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From "-" into DHB, it is Make or Break Time for Darrius Heyward-Bey

"With the 7th Overall Pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders Select.: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Wide Receiver out of Maryland."

When I heard those words I can not tell you the amount of cuss words that exploded out of my mouth. I thought it was a cruel joke. I wanted Michael Crabtree if we were picking a WR, but even more so I wanted B.J. Raji to come and hold down the middle of our defense. Obviously DHB has not been as good of a player as Raji has been, but he has been a better Pro than Crabtree has despite not being as naturally gifted. His work ethic and team first mentality has set him apart from the 49ers wide receiver in my mind.

I will tell you this much with certainty, DHB has exceeded my low expectations of him. Now I want to see him exceed Al Davis's lofty expectations of him. I really enjoyed hearing about how at DHB's notoriously low moments that Al still made it a point to tell Darrius that he believed in him. It struck a cord with Heyward-Bey and has really helped him develop into an NFL WR. He wants nothing more than to honor the Great Al Davis, and for that DHB is a true Raider in my book.

He has a long way to go yet, but he is doing everything he can to get there. He still jumps when its obvious that he does not have to, which is mind bogglingly frustrating. That is something I really hope we don't see much of anymore. He still catches with his body and has his drops too. Nobody can deny that he is not a polished finished product, but to see the jump that he made last year was a real joy. The work ethic that he has consistently shown has really endeared him to me. Anybody who cares that much and tries that hard is awfully hard to bet against.

He is not our best receiver on our team, that goes to Denarius Moore. He is not the player with the most potential, that now goes to Juron Criner in my opinion. What DHB brings to the table more so than anybody else is heart. It takes more than heart to stay in this league, but he is doing everything he can to prove Mr. Davis correct. He has already come a long way from his lowliest of lows when the members of this blog (Me Included) would not even use his name. It was "-", and it was almost exclusively combined with insults and a complete lack of support from the most loyal fan base in all of sports.

Nobody could blame us due to his high draft status and low production. Now we are seeing some of the things that Al saw in him and most of us are willing to give him more of a chance going into this year. This is the make or break season for DHB as an Oakland Raider though. Succeed and we will fully embrace him but fail and he will most likely not be in our famed colors anymore. Good luck DHB, make Al Davis proud and the doubters bite their tongues. There are a lot of people out there that never thought you would be even as good as last year. Show each and every one of them just how good you really can be and truly become another part of the legacy that is the Oakland Raiders.

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