Tuesday, March 6, 2007
What should the Raiders do?
Saying that the Oakland Raiders always make smart decisions would draw quite a laugh from football fans everywhere. And that's why they'll probably end up taking JaMarcus Russell. But, as with every draft analyst, I'm here to act like I know everything and scrutinize every move made by teams on draft day. After all, we don't have anything to lose, such as millions of dollars, several seasons, or an entire fan base. If the Raiders really want to get back into contention as quickly as possible, they'll take Calvin Johnson. Now I've voiced my opinion on taking a quarterback in the first round before. (see "1st round QB's: History" under My Top Articles) Don't. (Unless if they're named Vince Young) Why take that risk? You're putting your job and many others on the line, when you could always pay the same amount of money and get a proven veteran like Drew Brees, or an aging leader like Steve McNair (Brees got a 5 year, 50 mil contract, and 2005 #1 pick Alex Smith got 6 years, 51 mil). You could even trade a 2nd rounder for a young, underrated backup, and always try to strike gold on day 2, when the stakes are much lower. When you have a guy like Vince Young (whom many doubted but, I'm proud to say, I didn't), I can understand taking a quarterback at #1, but I'm just not sold on Brady or JaMarcus. As with all QB's, they both have some flaws (Brady's inability to win the big game, JaMarcus' decision making and reads), but are both very good prospects. However, it's possible that we see another 2002 here. Two talented QBs that, sadly, can't do everything (Carr & Harrington in '02) are taken by unstable franchises, and are then expected to snap their fingers and build a winning team around themselves. That's just not goin to happen. There is an extremely strong possibility, and this goes for pretty much any high pick QB, that both turn out to be busts and end up playing several uninspiring and unproductive seasons before giving up or being given up on. They are both very skilled, and I am by no means bashing either one, but just stating a fact. #1 Overall Quarterbacks are the biggest "is the risk worth the possible reward" deal in all of sports. All picks have at least a little degree of risk to them. Calvin Johnson, however is one of the safest picks I've seen in a while. I won't spend too much time praising him, he gets enough of that already, but I will simply say that his talent level is out of this world. Being one of the most productive D1 receivers with Reggie Ball at quarterback? Try that, Randy Moss or Terrell Owens. An ideal situation for the Raiders: Take Calvin, trade a draft pick or possibly Randy Moss for a guy like Matt Schaub (sorry, Andrew Walter), all the while making SMART decisions, getting team players through the draft/FA, and slowly upgrading the coaching staff. Do that, and you are the Saints of '07-'08. (Minus the feel good story)