The uncertainty of the season might pale in comparison to that of what will happen to our beloved Oakland Raiders. Sure, we like to think we know as much about our organization as any as die-hard fans, and we might on occasion be correct, but often, like days before the draft, we truly know very little. Last year, the name Rolando McClain was tossed around early and often, as many names have been of late for this year's prospects, and though that target might have been mired in as much speculation on others in the ultimate hours before the draft, no one was really surprised when we took him(relieved, perhaps). We knew we had a qb problem, and though many of us knew what we wanted to happen to said problem, we were as unsure of that outcome at the time as any, leading to speculation on the Clausens and Tebows of yesteryear. This year, we are fairly certain the organization has committed to Jason Campbell, whom we'd become aware would be the newest Raider following last year's final picks, but beyond that, there is little certainty of anything, and we also know with the state of the league as it is today, we know even less than we think we might about free agents who might or might not return, the trade situation for draft day, and whether or not we stick with the picks we have and who we will take and with what pick.
That was a mouthful... hit the jump to read more about what we don't really know:So this year we hear speculation that for the first time ever, seven or more quarterbacks might be taken in the first three rounds, but even those talking about that aren't sure that will happen either, and are quite vocal about it. Not even in that crop in '83 when we saw six; lots of pundits are saying there could even be eight in the first two rounds. Does that mean we will move on Kaepernick? While I will not hate the pick whatsoever, I have not really thought we would go after him at any point and still really don't, and hope we can somehow get a guy who can step in and play tackle at this level. I think the organization recognizes the need, but don't know if we are interested in any of the talent we project available, and I'm even more unsure about how the early movement will affect the run on the tackle talent, so there again, I just have no clue. Am I alone?
It's pretty clear here that there's a certain amount of consensus in mocks, but they seem to be tempered more by guys WE want than what we believe will happen. Even there, a certain amount of disagreement abounds on the Wisniewskis, Sands/Jarretts, Matthews and Herzlichs... So what can we be sure of? I would say the Al Davis curveball at some stage of the game is inevitable, but last year was fairly without his usual DHB style reach pick, or the out of left field head scratcher. Are we overdue? Some here claim with certainty the Asom1 is long gone, while a small faction of us maintain that he wants to and will remain in silver and black, and even that question tempers our big board a great deal, as many expert draft boards have us taking corner first. The irony of that situation is that we could still take a cb first, and that to me still won't mean Nnamdi isn't back. With Al Davis, no one but he himself knows until it happens.
Add in the status of contract negotiation, no CBA, the lift on the lockout that might not be a lift,, the salary cap or lack thereof... I think it's pretty clear history will be made this time around, in more ways than one. For some strange reason, I feel very good about our odds; Al's experience having navigated labor unrest, negotiations of multiple CBAs, coaching, managing, and owning a football team before and after the league mergers and being among the few to have sued the NFL and won, more than once should prove beneficial. I also like that most of the first round talent makes it desirable to not have a first round pick.
As we speak, the organization's gears might be in motion in procuring a certain few players--one thing we can be certain of is that Al will get the guys he wants--but as per usual, we will not know of that until it happens.
So there: I've said a whole lot of nothing. I know not who we will pick first, second, third, nor at all. I'm pretty sure a lot of you know who I'd like and where, too. But, like that fateful moment in a draft not so long ago, when our number came up and some great players were on the board, I had let my better judgment lapse and since I was convinced I wanted Michael Crabtree so badly and that there was no way he'd be there, when he was, the possiblity we'd take Darrius Heyward-Bey in my mind had been obscured by my own desires. So much has happened since then, that I'm still not sure the Crabtree pick would have been any improvement over DHB, and I don't need to see any stat books.
I do feel we will get at least one G/C or tackle early, and a linebacker in mid rounds. I also think a defensive back is on the menu. About quarterback, I could not be more unsure which direction we will go, but am excited about the possibilities this year brings. I also think the players will be arriving at the facility in the morning.
I am also becoming more confident that football will resume business as usual sooner than later, and that our Raiders will continue to grow in the Hue Jackson regime, and for that, I am excited and grateful.
Thursday can't come fast enough! No matter what happens, I will support the picks as always, and hold the same expectations for them I would with any player who dons the silver and black. Best of luck, Mr. Davis, Mr. Jackson, and Mr. Bresnahan. Make this a draft to remember for the Nation.
Here's looking forward to saying this again under normal circumstances: GO RAIDERS!!!!!!!!