I’ll be supplying updates from Raiders HQ in Alameda throughout the day.
My final mock draft was posted in Bay Area News-Group East Bay papers this morning, with some picks I already regret.
In the interest of full disclosure, I actually had tight end Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew going to Atlanta (having worked on the draft before the trade of Tony Gonzalez to the Falcons) and only an alert copy editor (thanks, Dave Belli) saved me with a phone call.
I gave the Falcons Boston College defensive tackle Ron Brace instead, then sent Pettigrew to Arizona. That, unfortnately, bounced San Jose State defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert out of the first round, including a real clever line about jumping out of the pool and into the starting lineup.
During our mock 10-pick draft on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area Friday night, the Jacksonville selector gave some thought to Ohio State running back Chris “Beanie” Wells. I felt validated for a moment, knowing I’d picked Wells for the Jags myself to pair with Maurice Jones-Drew as a replacement for Fred Taylor.
Fellow panelists Kevin Lynch (49ers insider) and Matt Maiocco (Santa Rosa Press Democrat) told me I was crazy. You can find running backs anywhere in the draft. You don’t take them at No. 8. At least not this year. They’re probably right.
Other potential gaffes _ I left Percy Harvin out of the first round altogether, thinking if he didn’t have enough sense to show up clean to the most important weekend of his professional life, then teams would question his decision-making enough to leave him out the first round.
The general consensus is that I’ve erred big time on that score _ who cares about a toke or two when you’re a potentially devastating slot receiver? I’m usually cynical enough to realize talent trumps a minor drug issue every time. Teams and the league frown and threaten, then look the other way if it means a few electrifying touchdowns.
I also had defensive end LSU Tyson Jackson way too low, at No. 15 to Houston. He’s had some support at No. 3 to Kansas City and No. 10 to San Francisco (by Maiocco).
No confirmed deals as of yet, although the Raiders are reportedly, and not surprisingly, shopping end Derrick Burgess.
The gamble on Burgess is that he’s in a salary year, which could mean double-figure sacks. Do you ride out that potential production or move him to get a mid-round draft pick that could conceivably have little or no effect in 2009 but strengthen you for the future?
I’d lean toward keeping him and making him a nickel rusher, giving him fewer plays and keeping him fresh, riding out the last year. Sacks are hard to come by.
But the Raiders have a better idea of Burgess’ and his body type than I do. They could be shipping out a spent player, with someone else hoping for 10 sacks they’ll never see as Burgess spends half the season nursing injuries.