By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, April 24th, 2009 at 9:05 pm in Oakland Raiders.
I’m waffling enough to be a politician, although I offer the defense of an ever-shifting situation.
I took Alabama left tackle Andre Smith on “Chronicle Live” Friday night on behalf of the Raiders, after going with Boston College run-stuffer B.J. Raji for ESPN Radio only to switch to Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree when told he had become available.
In a mock draft conducted by host Greg Papa, with media types (announcers, beat writers, radio hosts) doing the selecting for their own cities, the top six selections went like this:
1. Detroit–QB Matt Stafford, Georgia. (Hope you made the right call, Lions, you just spent $41.7 guaranteed to make it happen).
2. St. Louis–OT Jason Smith, Baylor. Rationale: The perfect longterm replacement for Orlando Pace.
3. Kansas City–OT Eugene Monroe, Virginia. Rationale: Chiefs would love to trade down, but if not, Monroe, along with 2007 draftee Brandon Albert, gives Kansas City two long-term solutions at tackle.
4. Seattle–WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech. Rationale: Jim Mora has a man-crush on Crabtree. Honest.
5. Cleveland–QB Mark Sanchez, USC. Rationale: Coach Eric Mangini loves him (there we go with man crushes again) and wants to start his regime with a QB of the future. The Browns would trade Brady Quinn and play Derek Anderson until Sanchez was ready _ probably in 2010.
6. Cincinnati–LB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest. Rationale: He’s the best player available, the Bengals would be stunned he was available, and Marvin Lewis would want him over Andre Smith, although not by much.
That left me at No. 7, choosing for the Raiders. My first choice is to trade back, depending on the deal. Short of that, my choices are Andre Smith, B.J. Raji and Jeremy Maclin (who is probably the Raiders consensus picks when you total up all the mock drafts).
I gave Tom Cable his “Cadillac,” believing he could sell Davis on the idea that they just got what might be the most talented player in the draft and a guy who could anchor the left side of the line for the next decade.
Why would Davis go for it?
For one, once upon a time in 1997 he wanted Orlando Pace, and even maneuvered to the second selection to get him, only to have the Rams and Dick Vermeil trade up to No. 1 and get him instead.
Considering who was available, Smith would be the player who would seem to have the capacity for “greatness.” By that, I mean a chance to join the pantheon of great Raiders as a true dominator. Don’t think that doesn’t carry some weight.
So I took Smith, and the rest of the draft went like this.
(Because it was a one-hour show, the NFL in this case consisted of 10 teams _ no time for the remaining 22).
8. Jacksonville–WR Jeremy Maclin, Missouri. Rationale: After failing miserably with first-round picks Reggie Williams and Matt Jones, plus free agent Jerry Porter, the Jaguars need help.
9. Green Bay–DT B.J. Raji, Boston College: The perfect player to plug into the middle of their new 3-4 defense.
10. San Francisco–DE Tyson Jackson, LSU; and OT Michael Oher, Mississippi: No, the 49ers don’t really get two players, but the panel guests were Matt Maiccco of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and 49ers insider blogger Kevin Lynch of the Chroncle, and each got to make a pick.
I’d give their rationale, but since this is a Raiders blog, I’m guessing you don’t care.
My back-and-forth selections illustrate how the process becomes once you get past the first few picks.
Here’s how I’d rate the Raiders picks, going to the first name on the list that was available at No. 7.
3–Smith (either one)
What about Percy Harvin?
Profootballtalk.com floated the idea of the Raiders taking Florida wide receiver/running back Percy Harvin, taking on a tone of blind speculation.
I’ve since heard there are some NFL types who are buying into the possibility as well _ that the Raiders are considering Harvin with the No. 7 pick despite the alleged positive marijuana test.
I’m putting that into the same category as the Darrius Heyward-Bey rumors. I’ll believe it when I see it. With Darren McFadden already on the team, what would be the point of drafting Harvin?
McFadden’s duties go far beyond being a running back. He’ll also be a slot receiver, put in motion, and be used as a chess piece in hopes of isolating hin one-on-one. Harvin would only cut into some of those duties. Doesn’t make sense.
What about Boldin?
With the Cardinals lowering their asking price, why wouldn’t the Raiders offer the No 40 pick overall as well as may be a player or two to acquire Anquan Boldin?
Here are a few reasons:
Boldin is no diva, taking hits and dishing them out. He’s one of the toughest receivers in the league, and therefore older than his calendar age of 28 (He’ll turn 29 in October).
Boldin wants huge money _ Larry Fitzgerald type money. The kind of money that can throw a salary structure out of whack.
Boldin is a run-after-catch receiver, rather than a downfield receiver. It’s not a pass JaMarcus Russell throws particularly well (yet), nor one which is preferred by the owner.
Boldin would not be playing for the wide-open spaces Arizona Cardinals. He’d be playing for the Raiders, which under Cable are planning to be a predominantly running team with McFadden, Michael Bush and Justin Fargas.
His opportunities to catch passes will be fewer, because rather than “long handoffs,” the Raiders will really hand the ball off to one of their three backs.
At the 11.7 yards per catch Boldin had last year, if he were to catch, say, 60 passes for the run-oriented Raiders, he’d gain 702 yards. Not exactly the numbers of a wide receiver who wants to be paid among the NFL’s elite.
I’m not saying it’s a horrible idea, just that it’s not as much of a slam dunk as it sounds.