We all have seen the numerous mock drafts and free agency posts by many of the members on the board. And I have posted to many boards my wishes as well. What to do in free agency, what to do in the draft? Those are easily the two questions on everyone's mind in Raider Nation. My disagreement with many is that we are not as far away as everyone keeps stating if we get fortunate in free agency and draft right. I have been advocating pursuing Alex Mack from Cleveland at Center, and moving Wiz to LG, and hopefully we can pick up another Guard such as Beadles in free agency or Yankey in the draft in the 2nd round. Yes, I know since Mike Lombardi & Joe Banner have departed Cleveland, Mack may choose to stay now. But he will still test free agency. And I know Yankey may not survive until the 36th pick, but can you imagine an OL of Veldheer, Wiz, Mack, Yankey/Beadles, Watson/Pashos. And you have depth with Watsons or Pashos, Brisiel, Barnes and McCants. Re-signing Veldheer and two more moves and that OL is already shored up.
I have also advocated picking up Hakeem Nicks in free agency, then selecting Sammy Watkins with the #5 pick in the draft. I get it when many of us want to trade the pick and move down and get more draft choices. I also get it when many defend Reggie when he gave up a #3 pick for only one more additional pick. I disagreed then, and disagree now. To me it doesn't make a difference how weak or strong a draft is - if you give up a top 5 pick, you should easily get 3 additional picks. If not 3, at least 2. I don't trust Reggie's selections in the higher rounds of the draft & I definitely don't trust the Raiders scouts. Reggie's success thus far has been his low draft selections and UDFA selections. Sio Moore was a great choice in Round 3 last year & although Tyler Wilson was a bad pick, Reggie has had plenty of success in the lower rounds and UDFA. I applaud him for that. But this year we can't miss on any draft choice, especially in the first two rounds.
I say that to say we need playmakers!! This team has not been above .500 since 2001 and as a bad team, you don't get good by constantly giving up your high draft choices. You need to get playmakers on both offense & defense. This year, I roll the dice and select Watkins. Imagine - Nicks, Watkins, Streater, Moore and Holmes at WR. We cannot beat that. Especially if it shakes out that Jennings, Reece, Sheets and Murray are your RBs. I don't care if the QB is McGloin, Vick, Schaub or McCown, that QB has to be salivating at the possibilities. And the way Watkins is moving up draft boards, he may not be there at #5, and it may come down to Watkins or Bridgewater at #5. I still select Watkins. I like Bridgewater, but I don't think Reggie, DA or Olson will honestly give Bridgewater the opportunity to succeed. Truthfully, I really think those guys want a veteran QB. I think McGloin has a huge upside with the right weapons. Making those moves give McGloin or any QB some serious weapons.
TE is not a priority! Yes, I said it. Hopefully David Ausberry comes back healthy and we have a TE corp of Ausberry, Rivera and Kasa. And just like that, your offense is fixed with playmakers and depth.
It may take more for the Defense to get there, but the Offense is set with smart moves. We need D linemen for sure as well as CBs and depth at every position. But if you make those immediate moves on Offense, then you can completely concentrate on getting the Defense right. Yes, re-sign Houston, Woodson, Sims & Young. Vance Walker, Mike Jenkins & Porter are all very, very low priority. All 3 should only be re-signed if you can't pick up who you want in free agency & via the draft & UDFA. If you do re-sign them, make it for depth and only a one-year contract for all three.
Smart moves are what we need from Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen this off-season. As much as I would love for this team to reach the playoffs next year, I'm more excited about drastic improvements and marching towards something good, something special...jumpstarting the next Team of the Decades. No more 4-12. Hell, no more below .500. I know none of us as armchair GMs & Coaches will ever agree on what we need to do to get better for the ages, but I think Watkins will be that player we need him to be - I think he will be our AJ Green, Josh Gordon or Julio Jones. Sorry, there is only one Calvin Johnson...lol...
Silver & Black Forever Baby!!!