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An Outside Perspective on the Raider's Day One Draft:

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I asked ohnokoolaid to write a mock draft of day one for the Raiders with OL, TE, WR and QB as needs and he did a great job in throwing out some names I had not heard of. This is a great read and should give us some info to start thinking about our 07 Draft.

He is a Bronco Fan, but don't hold that against him, who loves all things draft related and is very informed...

"Before we dive into what the Raiders could do on day one of the NFL draft, it's important to look at what Oakland might target and how the draft fits their needs.  

Unfortunately for Oakland, coaches cannot be drafted, but besides that point, this team has one of the shallowest benches in the NFL, so it will be pivotal for Oakland to draft a broad range of talent that stands a chance of sticking in the NFL, if that means targeting less "high upside" guys, even if that goes against Davis' MO, the team needs more filler talent than most in the NFL.  That's something to focus on for day two, but for day one, the offense might require its undivided attention.  

Oakland could draft a starter for any position on offense.  Given the parameters set by Saint, we're to assume that Moss and Porter find their way out of town, landing two more first day picks, so to my knowledge, we're working with five picks.  He's also said to assume that Calvin Johnson is the Raiders first pick, a wise one I'll discuss in a moment.  So that leaves practically the rest of the offense for rounds two and three.  

First and foremost, the Quarterback situation needs to again be dealt with.  The draft doesn't have last year's star power at QB, but it has plenty of intriguing options down the board.

Running Back takes a downturn this year, with needed help from the junior class to infuse more impact potential into the draft, but runners this year are either too big or too small after the first two rounds.  Some nice finds, sure, but RB isn't 10-15 backs deep as it has been recently.

The offensive line really doesn't start to take shape until after the Senior Bowl and Scouting combine, where the size discrepancies become apparent and we have a better idea of the athleticism of these guys.  Still, Oakland has a need here, but could also use more time to allow the recently drafted players like Boothe and McQuistan to develop.  Langston Walker could use a replacement, and Gallery might have to go back to the right side, so if a left tackle project can be found in round three, he should be selected.  So without further set-up, the Raiders first day projection:

Round 1:  Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech

Without a doubt, the draft's top talent.  Johnson gets a bad rap for disappearing in games, but when you're quarterback is an abomination, that isn't a fair criticism for the receiver.  Johnson has the total package, deceptive deep speed with a long stride, a physical presence over the middle and in the running game, hands to pluck the ball in traffic or high point it in the red zone, and savvy route running with head fakes and jab steps.  With a real quarterback, Johnson will dominate games and is the closest thing to a sure bet in this draft.  His low end is Eric Moulds, with a high end of Terrell Owens in his prime.  In a league of prim donnas at wide receiver, Johnson's most impressive trait may be that he never once ratted out his sorry quarterback or the weak offensive gameplan.

Round 2:  Drew Stanton, QB, Michigan State

Here's where I take some leeway.  This may look like a questionable pick by most, but keep in mind that Stanton entered the season with aspirations of being a top ten pick, so the talent is there.  Where Stanton may be a poor fit for Oakland is in how raw he enters the league.  He's a similar quarterback to David Carr, but unlike what Carr received, Stanton will need at least one year with a clipboard learning to make better reads and progressions.  Where Stanton best fits Oakland is his tools.  Stanton has a very nice quarterback build with above average to good athleticism.  He's a good runner and knows how to move in the pocket.  Stanton's athleticism could make up for the team's pass protection deficiencies, but the downside is that if pressed into action, Stanton has yet to show he can consistently make the right decisions.   Michigan State's collapse has dropped Stanton's stock, but a good Senior Bowl could put him back in round one.  With patience and good coaching, Stanton could be a star (he reminds me of Tony Romo with more athleticism and a stronger arm), but he shouldn't factor into any team's 2007 plans.

Round 2:  Kyle Young, OL, Fresno State

As I stated earlier, offensive line is hard to judge this early, and it's especially more difficult with anticipating which underclassmen might turn pro (Baker of USC, Long of Michigan, Gaither of Maryland).  Justin Blalock would be most ideal, but we're assuming this is the traded pick, and is in the middle of round two, when Justin will be long gone.  Kyle Young should slip as more underclassmen enter, and he's position less for the time being.  He's listed as a center, but let's get real, there are very few successful 6'5 325 lbs. centers in the NFL.  Young might not be the greatest athlete, but it's a plus for his size and his tenacity deserves high marks.  He's a better run blocker than pass protector, but he's a very experienced college starter that should take little time getting ready for the pro game, and could play any of the five offensive line positions, though he's best fit for the right side.  I really like his polish and versatility.

Round 3:  Matt Spaeth, TE, Minnesota

In the real world, this pick has little sex appeal, meaning he won't fit a Raiders draft, but this is the type of player Oakland should target.  As a receiver, Spaeth won't be a game breaker.  He has a huge frame, average athleticism, and soft hands, making him a better safety valve than go-to guy, but that isn't where his value lies.  Spaeth is one of the better blockers to come out at the tight end position in some time.  He's well studied in the zone blocking concepts of Denver/Minnesota, and has had plenty of experience blocking in-line for the run and the pass.  He's had extensive playing time in all four seasons he's played in Minnesota, so there's no assembly required.  When you have a struggling offensive line, one of the more underrated components is the tight end blocking, and Spaeth can take the pressure off either tackle, as well as open holes downfield.  His polish could make him a better receiver than projected, and Kiper currently ranks him as his number one senior tight end, but he doesn't have the flare of some of the junior tight ends, and he's second on my senior list behind Newton of Oregon State.  He won't fill the box score, but Spaeth's real value lies in the stat sheets of the players around him that he supports with his blocking ability.

Round 3:  Johnny Lee Higgins, WR, UTEP

This could be the deepest receiver class in years if the talented juniors leave the NCAA in mass.  It's for this reason that I'm projecting Higgins to middle of round three.  A poor man's Lee Evans, Higgins is an explosive player in a small package, that can do damage on special teams and on offense.  Oakland has solid talent at returner in Carr, but Higgins could elevate the return game another level, and his presence on offensive could be special.  Higgins not only has top notch quickness and good speed, but he has vision and route running ability.  Like all small receivers, durability and play in traffic is questioned, but when you envision an offense designed around Calvin Johnson, and one with a big, physical receiver in Curry, having a third threat with explosion isn't a bad thing.  Higgins is yet another player with extensive college experience, and has been involved in a pro style attack with Jordan Palmer at UTEP.  He's at his best on making plays in the open field, especially on quick hits.  

So that's a day one scenario as the draft stands in December.  The value board will change dramatically in the coming months, as more juniors declare and stocks begin to rise and fall based on post-season workouts.  At the very least, this should help get the draft juices flowing, and starts some interesting debate for fans looking at re-tooling for the `07 season.  One draft can't turn this Raiders team around, but it can certainly lay the foundation for the team to build on.  I'll try to duck in every once and a while to answer questions, and be sure to stop by Mile High Report in early `07 for more scouting reports and potential draft trends as I see them."

I would like to thank him for his work.

Here is the link to the entire piece:

http://www.milehighreport.com/story/2006/12/14/13509/255