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Pre-combine notebook

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Surveying the landscape as the offseason begins to heat up with the NFL scouting combine followed by the start of free agency:

— The Raiders did the right thing in bringing back Justin Fargas at a reasonable price (three years, $6 million guaranteed, with the possibility of earning between $12 and $14 million over the life of the contract).

He may be limited as a receiver and there’s always the threat of injury, but it’s not a deal that would cripple the Raiders if Fargas got hurt. Plus it’s good business to bring back loyal, hard-working employees. Fargas embraced the Art Shell regime as easily as he did Lane Kiffin’s and produced for both.

In that way, Fargas reminds me of Steve Wisniewski, who was a favorite of every head coach from Mike Shanahan thourgh Jon Gruden and was adored by all his line coaches.

Have a hard time envisioning Fargas being a non-producer after being kept from the free agent market the way Terdell Sands was last season.

— In terms of straight salary, Fargas wil make $605,000 this season, $2.5 million in 2009 and $1.5 in 2010.

— Fargas’ signing underscores something Tim Brown told me a long time ago regarding free agency _ no team loses a player it truly wants to keep.

— LaMont Jordan and his $4.7 million salary will be gone soon, but about Dominic Rhodes? The Raiders won’t pay a $3 million and a $2 million roster bonus, so Rhodes will likely be faced with the same decision Jordan was last season _ take less or be cut. The guess here is Rhodes will take the latter.

Rhodes would have Fargas in front of him and understands Michael Bush will be given every opportunity to work his way into the rotation. And that doesn’t even include the possibility of a rookie. You’ll notice in the item below a lot of mock drafts have the Raiders taking Arkansas’ Darren McFadden, although many of had that forecast before Fargas re-signed.

— Thursday’s deadline for declaring franchise players will include the names Nnamdi Asomugha, Albert Haynesworth, Jared Allen, and possibly Green Bay’s Corey Williams. If the Raiders, who will get to spend time with LSU’s Glenn Dorsey and USC’s Sedrick Ellis in the coming days, are thinking defensive tackle with the top pick, then Haynesworth and Williams probably weren’t in the mix anyway.

Getting Allen would make for a great piece of Raiders-Chiefs history, but Carl Peterson will never let it happen. The good thing from the Raiders vantage point is the Chiefs are notoriously cheap, and Allen could end up being disgruntled all season playing under the franchise tag rather than getting a longterm contract with a multi-million dollar guarantee.

— A defensive end to watch is Cincinnati’s Justin Smith, who had a subpar season under the franchise tag in 2007 and could be allowed to hit the market this year. In his seventh season out of Missouri, Smith had only two sacks _ the lowest total of a career in which he has 43.5. The Dolphins could franchise Smith again, but are also considering using the tag on offensive lineman Stacy Andrews.

— Based on the way he defended the run last season, getting a bigger end such as Smith could enable the Raiders to reduce the snaps of Derrick Burgess and get his pass rushing ability back on track. Burgess rallied to finish with eight sacks, but at least two of those were “no-gain” sacks when quarterbacks escaped trouble and reached the line of scrimmage, with Burgess making the tackle.

— If Zach Thomas was shown the door in Miami, can defensive end Jason Taylor be far behind? Of course, the Raiders went the aging ex-Dolphin route once before with Trace Armstrong, who tore an Achilles’ and was never the same. Taylor is 34.

— Something else to consider when paying big money to free agents _ according to calculations by Mike Sando of ESPN.com, the three highest-paid players at each position last season played on teams that were 219-309, a winning percentage of .415.

— Todd Watkins, the wide receiver claimed off waivers from Atlanta, has the class Raiders “athlete” bio. He became the first athlete in 25 years to letter in football, volleyball, soccer and track at Helix High, where his teammates included 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and Saints running back Reggie Bush.

Watkins showed flashes of being a dep threat when he caught 52 passes for 1,042 yards as a junior, but slumped as a senior, with a propensity for dropped passes and fumbles.

Drafted in the seventh round by Arizona, Watkins couldn’t hold on to a roster spot there or in Atlanta.

— How various mock drafts around the Internet have the Raiders using their first pick (No. 3 or 4 overall, based on a coin flip with Atlanta):

Todd McShay, ESPN.com–DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU

Mel Kiper Jr.–RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas

Don Banks, CNN-SI–DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU

Pete Prisco, CBS Sportsline.com–RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas

Scout.com–RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas

War Room (Sporting News)–DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU

Rob Rang, The Sports Xchange–DE Chris Long, Virginia

Fantasy Football Toobox–DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU

Football’s Future–OT Jake Long, Michigan

NFL Draft Dog–RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas

The Football Expert–DT Sedrick Ellis, USC

NFL Draft Site–RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas

Draft Ace–DE Chris Long, Virginia

Draft Wisdom.com–DT Sedrick Ellis, USC

NFL Daily–DE Chris Long, Virginia

The Sports Outlaw–DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU

Fantasy Football Extreme–DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU

New Era Scouting–WR Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma

Draft.com–RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas

Sports Projections.com–RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas

My NFL Draft.com–DE Chris Long, Virginia

— If you really want to get ahead of yourself, nfldraftdog.com forecasts the Raiders will take offensive tackle Michael Oher of Ole Miss with the top pick of the 2009 draft.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • raiders/warriors/athletics

    JB

    True, but they aren’t going to be on there back all the time, there still would be a TE open, i’m not saying don’t get a DT for the 1st round, i’m supporting that idea actually, what i’m saying is that we need a SS that can stop the run as well as cover TE, and i’ll be back online later, gotta go, 6th period class starting soon

  • JB

    raiders/warriors/athletics

    I think your assessment is fairly close. The only difference is that I’m an optimist and have us at the #3 position in front of Atlanta, having won the coin toss (were about due fir a break.

    Regarding that Ellis observation: It was true that the largest free weights at USC were 160# each. They were too light for Ellis so they purchased a set of 200# free weights for his use. This guy is a beast with outstanding techniques already in-place. His handwork is amazing. His only shortcoming right now is that sometimes he gets too high on his rushes. When he does he loses all his leverage. He just needs to stay low.

  • DesertRaider24

    Thanks for the update, JB…as to his perceived “shortcoming” I would simply say “good coaching should fix that problem…” Coughlin fixed Barber’s fumbling problems early in his career simply by having him hold the ball differently…this case is no different…a simple case of a coach teaching proper technique…

  • La Milicia Negra

    raiders/warriors/athletics Says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Ellis = Sapp
    Dorsey = Haynesworth
    ____

    well Sapp was horible in the 3-4 and Ellis is best in 3-4. Dorsey is best in 4-3. Heynesworth can play both!

  • JB

    The Combine is scheduled to come on Saturday at 8AM PST. This particular segment (3 hours worth) covers K, OL & TE. The next segment comes on at 8AM PST Sunday. It will cover the RB, QB & WR. Monday at 8AM PST begins with the LB & DL prospects. Tuesday at 8AM PST covers the DB in2 groups – most likely CB’s and Safeties. All segments appear to replay 3 additional times on each day.

    The bottomline here is if you have the NFL network, you’ll get to see or tape the combines.

  • ATLRaider

    Never thought I would say this… but I miss the days of Chuck Bresnahan. Compared to Rob Ryan, the man is a Genius!

  • once upon a time in the west

    I saw the 49ers cut ILB Derek Smith.I live in NY so I really dont know much about him.I looked up his #s and they were damn good. Is this guy worth signing to shore up our LBers

  • tom flores

    Derek Smith LB was just released by 49ers…

    he was a tacklin gmachine the last few years over 100 a year !!!

  • i dress in black

    JB – Thanks for the info. I guess i need a life if I am getting pumped about watching the combines.

  • tom flores

    absolutely Once

    I was checking out his numbers…he was booted becasue of Patrick Willis…and since we dont have a rookie dynamo like him on D right now…he would be a hell of a contributor in a spot we need depth

  • I keep reading on this blog over and over and over that we need 2 DT’s, a hard hitting run support SS, and we should move Kirk outside and get a new MLB. And I agree with all of that. Yet the run defense is Rob Ryans fault. Do some of you guys even know what a football looks like??

  • RaiderDogg

    let me guess it’s a ball shaped like a foot?

    Rob Ryan can’t tackle for sheet man!

  • once upon a time in the west

    This guy Derek Smith sounds like a Greg Biekert type. Lots of heart and FBI(FootBall Intelligence) sign him up!!

  • Hey Dogg. I just get so lambasted on this blog for some things, Ryan is one. Now if we had 2 pro bowl DT’s, a solid MLB and an All Pro Strong Safety and we were giving up 145 yds a game on the ground, I’d be the one down in Alameda packing Robs bags, I can gurarantee it.

  • linds…daraiderrukas

    oakglenn i feel ya pain brother…
    i agree that 5-2 defense reminded me of my son’s youth
    football league but…
    the raders have’nt address in run defense in how many
    years now…hmmm

  • linds…daraiderrukas

    later for derek smith he’s not a dominate force like say….. lance briggs…hmmm

  • The problem with Derek Smith is he has like 12 years in the league. And when you’ve played 12 years in the NFL as an inside linebacker, you are beaten up. Hey, 7 or 8 years in the league, it might be worth a gamble. Pats are serious about signing Zack Thomas, which for the same reasons perplexes me, altho Seau is most likely done.

  • Dakota

    Have you guys seen the movie Idiocracy? Sometimes this blog reminds me of that movie. Scary.

  • Linds that is exactly the point. My question is what have we done personnel wise to bolster the run defense in the last 3 years??? The 2 answers I get are Oakglenn you’re an idiot and RR suks. OOoooookayyyy.

  • Gary Hubbell

    Do yourselves a favor, and read this:

    http://www.aspentimes.com/article/2008198091324

  • linds…daraiderrukas

    oakglenn , if we do address the run defense and give rr ,some players who don’t run out of gas and know how to tackle …hmmm ,then maybe he can coach this defense like he’s been supposed to be coached

  • linds…daraiderrukas

    coaches don’t make personel… personel makes coaches just ask the jet fans…ha ha ha

  • Linds, let’s say we draft Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis, and get the guy I like Bobbie Williams as a rookie strong safety. The defense would improve and everyone would give the credit to Kiffin and Dorsey. So, it’s a no win battle.

  • Dakota

    Or, maybe Rob Ryan can get off his fat @ss and teach the defensive players how to tackle, how to use angles of pursuit and how to recognize plays??? Aren’t those the things a coach is supposed to teach the players? Fundamentals? A team that lacks fundamentals is a team that lacks a good coach. You can’t teach athletic ability, but Rob Ryan is responsible for all of those missed tackles…HE IS THE TEACHER…

    Hello, it really is that simple.

    All these players succeeded in college, why can’t they succeed in the pros? Hmmm, maybe because their coach is a fat @ss piece of crap that does not know how to coach?

  • MR.RAIDER

    NEW BLOG

  • hollywood

    back in the mix guys, what are we talkin bout?

  • RaiderDogg

    Dakota –

    Rob Ryan has been ordering waaay too many BIG ASS FRIES from Carl’s Jr.

  • hollywood

    rob ryan is awesome, he looks like a hoodlum and that makes him perfect for the raider nation!!

  • RaiderDogg

    HWood –

    post #527 was a reference to the movie Idiocracy.

  • Mistabrown

    I dont care how fat he is I care that our defense is pure grabage with a pretty good roster IMO.

  • Mistabrown

    OakGlenn, you are just plain sad with your head in the sand. Did you say the same thing when we signed Sapp or Burgess, Woodson, Nnamdi? We have high draft picks on that side of the ball you’re embarrassing yourself with this dribble man.

    # Oakglenn Says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Linds, let’s say we draft Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis, and get the guy I like Bobbie Williams as a rookie strong safety. The defense would improve and everyone would give the credit to Kiffin and Dorsey. So, it’s a no win battle.

  • hollywood

    why am i the only person on here who knows anything about the raiders??

  • hollywood

    d coordinator is a meaningless job, u need at least SOME good players to be at least half-decent, and we have only 3 that are consistent.

    asomugha, morrison, and howard.

  • keithBOSS

    hollywood

    i completely agree, teams do need TALENT in order to be ok, and we barely have any…

  • BLOAGIE

    finally somebody who’s not going to tell me that a defensive coordinator matters. you need to have GOOD players in order to be GOOD!!

  • hollywood

    and that’s what im saying by having to draft dorsey with our pick, or at least trade down like 1 or 2 and still get him, we need a TALENTED guy in that DT position, and dorsey has stamina which is a big part of me wanting him, at least he’ll be on the field alot more than sapp was.

  • BLOAGIE

    don’t forget the need we have for WRS, we are hurtin.

  • hollywood

    thats what ive been saying all along, we gotta get dorsey early, AND if we dont get stallworth or berrian from FA, then we gotta go WR in the 2nd round.

    i also know our need for offensive linemen, but every time we draft a guy, HE FLOPS, so FA or undrafted FAS will solve this problem.

    how sick would it be if we got alan faneca?? ID LOVE IT!!!!

  • Zymurge

    Interesting note on Keyshawn considering coming out of retirement. He’s always said that he wanted to be a Raider. If that holds true and he’s willing to sign a minimum contract that is incentive based, I’d definitely bring him into camp and let him compete for a job.

    One thing that Keyshawn did better than 98% of the WRs of his era was run blocking. Despite his “get me the damn ball” attitude he always spoke proudly of his blocking ability and always went 100% – sort of the anti-Moss. Assuming that he can come back and still be a better than average blocking WR, he could be the perfect possession type of WR for 1st and 2nd down situations. If he can pop the key down field block a few times a game, that translates into turning 7 yards runs into potential game breakers.

    At worst, I think he brings some hard work ethic and a good role model for the kids into camp. Especially if Porter leaves, the receiving corps could use a veteran leader. He’d also bring a vocal character into the ranks to fill the Sapp void for emitting external sound bytes, which takes some pressure off the other guys from media hounding and let’s them focus a bit more on the game.

    That, and he’d just look damn good in silver and black.

  • Mr.Murder

    Chris Long won’t be there, we’d love to have Howie’s bloodline here. He has the motor, the speed, the attitude. We need someone back as an enforcer attitude to give teams friendly reminders about cut blocks, someone who steal the other team’s water bottles during timeouts by asserting their moxie in the other team’s huddle. Someone that will give us face time by jumping offsides for a close up shot if the team’s playing so bad they aren’t in the race like Howie did in the later Shell years.

    The spoiler is that everyone sees how he plays and will want him.

    Dorsey is a need, but was hurt, if he’s there most likely we go with the pick even though big size is in round three and four at DT unless the draft develops different than anticipated. We don’t have a three, something that could be addressed with my favored move.

    Trade back a bit. The Ravens might want to move up for a QB, four hundred points would be two third rounders and some change, one each this year and next, but the Bills(eleventh overall) have their third rounder.

    The Bills need OL as well, we could move back but that’s pretty far to go with no certainty on the player whose selection is the one I have in mind. Maybe they’ll dance with us in round two, like the Lions will offer when they find Williams still on their hands as nobody will give them a first round pick for the player they want to unload as a former first round wideout.

    The player who merits top ten selection, and is arguably the best in this draft, is Gosder Cherilus of Boston College.

    He’s a a 6’7″ tackle, 315 pounds, same frame as long, but on the taller side of 6’7″ so there’s more room for upside. He’s faster than Jake Long as well, much better getting down field to block linebackers, not just a pure big-on-big lineman.

    Gosder played left tackle for one year, the transition reflected somewhat, he still was blindside protector to the BC passer that many ranked the top in this draft
    Gosder is why he’s there. Cherilus is an amazing run blocker, nasty drive blocker.

    By this time he’s got the left side footwork down pat, so he’s got even more upside. plus he played better comp in the ACC than did Long in the slower Big Ten. Cherilus faced true speed rushers every week and had better comparative stats vs. such styles of play.

    Long was used by Gholston, who is a sloppy player than cannot keep a run gap. Long has reached a ceiling on what he can do from a tech standpoint, and Cherilus had more upside in the physical development range.

    Gosder CHerilus is the best player to get in round one.

    There’s better value at running back with Felix Jones than most of the other picks and he’d later in round one than where we pick from. There’s enough value at wideout to get players into rounds 2 and 3, Jackson may fall that far.

    There’s Chris Long and there’s Gosder Cherilus. Players who stand out at their positions. Then there’s one or two players who might fit into the needs sector for where we draft and how they play.

    Do it right, get Gosder after a move back, add extra picks, make the similar move into round two if a top notch player doesn’t drop and get Williams from Detroit. He played his hand like Moss did us the year before, the Lions let it be known he’s on the way out. Teams will not trade for trouble off other teams at the value asked, let him face the market and get him after moving a two back, or off the trades from moving one back and getting Gosder. Many teams say Cherilus is top 16 material. If the second best T goes he’s a hot item, three teams need two starters at OT, and six more need an every down T starter including Tampa, and the Giants so they’re likely to draft ahead of slated value as playoff teams.

  • hollywood

    zymurge

    i like it, keyshawns skills have been deminishing, especially with a year off, but i couldnt agree more with your point, he’d be a great addition for the team morale.

  • Jake_McCletus

    hollywood, everything u say is the truth, YOU should work for the raiders management!!!

  • tom flores

    Gosder Cherilus was on my post weeks ago that everyone dog piled me over as a sweet late round 1 pick…but now everyone has moved him up the draft boards because they have finally seen his tape….

    Mr Murder…you are spot on…he is better than anyone else at his position with huge upside…and just think of all that shopping we could do with the picks generated as we move down to get him…

    somehow I am not going to miss not picking Ellis or Dorsey near as much if we do get Cherilus and say two other immediate impact players…there are plenty of great players to be had in round 2 and I would love to see us get at least 3 of them !!!

  • tom flores

    I dont care if Keyshawns skills are diminished…he is still better than any WR we currently have on our roster…and he isn’t going to break the bank to get in Silver and Black…Berrian is going to get franchised…

    oh I have a trade idea…

    LJ for DeAngelo Hall CB

    they are thinking about purging their roster and we need another CB opposite Nnamdi…a trade could be had…they are going to need a beefy guy to back up Norwood and Dunn is um…done.