By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 at 2:52 pm in Oakland Raiders.
As noted in Tuesday’s on-line chat, I’m involved in a mock draft which started this way:
Detroit_QB Matt Stafford, Georgia
St. Louis_LT Jason Smith, Baylor
Kansas City_LT Eugene Monroe, Virginia
Seattle_LB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
Cleveland_WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
Cincinnati_LT Andre Smith, Alabama
Sounds plausible, since it’s difficult to know at this point exactly what teams are thinking. There are reports the Cleveland Browns have soured on Crabtree because of his attitude, although I can remember hearing similar things about Charles Woodson only to discover he was actually a pretty straight-forward guy and was far from a “diva.”
Let’s assume for a moment Crabtree is gone when the Raiders pick, as are three of the four premeire tackles.
The consensus at that point, if you went through all the mock drafts, would probably be Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
First, try and trade down. Easier said than done, if indeed seven of the teams in the top 10 are having similar thoughts, as Scot McCloughan is suggesting.
If the Buffalo Bills saw something they really wanted at No. 7 and were hesitant to give up Nos. 11 and 28 in the first round, then you throw in a player and a second- or third-round pick from next season’s draft to get it done, with the idea of getting those picks back through future deals.
If trading back simply isn’t an option, then I’m reluctantly going with Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji.
If the Raiders truly believe he is best front-seven run-stopper in the draft, then you address a six-year weakness and make the pick.
Over the last six years, the Raiders have finished no better than 25th in rushing defense. They’ve been 32nd once and 31st in each of the last two years.
In those 96 games, the Raiders have given up 122 rushing touchdowns. At the other end of the spectrum, the Pittsburgh Steelers have given up 54 rushing touchdowns.
I realize the problems in that area are in part because the Raiders score so few touchdowns. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be advocating the pick of Crabtree.
But more touchdowns isn’t going to suddenly make the Raiders a good team against the run _ it would only the opponent less persistent.
And if those touchdowns aren’t on the board, you move to stop a six-year land rush against your defense.