Jockeying for position


Some better-late-than-never wrap-up notes after traveling home from the NFL combine Sunday:

— The prevailing opinion going in was that LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey might be out of reach for the Raiders, while Arkansas running back Darren McFadden would not only be there, but still might not be worth the risk because of “character concerns.”

That was before Dorsey made an extra hospital visit for more investigation on a previous stress fracture and McFadden’s blazing 40-yard dash performance put a smoky haze on his reputation for nightclubbing and paternity suits.

Of course, Dorsey has two months to have his feet thoroughly checked out and McFadden can still get into trouble before April 26.

— Something to remember about 40-yard dash times _ they’re unofficial and change from one timer to the next.

Unbelievably, a league that produces all this money runs their combine 40s without an electronically timed finish. Some teams have their own timers and that is all they use.

Frank Cooney from The Sports Xchange breaks down how the 40 works _ the scouting service which the NFL uses to post times for the media on the NFL web site _ and explained the process in its own Web site:

Those who participate in the 40 actually run twice, and on each run they are timed by two hand-held stopwatches and one electronic timer (that is actually initiated by hand on the player’s first movement).

Combine data put together for NFL teams by National Scouting includes all six of those times for each player, but no single official time.

Team scouts and coaches have various approaches for getting the 40 time they use from those six timings. Some use averages. Some throw out slowest and fastest and then average the rest. Some ignore the whole thing and use a time taken by their own scout.

By one clocking, McFadden ran a 4.27. The NFL, through SportsXchange, had it at 4.33.

According to Sports Xchange, McFadden was beaten by East Carolina’s Chris Johnson, who timed 4.24.

Not that Jackson’s time is a guarantee of success. The 4.24 time tied their fastest recorded mark by someone named Rondel Melendez, a wide receiver from Eastern Kentucky who went 4.24 in 1999 and never made a mark on the NFL.

— Raider corners Fabian Washington and Stanford Routt both went 4.29 according to SportsXchange in 2005, although that may not have been the times the Raiders recorded.

— Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston was impressive with 38 bench press reps at 225 pounds, although it’s worth noting another Ohio State defensive end named Mike Kudla had 45 reps in 2006. Ever heard of him? He’s got a “Bench Press Supersite” Web page which advertises a 610-pound bench press as a senior.

It didn’t make him a pass rusher.

— The physical tests lag far behind the medical evaluations and interview opportunities in terms of value. Someone like DeSean Jackson needed only to prove he was fast (he did, with a 4.35 or 4.31, depending on who did the timing), and then the rest of his appearance was being poked, prodded and having his psyche explored in a 15-minute interview.

— Hard to imagine a prospect so far above the rest it would be worth moving up to the top pick. Colts owner Bill Polian seemed relieved to have a team good enough that he doesn’t have to worry about it.

“Now you face the proposition of saying if I’m after the first pick and I have to pay $30 million for it, how much do I want to give up in addition to that?,” Polian said. “And if you fail with that pick, your franchise is saddled with an albatross that
you can’t get rid of for who knows how long. It’s completely changed because ofthe cost of those picks and in my view, that’s wrong. It should change. That’s bad for the game. It isn’t about money, it’s about the integrity of the game on the field.”

The NBA’s system of paying rookies makes far more sense.

If you’re Miami and the best player on the board is Chris Long, how comfortable do you feel dropping $30 million plus in guarantees on a player who was compared to Patrick Kerney, who as a free agent last season signed a contract with $19.5 million in guarantees with Seattle?

Even if the Raiders could have traded out of the No. 1 pick in the draft last season, chances are there weren’t many takers.

— Had a nice chat with Lane Kiffin at the Hyatt Saturday before he decided he wouldn’t speak on the record regarding all things Raider, but apparently was asleep for the real show well after midnight. Sac Bee beat writer Jason Jones spotted Kiffin at a cigar bar called Nicky Blaine’s and nearby nightspot Ike & Jonseys. According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution blog, Kiffin was even seen “cutting the rug” at the latter establishment.

— With several top quality restaurants and brew pubs within walking distance in downtown Indianapolis, it’s always an amusing sight to see so many head coaches and assistants ducking into the corner “Steak and Shake” for one of those regrettable late-night feasts.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • The Raiders owner is a joke, and until he is out of there i do not care who the coach is, the players are winning just is not gonna happen..I have been a fan since 1968, I used to get excited about the draft, free agency , and The Raiders getting ready for the new season that is approaching in the future,,,But Al Davis has zapped all such excitement from my raiders soul, and to me i really do not care anymore,,,We can hire the games best coach, field a team of all pros at every postion, select in the top 5 in the draft the next 8, to 10 years, but nothing , I say nothing is gonna change in oakland till Al is out of there..

  • Ghost2Post


  • Jerry M. is full of shit.

  • rodmoney

    I concur Perry,
    We are a mess and I just know Al is going to f#$k this draft up by selecting McFadden with the 4th pick AND KEEPING HIM!! We have 3 quality backs yet no quality DE or DT’s, no SS or WR although they are young. We are in a position to get numerous picks to upgrade all the positions we are lacking in yet Al and his passion for speed will give us a excellent 4×100 meter relay team but a 4-12 or worse NFL team.

  • Just sell Baby……..

    The Management of the Faiders is in Chaos. There is not going to be any trust with-in this team, from the top down. Players both current and ?? will not trust the owner or the coaches at this point in time. Current Faider Players are finding escape routs out to Seattle, with management that wants to win. The only free-agents willing to come here are old pro-bowlers look-en for a paycheck……….The bottom line, even if Coach K. did do good, “Bundy” would unload him. 3 Coaches “Bundy” let go of have a combined, 3 Super’s and 289 wins !! We all know that the Faider record is.

    Just sell baby……….and so it is !!

  • The only attention Al Davis can get these days is about his poor teams record, and who will be the coach for the next year,,,Had it not been for The Jon Gruden years when Gruden assembled a Raiders winning team , got us to divisional titles, how many losing seasons would the raiders have had in a row..I mean the man Al Davis has lost it, and as smart as he was early on in his career, he is just that lousy now..
    I t is so hard to get excited about anything, the draft, free agency, or the team in general because we have no stablitiy at coach, or direction for this team,,There is no plan, if Kiffin gets fired, then the team must start all over again, and thus Russell must learn a new offence all over again,,This crap needs to stop, AlDavis needs to just shut up, and leave his hands off, he already has proven he cannot do the job anymore,,,
    a discusted raiders fan, since 1968