Hue Jackson thinks the Oakland Raiders got the best player in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Sure, the Raiders didn't have a pick, but that's just how good they've gotten at this draft thing. Actually, Jackson—as he has maintained throughout this process—views Richard Seymour as the Raiders first-round selection. And he brought it up again.
We've already discussed most of Hue's interview on Sirius XM, but the following quote in particular deserved its own post. Gil Brandt mentioned the Raiders had a strong draft despite not having a first round selection, and he wanted Jackson to comment on Wisniewski and Barksdale. Jackson had to address his first round pick first: Take the jump...
Absolutely. I want to take you back because, you’re right. A lot of people say we didn’t have a first round draft pick, but we really felt like we did because obviously we got to retain the services of Richard Seymour who we traded for and we felt we had the best first round draft pick in the draft. I feel very good about him and where he’s headed.
There certainly is no denying that the Raiders have by far the most productive first round selection, but that's not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about if the trade was worth it. It's something I've avoided, because I just really have no idea how to judge it. There is way too much gray area. Seymour was on the last year of his deal when the Raiders traded for him. Who's to say they wouldn't have signed him? And with the money they've given him I think there is a pretty good chance they would have. But who knows? Maybe there is no way he would have signed here.
It is pretty clear he wasn't going to be re-signed by New England. That is why they were willing to trade him. With no ties to the Raiders, and the team still under the purple drank cloud Seymour may have avoided them like their QB avoided sobriety.
For the Patriots part, they essentially traded one year of Richard Seymour for Nate Solder. From that point of view you'd have to say that it was worth it for the Pats. However, I'm not sure the strategy was sound. They could have franchised or brought back Seymour last year in an uncapped year, and he very well may have been a big enough presence on D to get them to the Super Bowl. But I don't care about the Pats and their now perpetual pretty good machine. Back to the Raiders.
Okay, so the Raiders traded a pick that ended up being Nate Solder for Richard Seymour. The same Richard Seymour they may or may not have been able to acquire for last season anyway. But while the Pats can view this as a Seymour for Solder deal the Raiders cannot. Had they never traded for Seymour they would have been picking way higher than No. 17.
Here is where judging this pick gets into headache inducing time travel logic loops. And ultimately that is what makes me say the pick was a success. I like where this team is. Especially in light of where it was pre-Dick.
Had Seymour never arrived would Tommy Kelly have got himself in shape? Would Matt Shaughnessy have developed into a quality DE? Would LaMarr Houston had as productive rookie season? I think it is safe to assume Seymour contributed at least in part to all of this.
And then there is the impact he has made on the field. Seymour was downright dominant for stretches last year. And when you are that good the team you play on is going to start to adopt at least parts of your personality. This team is light years ahead of where it was from when he got here. I am not sure how much of that is due to him, but I do know at least part of it is due to him, and I am not going back in time to step on the butterfly.
If the Raiders were in a position to make this trade again I would want them to do make it 100 times out of 100. Now go out there and make me proud in a non-contract post lockout year Seymour.