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C. Long vs. Gholston

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 at 2:50 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Third in a series regarding players the Raiders are evaluating as the NFL draft approaches April 26-27. The Raiders currently hold the No. 4 pick in the first round.

So let’s assume for the moment that Lane Kiffin was dead serious when he told the media of his wish for a defensive lineman with the No. 4 pick.

Unless they were to move down, the Raiders would be assured of having a shot at one of the top four defensive linemen available. Two of those, defensive tackles Glenn Dorsey of LSU and Sedrick Ellis of USC, were discussed earlier.

The other two are Virginia’s Chris Long (6-foot-3, 267 pounds) and Ohio State’s Vernon Gholston (6-3, 266), who unlike Dorsey and Ellis, are potentially explosive edge players. Both player soften played as outside linebackers but with the versatility to put their hand on the ground.

Long, son of Raiders Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, would be the nostaligic choice. He had 14 sacks and 23 quarterback pressures as a senior and plays every down from snap to whistle with equal parts intensity and enthusiasm.

“I don’t think of myself as doing anything extraordinary with my effort,” Long said at the NFL scouting combine. “ I think that’s just the way football is supposed to be played, at a high speed. I’m not a guy who does things half-speed well. So it’s been pretty natural for me to go that fast. You want to jump off the screen when people watch film of you.”

There’s a theory that Al Davis won’t be able to pass up a chance on a legacy _ particularly one with such a glowing resume as Long. Assuming Long makes a visit to Oakland before the draft, it would be the first meeting since Long was a child.

“My earliest memory of Al Davis was ducking in the car when I came to visit my dad at training camp because there were no families allowed in,” Long said. “I remember meeting him when I was a kid, but I have not seen him since.”

If Long is regarded as a relatively “safe” pick because of his knowledge, intangibles and desire, Gholston may have the more intriguing top end.

Like Long, Gholston can play either end or outside linebacker, with his “Leo” position at Ohio State giving him an opportunity as a rush end. He had 14 sacks as a senior, 8.5 as a junior and his stock has been on the rise.

NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan recently had Gholston as the No. 1 overall pick, going to the Miami Dolphins. In a copycat league, the New York Giants’ ability to pressure Tom Brady in the Super Bowl will only enhance the ability of the most explosive pass rusher in the draft.

“I know how big the defensive line is. If you got a front four that can controlcthe game, you’re destined for championships,” Gholston said. “That was proven, the way they (the Giants) were able to take advantage of their speed and get to the quarterback.”

If there is a player capable of duplicating the sort of rookie success as an outside rusher as Shawne Merriman did with San Diego and DeMarcus Ware did with the Cowboys, Gholston is it.

He also may be the most stunning physical specimen in the draft, with a 4.58 40-yard dash on his pro day on field turf and 37 reps of 225 pounds with the bench press.

Defensive linemen on roster: DE Derrick Burgess, DT Tommy Kelly, DT Terdell Sands, DE Jay Richardson, DT Gerard Warren, DT Josh Shaw, DT William Joseph, DE Kalimba Edwards.

Burgess had to close with a rush to get to eight sacks, getting a late start in training camp because of hernia surgery and missing time with a calf injury early in the year. His sack numbers have regressed from 16 to 11 to 8 the past three seasons. Kelly’s contract says big things are expected of him.

“He’ll have a chance to be a three-technique and not jump around to a lot of different positions,” Kiffin said. “He’s got a lot to prove with that contract.”

Sands signed a big deal last season to prevent him from going into free agency, and he was essentially a non-factor. The Raiders will look to get him back to the form he had in 2007 when he played well enough to merit the big deal. Warren played well in spurts, much as he has in Cleveland and Denver. Richardson, a college teammate of Gholston, was a pleasant surprise as a fifth-round draft pick. Edwards ideally will replace the departed Chris Clemons, who had eight sacks as a third-down pass rusher.

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  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Laudrup La Milicia Negra

    Assasin…

    typical! the most important acquisition this year, and they forget we got him. if they had said, we need to draft a QB in the 1st, because Aaron Brooks cant be on top for ever, then they really show how clever they were =)

  • GT

    I think the Raiders had better find a way to continue to upgrade the defensive line and either Long or Goolston would be the logical choice. They had also better be seeking to find ways to upgrade the offense. Finding a way to draft Kelly (the wide receiver from Oklahoma) would give JaMarcus and excellent set of receivers. I believe Kelly will be one the most explosive wideouts in the game

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Good Morning Raider Nation!

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Laudrup La Milicia Negra

    howdy!

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Interesting theory on the phins letting the clock expire so they don’t have to pay first pick price and then being able to jump in to get a player whenever they want at a lower price. Remember the Viqueens screwed up a couple of years ago and didn’t get their choice to the podium on time.
    http://www.miamiherald.com/616/story/480998.html

  • bishop916

    Amy Trask don’t play – she would be good in place of Mr. davis.

  • Thec

    exlaraiderseasonticketholder, good morning. I was thinking the same thing yesterday. they did that on purpose, did not want to spend the money they knew exactly who they wanted. They had a whole year to plan it out.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    NFL Top 10 Raider highlights feature Fargus being run down as he tries to cutback. Did not have to speed to take it in. I know his combine speed was comparable to McFad but obviously has lost that next gear.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder
  • BIG AL’s GOON

    The day that Big AL retires (which he’ll never do)or passess will be a truly sad day. We’ll probably be strapped with some owner who cares about nothing but getting paid like most of the other owners in NFL. Winning is all Big AL is about. Love him or hate him everyone knows Big AL wants the Raiders to Win.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Raider Fans,
    What are your Top 10 Raider moments. Mine was watching Rozelle have to hand the Championship Trophy to Al Davis after the Raiders beat Washington.

  • Thec

    Holy Roller, Stabler was and is my favorite QB of all time.

  • Thec

    Bo Jackson running Over Bosworth.

  • Raiderwoj

    thec,

    that was one of my favorites too, was the beginning of the end of his career. shoulder injury my ass, that hit shook him up mentaly and he realized he was overhyped.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Thec
    From Wikipedia:
    Jackson turned in a 221-yard rushing performance on Monday Night Football in 1987 against the Seattle Seahawks. During this game, he ran over Seahawks star linebacker Brian Bosworth, who had insulted Jackson and promised in a media event before the game to contain Jackson. He also made a 91-yard run to the outside, untouched down the sideline. He continued sprinting until finally slowing down as he passed through the entrance to the field tunnel to the dressing rooms with teammates soon following.
    Great moment!

  • Thec

    Ex & Woj, I had the pleasure of watching that game live albeit on the TV. Awsome. Woj, you are 110% correct. that was like the end of Boz. thats what football was about, that what we need to get back to. a mean nasty not dirty but mean and nasty team that will put your lights out. Thats NATION football

  • Thec

    the raiders of the 70′s were the S#!t period. the battles with us and pittsburh. but watching stabler and crew you allways thought they would win, no matter how far down they were. Although stabler didnt have the stats he had a lot of heart.

  • M

    Morning Nation,

    Hopefully Michael Bush can lay the goal line lumber almost as good our dear ol’ Bo or a certain Mr. E. Campbell.

  • http://disinfo.com RaiderTW

    exlaraiderseasonticketholder, my top ten would probably be my earliest memory that convenced me to follow the Raiders. I was born & raised in Texas (you don’t have to feel sorry for me) & my only memory of watching football was Dallas on Thanksgivings. It was boring & they usually lost. I hated Tom LAndry (hat, suit, no smile, computer picks players, etc..) THEN one afternoon in 1970 I turned on the Raiders (fortunately in Texas we got EVERY Raider game at 1pm, Dallas played in the mornngs). With 11:24 remaining and the Raiders trailing 17-13 in Oakland against the Browns, QB Daryle Lamonica was knocked out of the game and George Blanda came in to replace him. Cleveland scored 20-13. Blanda then led the Raiders on a 69-yard scoring drive 20-20, with 1:34 left to play. Oakland intercepted 34 seconds remaining.Blanda hooked up with Dixon to get down to the Cleveland 37. With just seven seconds left, Blanda nailed a 52-yard field goal (52 FREAKIN’ yds from a strait ahead kicker!!!) to win the game on Monday Night Football. I was sold on the Raiders & football because this was exciting (not like Dallas). This was what football was all about!! The next 4 games I saw the Mad Bomber hand off for 2 yds, 2nd dwn drop back get sacked, drop back & throw a bomb for a TD on 3rd dwn. Blanda eventually had to come in & lead a TD drive & kick a field goal to win it w/3 secs left. That season & those 5 games sold me on the Raiders forever. Because the Raiders were the major game in the afternoon (Dallas played on the other channel) I got Oakland every Sunday for 10yrs until I moved to Denver. Thnx for bringing that up,Exlaraider, I never get tired of telling that story to Bronco fans here.HAhahaha…

    Stabler Forever!!

  • Dakota

    McFadden

  • Raiderwoj

    question,

    so why hasn’t Al signed Justin Gatlin to a 15 year 150 mil contract yet, not enough?

  • holyghost

    I do believe the height will be an issue with Ellis, but not with Dorsey.
    Dorsey has the 2nd longest arms of anyone at the entire combine, and that’s how height relates to the DT position. This is a real big time player and will continue to be in the NFL.
    We pretty much cannot lose with our pick, as there are 4 or more players worth taking 4th.

  • Andrews mom

    January 2—In front of a sellout crowd of 67,800 at the Coliseum, the Raiders overcome a 17-point fourth quarter deficit to beat Denver, 33-30, in overtime to qualify for the playoffs for the 18th time.

    This was the first game I ever saw sober. And it was a great game. The SB victory over the Redskins was sweet too. I bought some white jeans to wear with my black jersey and Danny (one punch) Bunker came real close to beating the crap out of my drunk butt. He was a avid skins fan

  • JediRaider

    BHP – Everybody projects Ellis to the 3 tech. – I’m just going off what the scouts said – He played some NT in a 3-4 at USC, but everybody projects him to DT 3 tech at the NFL level – I haven’t heard any different. If he does project to NT in a 3/4 or 4/3, then great, but nobody has put him there – same with Dorsey. We need a Haloti Ngata type of player (like Sims, Okam, etc.) – in fact, I was hoping we’d take him over Huff a couple of years ago. I agree, you can’t project people based on measurables alone, but 6’1 300 = 3 technique everytime. Jerry Ball was like 6’1 335, the good NT’s in 3-4′s are usually 6’1-6’3 and 325+, and that’s what we need to play opposite the 3 technique.

    I just personally think our Run D problems go much deeper than NT, especially since we run a Man 2 Man Scheme. Burgess is a major liability against the run because he is so undersized against RT’s. He gets his cheap sacks against these slower guys by lining up very wide, which leaves a gaping hole between him and the the DT next to him. The DT next to him is supposed to be the NT, but we played G. Warren out of position there (he is a 3 technique despite his size) which means that whole side of the line was a cluster f**k last year. Sapp definetly lost a step, and Richardson is a natural LDE (where Burgess plays), tough against the run at the point of attack, with limited pass rush ability. Richardson is back-up talent anyway. That is a terrible line. I keep reposting these thoughts, but if comes up, I’ll keep doing it. You can’t put the best 4 players out on the field if they don’t fit thier positions. An extreme example was us playing Sapp at the 3-4 DE his first year. Total disaster. That’s how a little kid (or terrible GM) plays Madden. Sapp is a 3 technique, nothing more nothing less, and was a great one.

    Here’s what fixes our D line problems:

    RDE (The Rush/Speed End) Long or Gholston/Edwards
    DT (3 tech) G. Warren/Joseph
    NT (Run Stuffer) Draft Pick For Burgess / Sands
    LDE (Power/Strong Side End) Kelly/Richardson

    We could also plug Grady Jackson into the NT position for a year, but getting one of the top prospects in round two in exchange for Burgess and moving Kelly to where his natural position should be solves all our problems, provides solid depth across the board, and fixes our run game while improving our pass rush (Kelly is good for 8-12 sacks against slower ROT’s, Long or Gholston should be good for 10-15 if they pan out, G. Warren should add another 6-8, and we’ll get a couple of cheap ones out of the NT).

    Al will of course never do that, so we’ll be stuck with this:

    Edwards/Richardson
    Kelly/Joseph
    Warren/Sands
    Burgess/?

    If that’s what we go with, I promise you we finish in the bottom 1/3 of the league against the rush again this year, probably near the very bottom because not too many teams are going to want to throw against us (until we have to throw 8 or 9 in the box to try to stuff the run).

    That is a terrible D line with Burgess overmatched against the run, Edwards only good as a backup, Warren playing out of position at NT, and only Kelly being good at DT.

    Let’s vote: which line would you rather have?

  • Dakota

    Might as well order your McFadden jersey today. Don’t worry Terp, BHP, Mista I will back order yours on draft day.

  • bank-bank

    I say no to mcfadden because you shouldn’t take a running back that early and having to pay him lots and lots of money with that gauranteed money only to lose him because of one hard tackle to his knee.Look at what happened to Adrian Peterson last year.He was very lucky because if that hit he took on that knee was on a slite small degree of an angle,his career would have been over.With all of the money that Al Davis spent this year,I don’t think that he’ll take a chance on paying mcfadden that kind of money and maybe lose him to that dreaded hit to a knee especially when he has got some running back who are more than capable of doing the job this year.

  • M

    RaiderTW,

    I was at that Blanda-Cleveland game. We were all used to Raider comebacks, but I think secretly we didn’t give old George a snowball’s chance from 52 yards. But, a chance is a chance for a miracle right? I was toward that endzone where he made it. About ten yard line. As the ball was flying, you could see that it had a chance. The crowd went as wild as any I’ve ever been in. People were screaming, hugging, crying… an indelible and incredible memory for me. Thank you for bringing it up.

  • Thec

    M, mornin M. Bush is a bust. forget about him. He wont even suit up for us. we need to cut him now. a total waste.

  • M

    Dakota,

    I’d rather have a vest made from mammoth wool. Got any of those lying around?

  • M

    Dakota,

    Mastodon would do in a pinch as well.

  • M

    Thec,

    Why would you guess that about M. Bush?

  • Dakota

    What else is there to talk about? Let’s see, hmmmm, okay I got it:

    In your opinion, which Raiders team is the greatest of them all? 67′, 69′, 74′, 76′ 80′, 83′, 02′, some other year?

    My vote goes to th 76 team. 13-1, won the SB. But I am not old enough to have seen much prior to 1984 (which may explain my lack of loyalty to Al Davis, lol).

  • Memo

    Dakota,

    When Madden 2009 comes out, what will you rate D-Mac

  • Thec

    M, we were told yesteday that a certain RB was ripping it up in camp. Want to keep it wrapped. If you look at my later post you will see where i truly stand on this subject.

    Just say no to DMAC

  • Thec

    I got to see them 76. the 70 raiders where the one and only.

  • Thec

    Sorry i meant 70′s raiders. but 76 the bicentennial of our nation.

    C

  • Dakota

    M,

    If you got the money, I got the Woolly. But if you are not a rich man, I can get you a Columbian mammoth vest for 1/3 the price of a Woolly.

    I could even throw in a pair of short-faced bear boots at half price.

    http://www.mammothsite.com/exhibits.html

  • M

    Thec,

    je comprends.

  • M

    Dakota,

    I didn’t even realize that short-faced bear wore boots. Perhaps why they’re extinct, couldn’t sneak up on anything.

  • Dakota

    Memo,

    I would probably rate him 7 point below AP across the board, with the exception of the speed and inj rating. Speed he gets a 98 and to the inj I would add 15 point to whatever AP has.

    As much as I like McFadden, I have no illusions of him being more gifted than AP, or any of the great NFL backs, I just think he will be a very good RB for a long time for the Raiders, and that he has the potential to be great if everything works out just right.

  • Dakota

    M,

    They were soft soled boots.

  • http://disinfo.com RaiderTW

    M, I would have loved to be there, I didn’t see a live Raider game until 1979 in the South stands in Denver. I was warned about not openly rooting for Oakland in the S stands so every time they scored I just started laughing. Everyone looked at me but no one said anything. I bought my 1st program it had a Jim Otto painting on the cover.

  • Thec

    The 76 team had weopons on both sides of the ball.
    This team should be in the discussion of greatest of all time. f the fins and 72 its all about the NATION.

  • Dakota

    RaiderTW,

    Were you at the Raiders/Broncos game in Denver last year? I was, and when I saw the safety by Warren developing I jumped up and yelled SAAAAFETY just before he got Cutler in the end zone, lol. I swear 30,000 people turned and looked at me and gave me the evil eye.

    When we lost, the fans around me were pretty decent about it, but if Jano would have made that second FG, I doubt they would have been as cordial.

  • http://FixtheboldJerry Terrapin

    hmmm… a lot of people seemed to be concerned over Ellis/Dorsey’s height/weight combo. I was too. But the dude that plays NT for the Ravens (a damn good to great defense ranked #2 vs run last season) is almost the same size.

    Kelly Gregg (NT) for Ravens: 6’0″ 310lbs
    Sedrick Ellis: 6′ 0.5″ 300lbs appx
    Glenn Dorsey: 6′ 1.5″ 300lbs appx

    So I guess what I’m say is it the height thing really doesn’t matter as much as how well they play the position. Again, if the Raiders feel confident either can play NT and do it at a very high level; picking Ellis or Dorsey becomes a very likely prospect.

    1. CLong
    2. VGholston/Ellis/Dorsey
    3. JLong/Clady

    Other high ranked defenses:

    Steelers 3rd ranking > Casey Hampton (NT) 6’1″ 325lbs
    Skins 4th ranking > Montgomery (DT) 6’6″ 315lbs

    etc….its not so much about size as much it is about the player being able to play the position. Stopping the run is also all about attitude

  • r8r4fer

    The ’83 team is considered the greatest Raider team of all time according to big Al.

  • M

    Terrapin,

    well done on 245. Nice perspective.

  • http://disinfo.com RaiderTW

    I like the ’76 team mainly because they WHIPPED the big bad steelers TWICE & it was the only break between the 4 SBs they won by an AFC team. I started hating the Broncos when they stole my change to see the dream SB matchup for me: Dallas (all my friends & family rooting for Dallas the white hat good guys) vs The Raiders( big bad mofos opposite of the clean cut computerized cowboys) Again the refs stole AFC championship with the Lytle fumble. Sometimes I think I hate the Donkeys more than I like the Raiders!!!

  • Thec

    76 team was a work of art. how manny HOF from 76?

  • Dakota

    I was born in 1976, lol. I do not remember that season for some reason.