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This is so much better than last year.

When I think back on all the wild Friday nights I don’t remember, I can only smile now as I sit here and evaluate the potential pros and cons of selecting Cam Thomas, Bruce Campbell, or Perrish Cox with the 106th pick in the NFL draft.

I love this new draft format or maybe I just love this draft. Can it be? I, a Raiders fan, love the draft? Am I dreaming? Am I actually writing this right now? Can you, are you reading this? Are you just a figment of my imagination…or am I one of yours? Jesus, if I am not sleeping, I need to be. I am running on fumes at the moment. It has been a long week.

For the sake of this piece, I am just going to proceed like the past few days actually happened.

Those days, as they have been presented to me, have seen the Raiders make nothing but smart and solid moves. They are taking quality guys, with high floors and players that figure to be a fixture on this team for years to come. It's like a draft where every pick is a Zach Miller.

Coming into this draft, what I wanted more than anything was for the Raiders to maximize their value with their picks. I didn’t want any more blind reaches like last year. They are delivering on this wish.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the second round when they dropped down 3 spots for a 5th round pick and then 2 spots for a 6th. They then picked up the DL they wanted with the 44th pick. While I would have preferred the selection of a run stuffing DT/NT at 44, because it fills a bigger need, I am much more excited about the long-term prospects of Lamarr Houston than any of the big heavies that were available and one of them is still available.

So, where do they go from here?

The Raiders need an interior offensive lineman or two, that has starter potential, but I don’t see any that would be worth the 106th pick. According to our very own Saint, Jim Otto wants Mitch Petrus. This means I want Mitch Petrus. He may be a bit of a reach at 106 and he may not be around at the 138th pick. Maybe this is where Morrison will help us slide up from 138 to get Petrus.

While Petrus is not worth 106, I believe all 3 of the guys mentioned at the start of the article are a great value with that pick.

Who’s it going to be?

Although Cable was non-committal in his post draft comments I am running on the assumption that the plan is to keep Veldheer at tackle, which makes Campbell unlikely. Also, Cable sounds like a mad scientist when he starts talking about his plans for the defense, so maybe they aren't concerned about a DT/NT, but I am. So....

I think there is more quality DB’s left than DT/NT’s, so Cox can go somewhere else, too. Cam Thomas come on down (unless the Redskins draft you). The guy is the prototypical blocker occupier that McClain can ride on his way to the hall of fame. Take him, then Petrus, then a DB, another OL, a FB and the best player available.

I'll worry about the DB's available (Syd'Quan?) in this situation. My other big concern with this scenario will be Veldheer. It might be asking to much of him to come in and start at RT. He will be facing a big jump in competition and he is a little raw. This will mean the O-line, and consequently offense, will be in trouble. I take solace in the fact that Cable's job is riding on this and it is his specialty. And really, in the grand scope of things, I think any Raider fan is looking for progress this year more than championships and Veldheer looks destined to be a quality O-line starter for years to come.

I could get into this more—I really could, but why? I need sleep and by the time I get up tomorrow this pick and a few others will already be made. In fact, by the time most of you read this, this pick will probably already be made.