Crabtree is this year’s McFadden


Last year the most heated debate among readers of this forum was about Darren McFadden.

To draft, or not to draft?

Most people seemed to believe Al Davis simply couldn’t pass up the chance at such an explosive play-maker, and that line of thinking turned out to be correct.

Those who wanted the Raiders to look elsewhere cited the presence of Justin Fargas, Michael Bush and even Dominic Rhodes, who broke 100 yards rushing in the Raiders last two games of the season, and saw McFadden as a skinny-legged gamble with a questionable background.

Some joker even thought the Raiders would opt for Ohio State edge rusher Vernon Gholston because he was precisely the sort of workout warrior who looked great getting off the bus and would make quarterbacks go down, and go down hard.

(For what it’s worth, I was later told Davis liked Gholston a lot _ just not enough to pass up McFadden. Given McFadden’s promise, even with his injuries, and Gholston’s first year, it looks like a good decision so far).

Lane Kiffin later told everyone it was McFadden all along, although it’s hard to know what to make of that given Davis’ on-the-record statements regarding the truthfulness of his former coach.

Judging from some of the pre-draft debate already heating up, this year’s biggest debate will be whether or not to draft Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Crabtree supporters believe he would be the ideal playmate for JaMarcus Russell and an instant contributor to a receiving corps that includes Johnnie Lee Higgins, Chaz Schilens and a hoped-for rejuvenation of javon Walker.

Detractors note he’s not as tall as advertised, is recovering from a stress fracture in his foot and is not as fast as Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin.

I checked out 20 mock drafts and 16 of the had the Raiders taking a receiver at No. 7. Eleven of them bought into the argument that Davis will go with speed and take Maclin, even if Crabtree is available. Five thought the call would be Crabtree.

Where were also two votes for Boston College nose tackle B.J. Raji and one each for Mississippi tackle Michael Oher and USC lineacker Rey Maualuga.

How some mock drafts see the Raiders using the No. 7 pick:

Todd McShay, ESPN: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
Jamie Dukes, NFL Network: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
Charles Davis, NFL Network: WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
Clark Judge, CBSsports.com: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
Pete Prisco, CBSsports.com: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
Rob Rang, NFLdraftscout.com: OT Michael Oher, Mississippi
Chad Reuter, NFLdraftscout.com: WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
NFLdraftdog.com: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
Pat Kirwan, NFL Network: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
Russ Lande, The Sporting News: WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
Don Banks, CNN-SI: DT B.J. Raji, Boston College
Jim Trotter, CNN-SI: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
Wes Bunting, National Football Post: WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
KFFL: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
NFLdrafttscource.com: WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
Walterfootball.com: DT B.J. Raji, Boston College
Steve Silverman, NBCsports.com: LB Ray Maualuga, USC
Chris Steuber, Scout.com: WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech

Note: Missed McFadden’s brief talk with local reporters Thursday night when he pronounced himself fit and ready to go because of a prior obligation (I’m helping coach my son’s Little League team and it was the season opener). Will be out of touch much of the weekend but will try and post something if news breaks and time permits.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • The revenge of Oakglenn the contarian, I mean contrarian

    Birren must have been embarrassed as he drafted that. It’s embarrassing working for the Raiders. I’ll bet you people that leave the organization for a better gig feel like they’ve had shackles removed. They get their dignity back.

  • mcfaddenswaggon


  • inonewordraider

    I don’t think Gholston is neccessarily a bust just however the fact that Al was so in love with him scares me into thinking Maclin is our guy. Course I don’t think he has the height Davis is looking for so maybe Maybin or Orakpo



  • Florida Pete


    the letter that was sent to the University of Tennessee…

  • The revenge of Oakglenn the contarian, I mean contrarian

    Ha ha. Al’s going to have to pay Kiffin. How embarrassing.

  • # Troll Fart Says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    March 13th, 2009 at 4:34 pm
    yo troll how’d ya make that demon smiley???

    Like this 👿
    lol how guy..

  • 👿

  • yeah troll b1tch ya shoulda told me…


  • Kentucky Fried Kiffin

    DT B.J. Raji, Boston College

    All the way

  • Troll Fart

    March 13th, 2009 at 5:40 pm
    # Troll Fart Says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    March 13th, 2009 at 4:34 pm
    yo troll how’d ya make that demon smiley???

    Like this
    lol how guy..

    A troll only has so many secrets and you want him to give them up 👿

  • darkknight01

    Mike Taylor Says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 5:03 pm
    517,..only dumber people are non raider fans hangin in a raider blog!!!,..that would be you loser OC!!!!

    Exactly!! LOL

  • The revenge of Oakglenn the contarian, I mean contrarian

    Colon (as in “:” ), word “evil”, then colon, 408.

    Right click the exact spot of the image, then click “properties”. At the bottom, it says alternate text.

    There’s your secret, ya troll fuq.

  • Troll Fart

    The revenge of Oakglenn the contarian, I mean contrarian Says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 5:49 pm
    Colon (as in “:” ), word “evil”, then colon, 408.

    Right click the exact spot of the image, then click “properties”. At the bottom, it says alternate text.

    There’s your secret, ya troll fuq.

    Crawl back big al’s greazy colon, contarianus. I was just messing with him and was going to tell him.

  • Als’ sagging lower jaw

    draft Crabtree

  • Als’ sagging lower jaw

    sign Pace, draft Crabtree

  • Florida Pete


    i feel so special…

  • Florida Pete

    Andre Smith says: “it’s not easy to get back into shape after having a baby…”

  • BigZ@CSM

    BJ is too small for a NFL nose tackle. I hope they take a OT or a WR. I wonder if Pace could help mentor our younger linmen?? Anyone herd where he’s going?

  • Blake

    “BJ is too small for a NFL nose tackle.”

    People said Ray Lewis was too small to be an NFL MLB. The “too small” knock is one of the most common critisims of players who go on to greatness.

  • ke

    Raji 4 me

  • GdaMac

    Raji 4 me 2

  • Mad Road Dog

    The priorities of the Raiders have to be “O” line first then the “D” line. After losing Grove the “D” line is currently much better than the “O” line.
    A dominate “O” line would not leave the Raiders in constant 3rd & long as the running game would elevate the troop of good RBs, It would not only ensure JRs health but give JR time to develope into a real NFL star at QB. An effective passing game would make the offense balanced which takes the heat off the defense. This would automatically elevate the game of the defense as the Raider’s opponents would have to throw the ball more to catch up rather than run the ball down our throat.

    Everyone has penciled Henderson in at LT but it has been said many times that Henderson got plenty of help the last two games. Gallery is just OK at LG and needs help at times with his pass blocking. The center position is a big whole as Wade and Morris are less then adequate. Carisle is mediocre at RG and gets planted on his back by the bigger, stronger DTs. Green at RT is just a backup at best.

    Therefore, OT is logically the highest priority. Andre Smith is potentially the best OT in the draft based on the game tape I have seen. His pro day workout was not stellar but his game tape is stellar and that is the measure of his worth. He came out early and is guilty of being immature which is expected at his young age. The pro day interview showed that he is intelligent as his speech was articulate and well thought out. He has quick feet and his strength and stamina will increase in the NFL regiment. He claims to be a man of God and not a party animal so in my mind he is a must at the 7th pick.

    Get a center in the 2nd round and maybe a NT by the name of Brace in the 3rd.

    But remember, when you are as bad as the Raiders have been, you have to take the mentality that you are building a house not renovating an apartment. Furthermore, when you build a house you do not buy a Ferrari when you need a bulldozer, so just say no to WR.

  • Blake

    D line is better? Is 31st run defense in the league better? We can run better than we can stop the run right now.

  • UKRaidersFan89

    It’s all about an OT – Eugene Monroe if he’s there, Michael Oher if he’s not.. We can grab a WR in the second round…Brian Robiskie, i think he’d have as successful a career as both Maclin and Crabtree, maybe more successful due to the experience of his father (the falcons scout)..

  • Marc

    God save us from Uncle Al. Draft a WR in round one, lose at least 10 games this season.

  • TrevJo

    I was dead-set against drafting McFadden. However, this is a different story. For one, I didn’t think McFadden was a top-4 talent, and I do think Crabtree is a top-7 talent. (Maclin, maybe.) For another, I didn’t think we had a need at RB, and I felt RB is a position you can get instant impact, thus we should have waited on RB until we shored up our other positions. WR on the other hand is a positions where players take time to develop and last longer than RB, so I can see getting someone now to help JaMarcus down the road.

    All that said, my overwhelming feeling is still that games are won in the trenches. I want to see us draft an OL or defensive front seven guy with that pick. But our long-term need at WR is great (and our short-term need at WR is so great that even a rookie WR could help), I could live with Crabtree.

  • Cartman GM


    With all due respect I dont undertsnad the logic: Offensve weapons are top draft picks yet you dont feel that way and would draft an o lineman in the top 5 ?

    I think we can agree its all a crapshoot, a gamble.

    The order of picks only really matters in dollars with the scale of being paid more as your draft higher also position you play.

    Speed can be overated for example say Jerry Rice or Emmit Smith yet they are great.
    However your heart can’t add height. Crabtree is a risky pick.I do see us adding two to three lineman in the draft.

  • well 49er takes the cake as far as dumbest sports fans! lol!

  • What we need to do now is build the offensive wall. If we sign Khalif Barnes and, or Orlando Pace, it will pretty much be solidified. We could definetly make sure of this by drafting the center from Cal or Max Unger from Oregon in the second round. If Crabtree is there at 7 we should take him. We need a position reciever badly, and Javon Walker can assume being the intermediate route route runner. I say this cuz i believe the raiders will bring back one of the vet recievers. Drew Carter or Ashley Lelie. Chaz Shillens and Arman Shields will battle it out for the 5th reciever spot unless we carry 6 this year which we should. Our running backs and fullbacks are set. We still need a true run blocking TE to allow Zack Miller to get more involved in the passing game. What ever happpened to Jason Dunn of the Kansas City Chiefs? Why not a Kyle Brady? If we build the fort all there is now is natural progression out of Jarmarcus Russell.

  • Defensively, I would like a signing of a vet with leadership qualities. LE Vonnie Holliday is big and stout enough to man at LE while still adding pressure on the qb. I believe our defensive end spots are the worst part of our defense. I would definetly look into drafting Michael Johnson from Georgia Tech or Robert Ayers from Tennessee if they fall into the second round. Our linebacking depth is solidified now but we definetly need a starting caliber linebacker to go along with Morrison and Howard. Kevin Burnett signed with the Chargers so now I wouldn’t take a chance on any others in free agency, I would select a linebacker in the 3rd round maybe, and wait til next year to find that Patrick Willis type linebacker. If we sign CB Justin Miller back i would love our secondary and hope that John Bowie could atleast stay healthy and make the team this year. I think we’ll wind up signing a vet corner for added depth later. Safety is now a bit of a concern with Gibril Wilson gone but Roy Williams would make all that go away, and I think it would be the best fit out of the remaining safeties available plus i think Michael Huff would finally come into his own with Roy next to him. If not, I would sign Milloy or fragile Brown for 2yrs for a decent price.
    Note: I see we havent’ re-signed CB/KR Justin Miller, this makes me believe that Macklin may be the pick right now and will be our main kick returner along with Branch. I think this is mistake if we go that route. I see him as another Johnnie lee higgins type that can’t take a hit and will always be injured.

  • If crabtree is not there at 7, i would rather trade down and draft Mauluga. If did select someone other than crabtree, it would be orakpo. i would love seeing him and burgess coming off the edges applying that needed pressure. Those stats of us finishing like 6th in sacks last year are just a mirage. It’s all about pressure and I didn’t see that constant pressure we need to get after these qb’s in our division. Cutler looked absolutely great everytime we played them. We have pro bowl qb’s in our division plus another potential one in Cassel now, we better get some real pass rushers to get to these guys or we will continue to get picked apart. They are not so good when u apply pressure on them so I hope we address that this year. Rey Mauluga would be a great start at helping stop the run, I would trade back up in the first round to get him if we selected Crabtree with the 7th overall pick, he’ll worth it.

  • FitzgeraldGetsNoSeperation

    # DMunoz26 Says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Maclin has to be the pick, watch film of Crabtree he gets very little to no seperation against slow college corners. He wont be able to use his leaping ability on NFL corners like he does in college. Maclin gets great separation from corners and that is key for a NFL receiver. At 6′1-ish Crabtree simply will not out jump very athletic NFL corners. This is just from what I have seen on tape of him.



    Yup, thats exactly what they said about Larry Fitzgerald genius……..

  • burnerthebull

    i personally don’t think we need to draft a receiver.johnny lee higgins is more than capable of being a premier receiver, zack miller has proven to be a reliable receiver also, and if javon walker can come back at top form the raiders have a damn good trio. the main focus should be on beefin’ up the center of that defense linebackers,&safties. peace!!

  • deemension59

    please draft Rey Mauluga we need our own Troy Polamalu and Lofa Tatupu imagine “mauluga, morrison and howard” damn top ten in rush defense for sure!!!!!!!

  • FitzgeraldGetsNoSeperation

    please draft Rey Mauluga we need our own Troy Polamalu and Lofa Tatupu imagine “mauluga, morrison and howard” damn top ten in rush defense for sure!!!!!!!


    Yes, just what we need…. A LB that we have to take out on 3rd down with our 7th pick!!

  • Michael Schulze


    Excellent article. I’ve never seen anyone compile all of the mock drafts like this. Ultimately, it only matters what Al Davis thinks, but it is interesting nonetheless.

    Also, I want to congratulate you on taking the time to be involved in your son’s life. When he gets older, he won’t remember that amazing article you wrote cause you stayed at the office late, but he will remember you coaching his little league team.

    All of your readers owe you a lot for helping keep us informed with accurate information. We also owe you thanks for helping set an example of a good parent, which is ultimately more important. So, thank you and keep up the good work, all the way around.