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Who are Cable’s fantastic four?

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 at 9:42 am in Oakland Raiders.

Asked Tuesday if the Raiders had narrowed their focus regarding the No. 7 pick in the draft, Raiders coach Tom Cable said, “Four spots. I’m not going to share them with you, either. But I know we need one of four guys.”

Someone posed the question to me on the on-line chat who the four players might be, and I replied I’d give it some more thought and post it today.

So here it is.

First, if Cable was including Baylor tackle Jason Smith, Virginia tackle Eugene Monroe and Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry on his list, then he’s out of luck unless the Raiders trade up. Good luck finding a mock draft that has any of those players falling to No. 7.

I’m going on the assumption the Raiders realize those three players will be gone and will adjust accordingly if one of them falls into their lap, and also assuming Cable’s four might not necessarily be the same four identified by Al Davis.

He’s going to have to sell the boss on the player he wants, and it that happens more often than you might think.

WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech: I know, I know, it seems the consensus wideout for the Raiders is Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin, plus Mike Mayock’s pick on the NFL Network of Maryland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey.

I think Cable would prefer Crabtree’s leaping and playmaking skills, which make him the ideal complement for JaMarcus Russell.

Great question in yesterday’s chat _ would the Raiders trade the No. 7 pick for Anquan Boldin?

My response? Boldin is a run-after-catch receiver and Russell needs someone to get downfield and make plays. Crabtree is a poor man’s Larry Fitzgerald.

Alabama T Andre Smith: Maybe it was a smokescreen, or perhaps wishful thinking that Davis will gift-wrap a blue chip tackle for his new coach, but Cable was unsparing in his praise for Smith.

The initial brushfire over Smith’s combine mishaps have already been snuffed out, and it appears he’s a lock for a top 10 pick. Southeastern Conference offensive lineman are better prepared for the NFL than any other based on the level of competition. Smith excelled in a Nick Saban program that is run more like an NFL team than any other college institution.

Mississippi T Michael Oher: Another SEC lineman who didn’t give up a sack and was the lead force for a powerful running game in a resurgent program. Oher was one of 13 children, his father a murder victim and his mother a crack addict. He was adopted by a white family and sent to Briarcrest Christian High School after spending much of his youth running the streets.

Oher is the subject of “The Blind Side,” a book by Michael Lewis on the evolution of the position of left tackle and how it is interwoven with his life. He’s the most compelling individual story in the draft, but maybe a bit behind Smith in that he’s had three line coaches in four years.

But he has all the tools, has shown a capacity for learning and responding to adversity, and could excel under Cable.

DT B.J. Raji, Boston College: If this is indeed the premiere run-stopper in the draft, Raji is receiving consideration on that skill alone.

A positive marijuana test at the combine was never confirmed, and chances are it wouldn’t have mattered to the Raiders anyway unless their research indicated it was a constant problem.

More of a concern would be that Raji already weighs 337 pounds and the Raiders have resisted the urge to sign huge defensive tackles in free agency (hello, Grady Jackson) because of that issue alone.

That’s my “four.” Your own interpretations are welcomed and encouraged.

Division delight

When we spoke with Cable Tuesday, he didn’t know the Raiders schedule other than the opener and the Thanksgiving Day date with Dallas. Or at least he said he didn’t.

But he spoke with enthusiasm again about the chance to get San Diego in Week 1, with the Raiders getting to test themselves against an division foe right away, particularly one that has beaten Oakland 11 consecutive times.

So he was no doubt ecstatic later when Weeks 2 and 3 contained a road game at Kansas City, where the Raiders have won two straight years, and a home game against Denver. The Raiders have wins over the Broncos in each of the past two seasons, at home in 2007 and in Denver in 2008.

The Broncos and Chiefs are both transitioning with new coaches and quarterbacks. This is a huge opportunity for some momentum _ a chance to win more division games in the first three weeks than they’ve won over an entire season since 2002.

As difficult as the end of the schedule is with four road games in six weeks, it’s all about a fast start for the Raiders. The more early wins, the more latitude the coach receives from Davis. An 0-3 start would be as crippling as a 3-0 start would be liberating, particularly with Houston on the road in Week 4.

There’s a brutal stretch of four road games over the last six weeks (although that comes off back-to-back home games against the Chiefs and Bengals) but that adversity is outweighed by the opportunity for a fast start.

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  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Most of Sac’s hoods were nice at one time. Strawberry Manor is Sacramento’s only planned ghetto. It was a de facto black neighborhood before desegregation. Cornell West is from the manor. He’s talked about it a few times. He was on C Span once and this dude from Sac called and West just threw down some game on Sac’s black history. Really interesting.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    I had a close friend that was a pro boxer in the late 70′s and 80′s who used to box at the Civic Auditorium in Sac.

  • DirtyRaccoon

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    April 16th, 2009 at 10:17 am
    Went to Sac High. I’m only familiar with Oak Park gangstas, 33rd, 4th ave, and Nortenos from Oak Park, Franklin, Centro, South Side Park and Northgate. There wasn’t a lot of blue at Sac…

    ***

    Burbank

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    A lot of great fights at the auditorium, ExLa. Sacramento is a breeding ground for Mexican fighters, West Sac especially.

  • DirtyRaccoon

    exlaraiderseasonticketholder Says:
    April 16th, 2009 at 10:22 am
    I had a close friend that was a pro boxer in the late 70’s and 80’s who used to box at the Civic Auditorium in Sac.

    ***

    Shires, or Lopez?

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    I think it was the Memorial Aud.

  • DirtyRaccoon

    exlaraiderseasonticketholder Says:
    April 16th, 2009 at 10:22 am
    I had a close friend that was a pro boxer in the late 70’s and 80’s who used to box at the Civic Auditorium in Sac.

    **********

    Memorial Auditorium

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Raccoon, one year we played at Burbank, on their little makeshift stadium there, and there was almost a fight after the game. Dudes from Gardens were coming over from those apartments across the track and Sac’s bus had to get out fast. Funny shyt.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Raccoon’s right, it was the memorial auditorium. It’s an old building. Really old. Civic’s fairly new, ’70s I think.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Monroe Brooks was his name. Former NABF Jr. Welt champ for 5 yrs. Lost a 15 rounder in Thailand for the title and had a war with Bruce Curry. Refused to fight for Don King and never got a 2nd shot at the World Title.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    George Foreman trained in Sac a lot, at the PAL gym in Oak Park. He has kids from Sac. Went to summer school at Hiram Johnson with one of them. The kid’s name was George Foreman, as Foreman named all of his sons George. No joke. Really quiet kid, unlike dad.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder
  • DirtyRaccoon

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    April 16th, 2009 at 10:29 am
    Raccoon, one year we played at Burbank, on their little makeshift stadium there, and there was almost a fight after the game. Dudes from Gardens were coming over from those apartments across the track and Sac’s bus had to get out fast. Funny shyt.

    **************************

    What year?

  • DKnight007

    Given the fact that most evaluators felt Sanchez’s workout was more impressive than that Staffords, I would say he is a hot name on draft day. Throw in the position he plays, the school and offense he played in, I would say it is almost a slam dunk that he gets taken by Seattle or someone trades for him in the top 7. Also, the kid was the number one rated QB in the country coming out of high school… It’s not like he came from nowhere. I would say that Sanchez ending up a top 5 pick is pretty close to a lock at this point. I think you will hear a lot about that next week.

    Also, look for a lot of guys to start slipping early next week. Heard 26 or so names failed the drug tests at the combine.. This should all come out next week besides the names we have heard already like Raji, Harvin, Cushing and Matthews.

  • RaiderTroy

    The Raiders should draft Crabtree with their #7 pick in the first round of the draft. If he is not available, the Raider should trade back and pick up Philly’s #21st and #28th pick in the first round. Who should the Raiders pick? It should depend on the need versus the best player available. However, my priority would be to draft WR Ramses Barden in the second round. If the Raiders are able to get Crabtree at #7, then my second round pick is Alex Mack, Duke Robinson or Ron Brace, in that order. I would address defense in the third round. In the fourth round I would select Bear Pascoe TE.

  • OAKlifer

    macermento..valley JO….Crestside…yadidimean….
    sorry just wanted in on the CSCC talk!!!

  • DKnight007

    RaiderTroy Says:
    April 16th, 2009 at 11:16 am
    The Raiders should draft Crabtree with their #7 pick in the first round of the draft. If he is not available, the Raider should trade back and pick up Philly’s #21st and #28th pick in the first round. Who should the Raiders pick? It should depend on the need versus the best player available. However, my priority would be to draft WR Ramses Barden in the second round. If the Raiders are able to get Crabtree at #7, then my second round pick is Alex Mack, Duke Robinson or Ron Brace, in that order. I would address defense in the third round. In the fourth round I would select Bear Pascoe TE.

    ^^^^^^^
    Agreed with the Crabtree selection. If Crabtree is NOT there at #7….then they need to get the hell out of the #7 spot and TRADE DOWN.

  • DKnight007

    I think Matthews would be a solid player for the Raiders.

  • serpentor1293

    # Einstein Says:
    April 15th, 2009 at 10:04 am

    PLEASE SAY NO TO RAJI. He is just another Darrel Russel in disguise. Pass on Raji, do the right thing Al.
    ——————————————————–

    If he is ANYTHING like russell was on field then we need to take him, sign him for life, and be set for the next ten years. before russell became an idiot, he was the DT in the league by a landslide. The guy dominated for three years before he became mentally retarded.

  • 90210

    Draft Sanchez!!!!!!!!!
    JaBubbles is a BUST!!!!

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