No need to panic over 6th-round Strykeout


It’s a little disconcerting to have used a sixth-round draft pick on someone who you quickly deem to be incapable of making your football team, but that’s all it is.

A little disconcerting.

Stryker Sulak, or safety Keith Davis, for that matter, weren’t going to make or break the 2009 Raiders.

Regarding Sulak, let’s go back to Day 2 of the draft, when Tom Cable was doing what all coaches do _ talking about the great draft his team just completed. He was already growing tired of the questions surrounding Day 1 picks Darrius Heyward-Bey and Mike Mitchell and lecturing the media on the amount of “due diligence” the Raiders perform with every selection.

“We really connected this year and everything worked,” Cable said. “We had a plan, stuck to the plan and we got the players we wanted.”

His summary of Sulak, the sixth-round hybrid end/linebcker from Missouri?

“Stryker Sulak was an end but also a linebacker in their system. Depending on who they played, in certain situations he was an inside linebacker, an outside linebacker, or he he had his hand on the ground as a defensive end as a pass rusher.”

Cable said he would start out as a linebacker.

When asked if he had a any problems with Sulak’s reputation for getting a few too many penalties, Cable said, “The Raiders need that again. We need more of that, with some discipline. You can’t bee too crazy, but you need that attitude.”

And that was the last we heard from Cable about Sulak. Well, almost. At the mandatory minicamp, Sulak wasn’t lining up as a linebacker, but as an end. I reminded Cable that he’d said Sulak was going to play linebacker, and if the plan was to give him some reps there as well to see where he’d best fit in.

“Yes,” Cable said.

One-word answers are no big deal, but they’re rare in the offseason. Coaches normally go out of their way to elaborate with something along the lines of, “We just wanted to see where he was at as an end, but we really like his motor and think he has the capability to do both.”

Since only one of every three OTA sessions are open to the media, it’s impossible to know if Sulak got in much time as a linebacker. He was strictly an end on media days, and a virtually invisible one at that.

Assuming there is no story behind the story, like the time a Raiders draft pick never made it to camp after he got pulled over with a bundle of weed in his trunk, it’s pretty clear all the team’s due diligence and their plan failed with regard to Stryker Sulak.

They saw he wouldn’t be a factor at linebacker and was a slender rush end. They signed Greg Ellis, weren’t going to be able to trade Derrick Burgess and made a sixth-round score the previous year in Trevor Scott. Sulak would make four ends on the 53-man roster who have issues defending the run on a team which desperately needs to shore up in that area.

They looked at third-round pick Matt Shaughnessy, Derrick Gray, Greyson Gunheim and even undrafted rookie free agent Desmond Bryant and couldn’t see Sulak making the roster.

So they simply wrote off Sulak rather than pay him a bonus in the $80,000 to $90,000 range just to sign a contract when they knew he probably wouldn’t make the practice squad.

Better to admit the mistake now than write a check just to defend the honor of a draft pick. If Sulak becomes a player somewhere else, then the the person who pushed for the Sulak selection can feel pretty good and the one who decided he couldn’t play (unless it’s Al Davis) can start preparing his resume.

But when you take a look at the history of sixth-round draft picks over the years, that’s not the way to bet.

They nailed the Scott pick in 2008, whiffed on Sulak in 2009. Going 1-for-2 on sixth-round ends is still above average.

The most troublesome aspect of the Keith Davis move is that the veteran couldn’t move aside Michael Huff in the pecking order. They’re putting a lot on the shoulders of Tyvon Branch and Mike Mitchell, two explosive but inexperienced talents with injury issues in their admittedly short histories.


The Raiders are scheduled to report to camp on July 28, and not the 29th, as previously reported. Their first practice is still scheduled for July 30, however. July 29 will be entirely made up of meetings with no practice.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • is this site effed up again?

  • SnB Defense


    Yeah, I am a little concerned about Cable’s reliance on his “leaders”.

    There is nothing wrong with leadership…in factits very necessary. But leadership and talent have to go hand in hand.

    I am concerned. Garcia, Fargas, Warren, Eugene, Boschetti….all guys that have great work ethic/leadership but limited talent. Unlike Little League, you can’t win on inspiratino alone.

    The Raiders need to be unapologetic on getting the best players on the field. This isn’t little league and life isn’t fair.

    Hopefully Cable realizes that TALENT saved his job!

  • DirtyRaccoon

    KoolKell Says:
    July 14th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I’m going to practice Aug 6 in Napa with the Alameda Chamber of Commerce. $70 per. Join me, and whatever you little trolls have on your chest, you can get it off then.

    At your service


    KK, if you get that b!tcHam guy to go let me know, I will be happy to join yall!! 😉

  • Dogg, we’ll do a sign and trade…Odom and Farmar for Ivan Drago and Ellis (plus some assorted junk to make the contracts work).

  • Dakota

    One of these days I’ll get you. That was straight from the school of Dakota.

    I can only hope he would be that dumb.

    In othe news, how will The Answer and The Beard co-exist?

  • Drago is the man, still leads the league in Hair Gel. Ellis ain’t going anywhere. Drago may be expendable if a big man is involved.

  • You don’t need Ellis, you have Curry at PG! Or is Curry one of those overrated small shooting guards like Ben Gordon?

  • Dakota

    I surmised through the various posts that you have a new addition to your family. Congratulations my friend. It won’t be long until Dakota Jr will have his hands on the keyboard, talking Raiders, Lakers, Cubs and Michigan Wolverine Football!

    What, do you think he’s going to like all of your teams?

  • Ellis is a 2 by trade, Nellie pushed him into the 1 role after The Beard left. Ellis is a shooter by nature and he looks to that first before creating for others. Curry may be running the point with Ellis at 2.

  • Anyone but Michigan!

  • Thanks Dogg…

  • beeecham

    Hey, it’s the Lady Raccoon! I guess she’s taking a break from watching Grease and imagining she’s in a tough gang.

    Lady, I’m glad you’re reaching out to Krappy so you two can cry on eachother’s shoulders. It must be hard trying to act so tough when you’re really just a little lady who cries uncontrollably whenever she sees a tampon commercial.

    I’m totally looking forward to seeing this unexpected friendship blossom between the senile old goat and the delicate female flower!

  • AZ Raider

    F**K UP Beeecham…. I’m sick of you trolls coming in here just to talk sh*t. You and BS talk to eachother on the previous thread unless you have some Raiders to talk…

  • AZ Raider

    alright…. too much basketball and b*tches. tty tomorrow.

  • DirtyRaccoon

    Well said AZ!!

  • beeecham

    AZ, you don’t have to try to be a big man and stand up for that chick the Lady Raccoon. Let me guess, you just drank a 6 pack of Red Bull while beating off to UFC 100 and you’re all pumped up and sweaty?

    Anyway, I haven’t decided whether or not I want to let you keep posting on my blog, so stay tuned for my decision.

  • Dakota Says:
    July 14th, 2009 at 2:00 pm
    What exactly is a “hater”? Sometimes you just have to sit back and ask yourself what is it that I am supporting? Am I supporting Al Davis? Am I supporting the Oakland Raiders? Am I supporting both? (contrary to popular belief Al Davis is not the Raiders…the Raiders were here before Al Davis, and they will be here long after he is gone).
    Dakota, that post was well articulated.

    If I had posted it, hayesDaze would have worked himself into an hysterical hissy fit.

  • The Raiders had 87 players on their roster and they need to pare it down to 80 by training camp. Now they have 86 with the release of Sulak so who’s next?

    Should they cut an established player or a player that isn’t under contract and hasn’t shown a thing worth mentioning? Whomever it may be, they are talented enough players to be considered NFL caliber at one point. So whomever the Raiders cut is going to be considered wasted talent.

    I still can’t believe that so many people are reeling over Sulak getting cut. It seems necessary to me.

  • Twocents

    Frantz Joseph waived!

  • AZ Raider

    We waive back…

  • “This once prestigious franchise has become the irrelevant team of the league. It has all started from the top of the organization in Al Davis.

    Al Davis better be going senile to have as an excuse, or his idiotic personnel moves between coaches and players will make him be viewed as the worst GM in NFL history.

    Ever since the Super Bowl defeat in 2002 the Raiders have experienced horrible football. Davis has been the key to their struggles to say the least.

    An example would be the mass number of coaches he has hired and fired for different reasons in a short period of time.

    The hiring of Lane Kiffin, most think it was a good move. Wrong! As a GM you should have a floor plan of how you want to win. As we all know Al Davis likes to win with speed and a deep passing attack.

    Well guess what, the coach he hired does not believe in that philosophy to win, which was what lead Kiffin to an early dismissal when he didn’t want JaMarcus Russell.

    So in the interview process did Al Davis have his headphones in his ears while Kiffin talked about how he believed was the way to win. It’s just plain stupidity to hire a coach who doesn’t share the same idea of how to go about winning as you.”

  • It’s not about Sulak, it’s about wasting a pick. Damn!

  • “This is not the only time this decade that Al Davis has hired a coach with a completely different view on how to structure a team. Art Shall was another mistake to say the least.

    Maybe Davis wanted to match his counter part Dan Snyder when he brought back Gibbs. Whatever the reason, Shall was from the era where they played defense and ran the ball all the time.

    What did Davis think he was going to do?

    Those two short years Shall coached were some of the worst football I’ve seen in my life.”

  • KoolKell

    EVERY CUT is a wasted pick one way or the other, so what is your point exactly? Damn! Like I said ALL TEAMS must be down to 80 by training camp with 85 now on the roster (Frantz Joseph waived). What don’t you understand?

  • Now Davis has Tom Cable who may not always abide by the deep throw, but does it enough to keep Davis entertained. Cable has started to improve the team where he can especially with the o-line.

    The Raiders may look to have one of the best rushing teams in the league this season. We will see if the Davis disease kicks in after next season and fires Cable just to set the Raiders back another decade.
    Interesting reading, don’t you think?

  • Forget it Dogg. I think it’s obvious to those who are open-minded.

  • KK

    I never read your posts when all you do is lift someone else’s thoughts. You have an interesting, be it skewed, perspective. Try using it.

  • KK

    My mind is wide open, always has been. I just tell it like it is while you dance around the subject.

  • Facts not opinion.

  • All NFL teams must be cut down to 80 players by training camp: FACT

    Raiders have 85 players on roster after cutting 2 players: FACT

    Every player cut in the NFL is a wasted pick unless undrafted to begin with: FACT

    How much easier can I make this for you?

    Before you rely on your tried and true Al Davis nonsense, I am talking about ALL TEAMS. My point has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with Al.

    Maybe you should open YOUR mind. You seem pretty stubborn overall.

  • Twocents

    Sulak was no big deal but Frantz Joseph!

    This team is being dismantled, who’s next Southwick?

  • KK

    Bottom line is I ain’t mad at you, but we disagree on this point obviously.

    I tend to see things as black and white, cut 7 players that should be cut by training camp, instead of the grey area of emotion about a wasted pick.

  • Frantz CANNOT be a wasted pick, he was an Undrafted FA.

  • AZ Raider

    Twocents Says:
    July 14th, 2009 at 4:10 pm
    Sulak was no big deal but Frantz Joseph!

    This team is being dismantled, who’s next Southwick?


    Geez, I hope not…. WTF?

  • DirtyRaccoon

    Blanda’s 53yd. game winning FG 1970: 1-866-508-5050
    The “Holy Roller”: 1-877-482-5050
    Plunkett to Branch, 99yd. TD: 1-877-964-5050
    Bo’s 91yd. TD run, MNF 1987: 1-877-419-5050
    “Wheatly won’t go down”. 1-877-934-5050
    These are all toll free, and only takes a few minutes.
    The “Holy Roller” call is one of Bill King’s best.
    Would have been nice to have, the “Sea of Hands”. call on there to.

  • Cassel just got $15 to play this yr. Only Schaub is making more in the NFL!!!!
    How does that make you feel about about JR’s contract?