By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 at 2:47 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo might be the most imposing physical specimen in the NFL draft.
He could be another DeMarcus Ware.
Or another Vernon Gholston.
Orakpo could be available when the Raiders choose at No. 7, and Al Davis is always on the lookout for a potentially explosive pass rusher.
Each player is scouted on his own merits, but you wonder whether scouts will take into account the track record of first-round draft picks out of the University of Texas when making the call on Orapko.
With only a few exceptions, the players out of Texas out of the last 10 years deemed the best pro prospects by virtue of their selection in the first round of the draft have underachieved.
The Raiders know this all too well, having used the No. 7 overall pick in the 2006 draft on safety Michael Huff, who went from disappointing to millimeters from bust status after washing out at free safety and losing his job to Hiram Eugene.
Huff was a slender strong safety who did some good things in coverage even if he seldom made plays. The switch to free safety was one of the big stories of training camp, with teammates talking about how natural Huff looked and what a difference he would make.
Instead, he was invisible.
The good news regarding the Longhorns is that the two players taken in the first round of the 2007 draft may have turned the tide on the unappealing Texas trend.
Huff isn’t alone in the Texas dishnor roll. A look at the good, bad and ugly of Texas draft picks over the past 10 years.
1-19 Michael Griffin, S, Tennessee Titans: Named to Pro Bowl as an injury replacement this season. Looks like a winner.
1-20 Aaron Ross, CB, New York Giants: Six picks and 24 starts in his first two seasons _ a good beginning.
1-3 Vince Young, QB, Tennessee Titans: Hasn’t showed the passing skill or the mental toughness to succeed at the NFL’s most demanding position.
1-7 Michael Huff, S, Oakland Raiders: Dangled as trade bait last year, hard to imagine getting anything substantial for him at this point.
1-4-Cedric Benson, RB, Chicago Bears: A flop in Chicago, Benson has been of some value for the Bengals but nothing approaching his status as the fourth overall pick.
1-15 Derrick Johnson, LB, Kansas City Chiefs: Among the Chiefs leading tacklers since his arrival, but hasn’t been a game-altering presence. Will test skills in a 3-4 defense this year.
1-7 Roy Williams, WR, Detroit Lions: Word is Davis may have pounced on Williams if he didn’t take Robert Gallery. Has had some big statistical years and was a Pro Bowl injury replacement with Detroit, now will be the main man in Dallas with Terrell Owens gone.
1-23, Marcus Tubbs, DT, Seattle Seahawks: Had four injury-riddled years before Seahawks gave up on him and released him following the 2008 season.
1-4 Mike Williams, T, Buffalo Bills: Struggled with weight which broke 360 pounds, considered one of G.M. Tom Donahoe’s biggest mistakes. Last played with Jaguars in 2006.
1-5 Quintin Jammer, CB, San Diego Chargers: Chris Johnson may have made more plays since taking over for DeAngelo Hall than Jammer has made since he joined the Chargers. Average at best.
1-2 Leonard Davis, G, Arizona Cardinals: Never became the player he was supposed to be with Cardinals but has flourished in Dallas, making the 2007 Pro Bowl.
1-19 Casey Hampton, NT, Pittsburgh: Despite weight and conditioning struggles, the man the call “Big Snack” made a 2003 Pro Bowl appearance and was an excellent addition to the center of a the NFL’s toughest 3-4 defense.
1-5-Ricky Williams, RB, New Orleans Saints: Undeniable talent sidetracked by marijuana use.
Hold it on Maclin
For what it’s worth, a source familiar with Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin says there are no plans in place to visit Oakland, contrary to a report on Raiderbeat.com and picked up by Profootballtalk.com.
The report cited confirmation from a “team official,” which ordinarily means something which has been cleared to be made public by either John Herrera or Mike Taylor. Not so in this case, because the Raiders haven’t publicly confirmed a single visitor to the complex with regard to prospective draft picks.
It doesn’t mean a Maclin visit isn’t happening, only that Raiders officials won’t confirm it as a matter of record and that a source familiar with Maclin said Wednesday a trip wasn’t scheduled.
Most important, whether Maclin sets foot on 1120 Harbor Bay Parkway isn’t of much help in determining the Raiders’ level of interest.