With much ink and bad blood spilled and impassioned arguments made, the Raiders' 1st round pick is all but settled, at least, among the intelligentsia of the fan base: Either OT Trent Williams or Bryan Bulaga or Guard Mike Iupati will certainly be associated with the Raiders for years to come starting Aprill 22nd. Now the time has come to make the all important 2nd selection for Friday, April 23.
Given that our O-line upgrade is made Thursday, the next position of need must be settled between the other three positions of greatest need - DT, CB, MLB. Note: there will be some who protest that QB should be on, or at the top, of that short list; to them I say, "In Bruce We Trust."
Now, I will start by saying that after painstaking deliberation over our present state, there is little doubt that the LCB position is a glaring need crying out to Al and to heaven above for help It is true that Chris Johnson is persecuted by OCs and QBs who would not venture throwing against the living legend - the Asom1 - and wisely choose to exploit the less gifted CJ and his even less worthy understudy (the much, and deservedly, maligned and overpaid) Stanford Routt. With a more proficient CB that leaky disorderly and sometimes shameful weakness called the left flank would be solidified and more evenly balanced with the right flank. The pass-rush too would suddenly become more effective.
Indeed as well, we were deficient on the D-line interior last season. But, while our CB position is very thin - we now have only 3 CBs on the roster - at DT we have four players (Kelly, Bryant, Chris Cooper and William Joseph). Moreover, one of those DTs is destined for greatness, Desmond Bryant, a muscular 300lb war machine with deep understanding and determination. Kelly is better than average and occasionally flashes goodness but, alas, is given to sloth and played inconsistently. There is the possibility, given his talent, that our new DL coach, Mike Waffle, can make him play closer to his potential.
Then, there is the MLB position which is held down, so to speak, by Kirk Morrison who despite making over 100 tackles/year is not considered worthy of a 3rd round draft pick because after six years Morrison still cannot adequately read and adapt to defenses and takes himself out of plays and gets entangled with blockers. If Morrison could shed blocks he might have challenged Willis for the tackling crown - at least in quantity if not quality - for Kirk is not a hard hitter. There is, however, Ricky Brown who showed good potential until he was injured; Rick is healthy now and may usurp the veteran for the greater good and glory of the S&B.
So now we must weigh our options and wisely select which position and player to draft with our 2nd pick.2nd Round projections (and a couple of reaches) in positions of need:
Devin McCourty - Rutgers (HT: 5-10¾ - WT: 193 - 40: 4.48) Very high football IQ, a game-changer, makes a lot of plays... Reads the quarterback well and breaks on the ball quickly, has very quick hands, can get them up in a hurry.
Perrish Cox - Oklahoma State (HT: 5-11⅜ - WT: 195 - 40: 4.57) absolute ballhawk, always making plays both in coverage and in run support... Physical player, is not afraid of contact... Does not miss many open-field tackles.
Brandon Ghee - Wake Forest (HT: 5-11⅝ - WT: 192 - 40: 4.45) Good tackler, has been known to force fumbles, loves to lay the big hit, puts his helmet into the football.
Patrick Robinson - Florida State (HT: 5-11¼ - WT: 190 - 40: 4.46) Very physical at the line of scrimmage, likes to play in press coverage... Great hands, can make acrobatic plays in coverage... Has terrific instincts, can read quarterbacks eyes
Syd'Quan Thompson - California (HT: 5-9¼ - WT: 186) Reads and reacts well, very good awareness in coverage... Tackles very well for his size, one of the better tackling CBs in the nation... Good speed, closes and recovers well... Good fundamentals on his back pedal and footwork... good at jamming WRs at the line. Instinctive playmaker, has that innate ability to change the game when he’s on the field.Durable, has not missed a game for the Bears in four seasons as a starter.(projected 3rd b/c he's short (but he jumps like a flea)).
LaMarr Houston - Texas (HT: 6-2¾ - WT: 305 - 40: 4.85) Very explosive off the ball, lateral quickness makes him tough to block inside... Has a strong base at the point of attack, very disruptive in the backfield.
Linval Joseph - East Carolina (HT: 6-4½ - WT: 328 - 40: 5.11) Generates pressure on the QB, workout warrior, Space-eater, difficult to move, 39 reps of 225 pounds, 415 lb bench press, 560 lb squat.
Daryl Washington - TCU (HT: 6-1¾ - WT: 230 - 40: 4.66) Very athletic, all-around player. Consistent tackler. Good speed, uses speed to scrape well and get sideline to sideline with ease... a leader.
Pat Angerer - Iowa (HT: 6-0¼ - WT: 235 - 40: 4.70) projected 3rd round 242 tackles in two years... Good in pass coverage, five interceptions in 2008... Played on one of the top defenses in the Big Ten... Plays tough, does not give up on plays, hits the gaps hard while maintaining control... drives feet very well when tackling, moves piles backward.
Sean Lee - Penn State (HT: 6-2⅛ - WT: 236 - 40: 4.76 )Really smart player who has a nose for the football... Play recognition skills are among the best in college football... a leader.