Here is the link, on Raiders.com., to Hue Jackson's post 2011 NFL Draft first-round media session.
Don't look now, but all of a sudden Al Davis has to be considered one of the shrewdest minds in the draft. This is a fact that my own mind is just coming to grips with. The DHB reach put me in a post-traumatic funk that permeated beyond last year's amazing effort. And as we prepared for this draft, without a first-round pick, I was worried the Raiders would reach again. I am not worried anymore.
The first-round and Hue's subsequent interview put my mind at ease, which isn't surprising. Every time Hue talks I get a little more excited for Raider football. I was sold from his first comment this time. Here's Hue on the Raiders' decision not to trade up:
There was so much phone calling going on in that room like you wouldn’t believe. There was a lot of opportunities but nothing that really fit for us in exactly what we wanted to accomplish. Obviously the player has to be there when you want to trade with somebody and there were several phone calls made but it just didn’t fit for us at this time.
I love this for several reasons. First, I think it is safe to assume that the Raiders were eying Jimmy Smith and Colin Kaepernick. We also know that Al Davis likes to trade up, he likes to make a splash, and he is not patient for the player he wants. Yet, that is exactly what Davis was: patient. He did not over-extend or mortgage the future. He is letting the draft come to him, and I am convinced it will pay off. Take the jump...
At the moment, I am torn between making a play on Colin Kaepernick or taking an offensive linemen. I like Kaepernick's upside, but I want the immediate impact of the lineman. I really don't know, and I am not going to try and figure it out. I am simply going to sit back and wait for the Raiders to tell me what the correct answer is.
These guys have a plan, they are prepared, and they seem a step ahead of the pack. Here is what Hue had to say when asked about how the first-round played out:
When you know, truth be told I think this draft kind of went about like I think I told you the other day. It was heavy with the defensive line, it was heavy with the offensive line, there wasn’t a lot of running backs. There was one running back drafted, there were three receivers, there were more of a run on quarterbacks as I told you guys there would be quite a few that go in the first round. So obviously I don’t think that there were any surprises.
...tomorrow, I have a very good idea how this is going to unfold and what it is we are going to be trying to do before we make that decision. And hopefully there’ll be five or six guys that are there, we’ll wrestle with them, and find out who’s the best guy to wear the Silver and Black for us.
I believe him, and I am excited to watch the second-round unfold.
There was more to be happy about in this press conference. The questions inevitably went towards the lockout news, and the question was asked how Action Jackson was handling it and what we could expect in terms of schedule:
I love chaos. That is probably when I am at my best. There was all kinds of stuff flying around today. We get our players back then all of sudden they say hey you get to talk to them now and that’s what we did we tried to talk to every last one of them or text them. We have done it all today.
... I have tried to call every last one of them. I called them. I texted them. I have got calls back.
.... I’ve said to our players "I want to see you in this building at some point in time next week." And I think our guys will get here. They’re excited about getting here. And they’re doing everything they can to get here by Monday because that is when our team will start. That’s when our off-season program will begin.
Back to work on Monday! Well, as long as the Eighth District Court doesn't screw that up. That is a glorious thing to see. Damn, aint it good to be a Raider.