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Position group analysis: Defensive line

Sixth in a series analyzing Raiders position groups with a contingent of scouts and coaches in Indianapolis at the scouting combine:

Starters: RE Richard Seymour, DT Tommy Kelly, DT Gerard Warren, LE Greg Ellis. Backups_ DT Desmond Bryant, DE Greyson Gunheim, DT William Joseph, DE Jay Richardson, DE Matt Shaughnessy.

Review: As a group, was less effective than the sum of its parts. On one hand, the Raiders often played on the opposite side of the line and were among the league leaders in tackles for loss. Which was more than negated by the amount of rushing yardage they surrendered through either shabby tackling, poor gap control, or simply getting pushed around.

The Raiders thought enough of Seymour to make him their exclusive rights franchise free agent, guaranteeing him at least $12.398 million. He looked that good at times. Other times, he vanished for stretches. Although Kelly has his moments, he’s shown no sign he’ll ever be worth all the money they paid him the previous year to stay out of free agency. Warren has moments where he can’t be blocked and then . . . it’s been the story of his career at previous stops in Cleveland and Denver. Ellis, despite a balky knee, recorded seven sacks and proved to be an excellent free agent acquisition.

Third-round draft pick Matt Shaughnessy out of Wisconsin looked like a real find. He showed great range and passion, a good burst rushing the passer (four sacks) and was a sponge for everything Seymour and Ellis had to offer. Bryant, an undrafted free agent out of Harvard, was heavily involved in the defensive line rotation and produced far more than could have been expected after jumping from the Ivy League to the NFL.

Richardson, with three sacks, looks the part of a dominant lineman but plays that way too infrequently. Joseph has been on a yo-yo from being released, to being signed and then released again. Gunheim was a practice squad promotion for the second straight year.

Contract status: Nothing to worry about. Everything is within the Raiders control.

What’s next: Rumors continue of the Raiders wanting to off-load some players, particularly those with bloated contracts. Kelly and Warren would both qualify on that score, although, as noted before, these supposed fire-sales have been rumored every season and they never actually happen. The assumption here is that Trevor Scott will play linebacker based on the way he finished the 2009 season. That’s a good idea because it means more time for Shaughnessy, who will eventually push Ellis out of the starting lineup and off the roster. In the meantime, Ellis is good to have around.

The Raiders usually take a defensive lineman or two in the draft, and have scored big with the picks of Scott and Shaughnessy the past two years (it more than makes up for the Quinton Moses whiff).

Mike Waufle returns as defensive line coach. Waufle’s a big believer in leverage and position, two areas that if improved, could turn a talented front into a more productive one.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • http://www.raiderfans.net Richochet

    I agree Jhill..certainly isn’t all on JR.

    his development, working out, studying, getting in shape…all on JR..but honestly Cable didn’t do much, if anything to further JR, and STILL don’t understand why Javon wasn’t in, and why Bey stayed in as long as he had.

  • Thec07

    I like the pouncey kid at C, but he wont be around in the 2nd…

  • http://atm Raider O

    RD1 OT
    RD2 DT
    RD2 Spikes

  • jhill

    If that’s to me, I never said JR was a bad pick.

    ——————————————————-

    Actaully you did say that in your post to Priest. You said both were bad picks by Al. You’re right though, it hasn’t quite turned out how Al expected. I think he has without question gotten in his own way in that regard. Kiffin and Knapp had Russell on the right track. Cable and Cable weren’t quite up to the task, but maybe Cable and Jackson might be a little better.

    DMAC was a good pick, IMO. Him and Bush are a perfect compliment to each other and DMAC is a HUGE threat to score outside the tackles and matched up against a S or LB.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Do you guys like DT L Houston from Texas in the 2nd? If the draft wasn’t as strong in the DT position, I think he would be a 1st RD pick.

  • jhill

    Not sure if i see BRL progressing when kiffin didnt want him in the first place

    ——————————————————

    I don’t believe Kiffin held that grudge like Al says. Kiffin was still calling Russell after he was “let go” by the Raiders. Russell had nothing but good things to say about Kiffin, and he certainly was “working” under Kiffin. One of the first guys in the building early in the AM. OF course his mentor Uncle Ray was still living with him then too. Just sayin …

  • jhill

    his development, working out, studying, getting in shape…all on JR..but honestly Cable didn’t do much, if anything to further JR, and STILL don’t understand why Javon wasn’t in, and why Bey stayed in as long as he had.

    ——————————————————-

    That about sums it up.

    Good discussion folks. Catch y’all tmw.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Jhill,

    You have seen my list.

    Suh, McCoy, Okung, Davis, Williams, McClain , Haden, or Campbell.

    Any of those players will make me happy. That’s 8 players and we have the 8th pick! IMHO other than Berry, all other players are a reach at 8!

  • Thec07

    I never give BRL a break but i will say this, emotionally not sure what uncle ray meant to him.
    He may have lost complete interest in everything…
    We all know how tough itr is to lose someone, and the recovery process takes time. So good point…

  • http://www.raiderfans.net Richochet

    You’re right, I did state both were bad picks.
    As it turned out, the last 3 draft choices TURNED OUT to be back picks..but of the three JR was one I thought was the right one…at least at the time.

    Maybe the pressing question is…how would JR have turned out, at this point, IF HE HAD A HEAD COACH that kicked ass?
    That made him step up?
    Who held him accountable?
    Who DEMANDED he be early, and stay until the HC was comfortable with where he was, and how he was doing?

    Instead of everyone walking on eggshells, and just “hoping” he step it up, and mature, and do what he’s supposed to?

    Some people do better when someone’s kicking them in the ass, and demanding better (Vernon Davis is a good example)

  • DKnight007

    # SteveAlford21 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    RE: Anyone who says to take Dez or ANY players other than an OT in the 1st round…

    Emmitt Smith. Troy Aikman.

    Smith is far from the greatest RB in NFL history. His stats are due to the Line behind which he played. Aikman didn’t “get old” and start getting concussions: his linemen started getting old and retiring/being traded/becoming FAs… letting Aikman get hit a lot more. Behind an average line, Aikman is an average QB and Smith is a pedestrian back. We don’t need “playmakers” as some of you keep saying… we need dominant players on the line who will make the rest of our offense look like superstars (some might already be, if given enough time for a play to develop).

    Using our 1st pick on anything other than OT doesn’t leave us with several more picks to use on the line… not the way you guys think. What we do with that 1st pick affects every pick thereafter. I’d rather have top OL prospects and miss out on Dez than get Dez and have lower-tier line prospects. We don’t have the luxury of taking a “playmaker” when we have a horrid line… not when there are four top-15 OTs… and then a huge talent dropoff after that, meaning that we won’t get an elite lineman if we pick anything else… we’ll be taking second-shelf whiskey and trying to make it Middletons. If you disagree, you don’t understand football. Games are won and lost in the trenches.

    ^^^^^^^^^
    I agree….to a certain extent….remember most of those Super Bowl Cowboy O-Linemen were NOT drafted within the top 10 picks.

    I think the highest O-Linemen they took was Eric Williams and I think he was a Round 2 selection.

  • DKnight007

    # Raider O Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Jhill,

    You have seen my list.

    Suh, McCoy, Okung, Davis, Williams, McClain , Haden, or Campbell.

    Any of those players will make me happy. That’s 8 players and we have the 8th pick! IMHO other than Berry, all other players are a reach at 8!

    ^^^^^^^^
    Rather have Dez Bryant ahead of Haden and Berry…..easily.

  • Thec07

    The NFL and college football is diffrent from the cowboy era. Ccollege players from the major conf are NFL ready… USC could give the raiders a run for their money….

  • Thec07

    Rather have a good O line….

  • http://atm Raider O

    My top 10 players:

    1- Suh
    2- McCoy I don’t care that’s he is not 6’1, and over 300 pounds. The kid can play.
    3- Berry
    4- Okung
    5- Haden
    6- McClain
    7- Davis
    8- Williams
    9- Campbell
    10- SPOON. I really this kid!!

  • Thec07

    Williams is pro ready would take him before a WR…
    Williams at 1 T, and Hendeson at T. Move up and get pouncey at C, draft a G in the 3rd..

  • DKnight007

    # priesttj Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I know if you listen to Vegas and some others Russell would be cut. This is going to be a very interesting offseason. I have a gut feeling this is going to be our best offseason in years and make a difference in next year. If we can stay healthy at the right spots I think we will be very competitive. But we haven’t signed or drafted a single player so far so we’ll see.

    ^^^^^^^^^
    Oh oh….don’t start….not again like the past 5 years.

  • Thec07

    LT Hendeson/Williams
    LG Gallery
    C Pouncey
    RG – Barnes, or rookie 3rd
    RT Williams Henderson

  • DKnight007

    # Thec07 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Williams is pro ready would take him before a WR…
    Williams at 1 T, and Hendeson at T. Move up and get pouncey at C, draft a G in the 3rd..

    ^^^^^^^^^^
    Haden and Berry should be low on the teams top ten draft board for two reasons….they don’t to take a CB or S that high….

  • DKnight007

    # Thec07 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Rather have a good O line….

    ^^^^^^^^^
    Rather have a great QB overall…..

  • Thec07

    agreed…

  • Thec07

    I wouldnt draft a qb unless we can get pike or lefevour
    late….

  • Thec07

    I would trade for troy smith, or j campbell….
    actaully smith would be a good pickup as he has a relationship with Hue Jackson…

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dez B has one good year of production. I like the kid, I know he can catch, but he is not a top talent IMHO. (not this draft, and not over the players who are better athletes and have more production.

  • Thec07

    Actually If we had of drafted correctly the last 2 season, we could have taken Dez B… I like him better than crabtree, would much rather see us go all out oline…

  • Thec07

    I like the troy smith hue jack connect….

  • http://atm Raider O

    1- OT: T Williams
    2- DT: L Houston
    2- ILB: B Spikes (trade a 3rd & 5th)

  • DKnight007

    # Thec07 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I wouldnt draft a qb unless we can get pike or lefevour
    late….

    ^^^^^^^^^
    Clausen is going to be good. I would rather have Clausen ahead of Juggs Russell any day of the freakin week!

    Lefevour would be a good 3rd round pick.

  • http://atm Raider O

    We need to stop the RUN!!!

  • Thec07

    We need to score points, keep our D off the field….

  • DKnight007

    # Raider O Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Dez B has one good year of production. I like the kid, I know he can catch, but he is not a top talent IMHO. (not this draft, and not over the players who are better athletes and have more production.

    ^^^^^^^^^
    Nah….I think we can assume Dez would have two great productive years if he would have played the whole season this past year and not been suspended over some stupid NCAA rule.

  • Thec07

    What was our time of possesion….
    Our D was on the dield becuase Cable/BRL ineptitude.

  • Thec07

    Dez B is hard…. But we need T,G,C….

  • Thec07

    How many 3 and outs did we avg a game?

  • DKnight007

    It would be great to see the Raiders fill their needs through free agency but not overpay….and concentrate on getting productive talented beasts playmaking beasts thru the draft…..but most free agents don’t wanna come here….unless they get overpaid. Ugh…

  • Thec07

    8th pick

    okung, davis, williams….

  • Thec07

    Which means that they are only about the money and not trying to help build the franchise…

  • DKnight007

    Thec07 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    8th pick

    okung, davis, williams…

    ^^^^^^^^^
    Okung won’t be there unfortunately….so lets hope it’s Davis or Williams.

    I like Davis…his style of play reminds me Michael Ohers style. He can do it all basically….with POWER and he can move.

  • Seymour Bush

    # Thec07 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 10:55 pm
    We need to score points, keep our D off the field….
    ======================================================

    Uh, yeah. You just figuring this out?

  • DKnight007

    # Thec07 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Which means that they are only about the money and not trying to help build the franchise…

    ^^^^^^^^^^
    Yep….

  • DKnight007

    Dez B is gonna be another Boldin and A Johnson type……he is a beast, who CAN catch the ball and run routes and he will run a 4.4 at his pro day…..and if he is there at #8….the Raiders will pass on him because of DHB…..sheesh….

  • Thec07

    Yep just figuring it out, I am a little slow, just like Mr. Davis….

  • http://atm Raider O

    I think we are much closer to having a good unit on Defense than we are on offense. Once we fix the Defense then it can help carry thecOffense till it develops.

    1- OT T Williams
    2- DT L Houston
    2- ILB B Spikes

    We can go heavy on OL after that..

  • DKnight007

    # Raiders4eve Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Jhill

    Bro, stop your infatuation about TK, you never played DT in your life, you can watch the tape but do you really understand what is the problem with TK? Do you really think he is good based on stats? Come on bro, you a wise guy when it comes to many things, but on this topic you are way off. I hope you take this criticism lightly. Now, I want critic you without backing up what I am saying.

    Here is a quote from Sapp on why Kelly sucks

    “As for Tommy Kelly, he never played (tackle), he was at end. Then he had a knee injury, and I never had the chance to teach him the intricate parts of the three-technique. (He is) a 6-6, 330-pound country kid from Mississippi who is strong as all outdoors. Can he play the position? Yes. But there are certain things about (defensive tackle) … “If you (stand) too high, he’s going to get knocked around, and at 6-6, low man wins in the trenches, and once you get knocked around, you get a little apprehensive.”

    ^^^^^^^^^
    All about power, technique and leverage.

    Thats why I rate RDE Brandon Graham ahead of Pierre-Paul, and Derrick Morgan at the DE position.

    Graham is a beast who uses his power, technique and speed, along with his low center of gravity to his advantage. Graham also has room to add 10 pounds of muscle.

  • RaiderDebo

    Thec07 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 10:57 pm
    What was our time of possesion….
    Our D was on the dield becuase Cable/BRL ineptitude.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Dude, won’t argue about the ineptitude of our offense. But let’s call the defense what it is. We suck period! When we’re on the field a short time, we give up big plays. Or we can’t get off the field because we get gashed in the running game. If the O turns it over, it’s a TD. There should’nt be any illusions about the D. We suck.

  • DKnight007

    # Raider O Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    I think we are much closer to having a good unit on Defense than we are on offense. Once we fix the Defense then it can help carry thecOffense till it develops.

    1- OT T Williams
    2- DT L Houston
    2- ILB B Spikes

    We can go heavy on OL after that..

    ^^^^^^^^^
    I would be happy with this draft…but I think Spikes will not be there in Round 3. How about this one below….

    1. OT Williams or OT Davis
    2. DT Houston
    3. MLB M Johnson or DE Corey Wootton
    3. OG J Jerry
    3.

  • Seymour Bush

    # Thec07 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Yep just figuring it out, I am a little slow, just like Mr. Davis….
    ================================================

    Thec07, with all due respects, Al Davis is probably worth $700MM, has three rings, and at your age, not only was he a revered football coach, but he was Commissioner of a Fledgling League that ended up being worth billions and billions of dollars. What have you ever done? No, seriously, what have you done?

  • Thec07

    Seems like i touched a nerve, what are you related to Mr. Davis…. No let me duess yo get paid somehow by the franchise…that explains it…lol

  • Thec07

    Makes sense to me. If Mr. davis was paying me in some way shape or form i would defend also…lol

  • Thec07

    this is a good OLine draft, hope we take advatage…