield. He's familiar with Hue and although the offenses differ, the Chiefs and then a bye and then the Broncos could give the Raiders the time they need to get him up to speed. I have to think Al is looking down saying get the kid from USC, he has Raider written all over him.
Thank you for taking the time to read my first post on the Silver and Black's SB Nation. I hope you'll look for GMtalk as the column where we look at moves that can be made in the Raiders front office to best put the club in position to contend for championships. I'm looking forward to your comments. #JustWinBaby