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NFL Draft Review

We haven’t had a ton of NFL Draft coverage here on VFT this year (though Rahim’s Raiders work has been very good). However, I am a huge draft nut and have been following the process, so I’ll try to coalesce my opinions on the Draft into this post. As a general rule, I don’t grade teams’ drafts, but I do rank them, so that serves as a good general idea of where teams fall.
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1. Kansas City Chiefs– Simply put, I was blown away by what they did. Instead of getting jumpy and making big moves to dump some of their excess picks, they made smart moves when they had to and produced a very important class for their long-term success. Dorsey was one of my favorite guys in the draft, and Brandon Albert’s versatility on the line will work wonders for a team with as much in flux there as the Chiefs. He can play Guard or Tackle and will be put in the best place to help the team. Beyond the First Round, KC got players I really like in Brandon Flowers, Jamaal Charles, Brad Cottam, and a few intriguing guys in Brandon Carr and Barry Richardson. Fantastic, fantastic draft.

2. Cleveland Browns– This will surprise alot of people, considering the Browns didn’t pick until the Fourth. However, it is only fair to consider trades involving their draft picks as relevant to the draft, and their moves were spectacular in that context. In effect, they walk out of the 2008 Draft with Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers to go along with their underrated Day 2 haul in Beau Bell, Ahtyba Rubin, and Martin Rucker (among others). Cleveland didn’t need developmental talent as much as they needed ready to roll players and they used the draft to do exactly that.

3. Dallas Cowboys– While I stand by my assertion that they could have gotten Felix Jones with their second First and just picked Mike Jenkins there instead of trading up, Jerry Jones did a very good job. Those two guys will be put in the right situations for them, and Orlando Scandrick could end up being a difference-maker in the long term as well. Guys like Martellus Bennett and Tashard Choice were solid selections as well. Some are criticizing them for not drafting any WR’s, but this year’s class is terrible and I have a sneaking suspicion that there will be a few bigger contributor WR’s available down the line who fit the profile a little better….

4. Pittsburgh Steelers– They were put in a fantastic situation because they have the personnel to make taking the Best Player Available a valid strategy, made much easier when guys like Mendenhall and Sweed are up for grabs in R1 and R2. Both should be significant contributors and natural fits, and I really like Bruce Davis, Tony Hils, and taking a flier on Dennis Dixon.

5. Philadelphia Eagles– This starts first and foremost with the Panthers trade. Regardless of how it turns out (my projection: Panthers are one of the best non-playoff teams), having that extra first rounder next year will pay dividends. That could be in the form of the pick itself or possibly as a great piece in a potential WR trade. From there on, they made smart picks from Trevor Laws and DeSean Jackson (who fills both the slot WR role and the PR necessity) to the underrated Andrew Studebacker and the risky but talented Jack Ikegwuonu. Continue reading

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Raiders Draft Notes

The NFL Draft is only a few weeks away so its a good time to consider the Raiders’ draft outlook. They have the fourth pick in the draft and many analysts are projecting the team to draft Arkansas running back Darren McFadden.

However, with the emergence of Justin Fargas and the current stable of backups (Michael Bush, LaMont Jordan, and Dominic Rhodes) it seems like the team has little room to add even the most talented RB in the draft. Instead, the areas of greatest need are undoubtedly in the trenches. Instead of picking a running back to help an already good rushing attack, the Raiders should draft the best player available at their position of greatest need. More likely than not, this player will be either Sedrick Ellis or Glenn Dorsey, since its highly unlikely that both players will be selected within the first 3 picks.

The Raiders then have only three picks remaining: one in the 4th round and 2 in the 7th, as a result of other recent trades.

Their fourth round pick should definitely be spent on the offensive lineman Tom Cable most covets. The seventh round picks, being so late, are generally reserved for best player available or an individual who is worth a small risk.

There is certainly the possibility of trading some players for draft picks. This would be a smart move because Fabian Washington and Stuart Schweigert can be moved for draft picks and cap relief without significantly damaging the team. If this happens, the team would have more leeway to select at other positions, but either way it is most prudent to focus on a Defensive Tackle and Offensive Lineman before addressing any other needs.

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Oakland Raiders Pre-Draft Notes:

March 17 Update:

Given the free agent transactions that have occurred to date, we can speculate as to the ideal draft strategy that the Raiders should take in the draft. Now that the D’Angelo Hall trade is all but done, the Raiders will have the 4th pick and then will skip two rounds before picking again.

1: Take that classic DT. Dorsey or Ellis both work fine. Lest we forget, the Raiders can’t stop the run. These big boys should help shore up the interior defense and should provide Tommy Kelly with the ability to play outside at DE and earn that huge paycheck.

2: Focus on the Offensive Line. Justin Fargas can’t earn his paycheck without a competent offensive line, and Tom Cable should be given the opportunity to select his ideal linemen through this draft. Whether or not Jeremy Newberry returns, we need a good potential starter at the Center position, and I don’t believe that Jake Grove is it. Additionally, the entire line would benefit from better depth.

3. Wide Receiver is now taken care of, as is safety. That being said, there are no more gaping deficiencies in the team, so I’d simply add depth across the board.

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Raiders Update

Update #7: The D’Angelo Hall fiasco: The Raiders appear ready to trade their 2nd round pick to the Falcons for D’Angelo Hall, who by the way appears to be insane. This makes very little sense because by giving Hall the extension that will come with this trade, the Raiders will inevitably raise the price of Nnamdi Asomugha’s franchise tag. It would be great to have two of the league’s best cornerbacks on roster, but I’m not sure this is financially prudent. Especially with a high 2nd pick being the cost.

Update #6: Raiders sign Drew Carter. JaMarcus Russell now has a good set of wide receivers, with diverse skills and great physical attributes. Wide Reciever now becomes a secondary draft issue. An excellent acquisition, in my opinion.

Update #5: The Raiders restructured the deal of Dominic Rhodes. This should reinforce the idea that McFadden should not be the target at #4, barring some sort of pre-arranged trade.

Update #4: Raiders sign Javon Walker and Kwame Harris. So now they’ve addressed their major needs at WR, S, and RB, as well as replacing Barry Sims with their new probable LT. This screams to me that they’re gonna draft a DT or OL in the first round. Though I’m kind of worried about the rate at which Al Davis is spending money, they have saved a ton with the release of Barry Sims, the retirement of Warren Sapp, and the restructuring of Robert Gallery’s deal. There’s also the likely release or reworking of LaMont Jordan’s deal, which might also save some more money. And though Kwame has not exactly been successful so far, I have faith in Tom Cable to take his massive potential and turn him into a reliable player.

Update #3: Raiders sign Gibril Wilson to shore up the safety position. Unless they plan to trade Michael Huff, they’re now set at safety.

go back in time, after the cut.

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