series of Q and A's is draftteks' Raiders analyst 1). What are the Raiders big..."/> series of Q and A's is draftteks' Raiders analyst 1). What are the Raiders big..."/>

Get to Know the Raiders: Drafttek’s Raiders Analyst


Up next in our series of Q and A’s is draftteks’ Raiders analyst

1). What are the Raiders biggest needs this off-season?
 The Raiders most glaring needs this off-season are right offensive tackle, offensive guard, corner back, and a young QB to start grooming for the future (2-3 seasons from now). They’ll also need a strong off-season from their wide-receiver corps, or to look that way  in the draft.
2). Al Davis is notorious for taking guys with a great speed to size ratio…last year he took Rolando McClain in the first round and for the first time in awhile had a draft that people graded well at the onset…what was different last year?
I think a couple of things combined to help give the Raiders that special draft. The positions that Al usually drafts for size/speed already had been filled (Darren McFadden, Derrius Heyward-Bey, Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, Richard Seymour, etc.). Also, Al Davis felt he was a few positions short of making the playoffs, and instead of overdrafting players based on size and speed (he did finally get Jacoby Ford and Bruce Campbell in the later rounds), he filled those positions of need with skill and football playing ability. Also, Rolando McClain is no slouch when it comes to athletic ability.
3). Speaking of Al Davis’ tendency to draft great speed and height guys who’s a player that might fit that mold this year?
Well, we do need a CB, and Al could reach for a speed/height guy in Round 2 in CB Davon House (doubtful that Jimmy Smith would be available). Later round CB prospects with some speed and size are DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami) and Buster Skrine (UT-Chattanooga). At 5-10, even with the fastest 40 at the combine, Skrine may be too short for Al “man-coverage” Davis.

4)  How will the coaching change effect the draft…in other words what kind of offense and/or defense do you expect the new coaching staff to use?
I think the Raiders pretty fortunate that the new head coach is their OC from last year. This provides good continuity for the system and players. With Jackson’s ascension to the top spot (and Cable’s departure), the largest scheme shift is going to be the continued move from being a zone-blocking team (Cable) to being a power blocking team (Jackson).
5) Who are the best and worst picks over the past decade for the Raiders?
The best picks are players who continue to contribute and developed into the best at their position. I’d say the top two picks over the past decade in that respect are Nnamdi Asomugha, and  Shane Lechler. As far as busts of the decade (and possibly the history of the franchise), the conversation begins and ends with Jamarcus Russell.
6) What’s a player fans seem to be keying on for their first pick in the second round?
A lot of fans are interested in center/guard Stefen Wisniewski, nephew of Steve Wisniewski (who is now on the Raider coaching staff, and is a great former Raider). He could be available, and brings a high football IQ and great footwork to help our OLine. If we are serious about transitioning to a power-blocking scheme, I don’t think the fit is quite right.
7). How do fans feel now about the Seymour trade?
I think, while it makes this draft a little less exciting (no first round pick), the fans have been pleased with the production (9.5 sacks in 2 years) and veteran leadership. Al Davis was betting that the trade would help get us to the playoffs, and it got us pretty close. My guess is that both sides feel like they got a decent deal.
8) Why did the Raiders have such great success vs their own divison, but struggle elsewhere?
That’s a real hard one to answer, and a frustrating situation to live through as a fan. I think our early losses (Tennessee, Arizona, Houston, and San Francisco) were because we didn’t have a firm grip on our identity and had a lot of uncertainty at the QB position. My guess is that the division games were easier for our players to get up for, to prove that these Raiders weren’t going to get kicked around by division rivals. The focus was on making the playoffs by winning the AFC West, which put the emphasis on those games possibly at the expense of the non-division games.
9). How are the last two draft classes coming along?

2010 was an exceptionally strong draft class for us. Looking at DraftTek’s rookie review, the Raiders were one of the higher scoring teams. But there are some serious whiffs in the 2009 class, and the Raiders are waiting on some players (DHB, Mike Mitchell) who are still developing into their draft billing.
10) Tell us a little bit about your duties at drafttek?
I love being a part of DraftTek. I spend the week analyzing the Raider team and assess the team’s needs on a score range of priority 1-9. I then take the output of our simulation and research scouting reports to create informed comments on the selections. I also check in on the DraftTek forum page to engage our growing fan base.
11).  Are Raiders fans really that crazy?
Ha ha. I’d use the word “passionate” over crazy. We love our team (yes, I’m a big Raider fan), and we’re willing to do whatever we think gives us a competitive advantage on game day. If we feel that getting dressed up and putting on face paint will help, then we’ll do it.
12). When/if you’re playing Madden do you use the Raiders? They’re tough in Madden with all that speed?

I almost always play as the Raiders, and I let Madden call the plays (hey-it worked for Super Bowl XI, why mess with the magic?!).
13). Lastly, can Jason Campbell be the QB that takes this team back to the playoffs?

I think so, but he has to work on consistency. A little QB performance fluctuation is fine with a team that can rally around him and overcome it, but the Raiders aren’t that team yet (our strong running game helps though). If we are going to go to the playoffs, Campbell can’t keep going from ratings in the 100’s and 120’s to having games with ratings below 50 (and then get pulled from the lineup the following week).

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