Part of the Bay Area News Group

Raiders break with tradition in a good way

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 8:25 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Time will tell whether the selections during the first two days of the NFL draft will help pull the Raiders out of a seven-year tailspin, but the philosophy for the selections of Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain, Texas defensive end Lamarr Houston and Hillsdale offensive tackle Jared Veldheer were accomplished with a different mindset.

“As I said last week during the predraft press conference and again last night, it was important for us to make this team better and put some real need-fitters in this program rather than just numbers guys, if you will,” coach Tom Cable said.

Remember Bruce Campbell, the inconsistent Maryland tackle Al Davis supposedly couldn’t pass up after he blew everybody away at the combine?

He’s still available. The Raiders instead went with Veldheer, an impressive athlete in his own right who was dominant at the Division II level if not quite as perfect physically.

And for those of you who think Davis may have taken a step back from the process _ hence the philosophical shift _ guess again.

When Veldheer visited Oakland about a week and a half ago, he got a 20-minute sit-down with the boss.

“It was great to meet Mr. Davis, being able to meet with the guy who put the league where it is today was a very special thing,” Veldheer told Bay Area reporters by conference call. “He said that he had watched my tape and liked the way I played, discussed with me how he wanted to win another Super Bowl and I know I’m definitely on board with that.”

Because of Veldheer’s small college roots, he was investigated in some ways more thoroughly than McClain and Houston, both of whom were surprised to be drafted by Oakland because of limited contact. Oakland was able to investigate the two run-stoppers through the combine and their own contacts in the business.

“I talked to ‘em at the combine and that was the end of that,” Houston said. “It never crossed my mind that I’d be a Raider.”

While Cable said the Raiders have been even more secretive than usual during the process, they did pretty much what the coach said they would do at a pre-draft press conference _ do something to fortify the offensive and defensive lines and look for players who wanted to come to work and contribute immediately.

“We don’t need knuckleheads, we need champions,” Cable said.

Houston, at 6-foot-2, 305 pounds, will be played at end, and not tackle.

“He’ll play defensive end in our scheme and I suspect the transition will be easy for him,” Cable said. “He played it the first half of his college career. It gives you a guy that gives you the right qualities, in terms of, the football player, the power, the speed, all those things. Very productive. Comes out of a program that’s used to winning, understands how to do that.

“He fits a need for us in the defensive front.”

If Houston is playing end, doesn’t that make the Raiders still in need of defensive tackles? Cable said Friday they were still a 4-3 team, but it’s clear there will be some interesting changes in scheme.

“You’ll see the plan when we get there,” Cable said. “It’s good. You’ll like it. You will like it. We have some things we’re putting together to get it all sorted out. But you’ll see it in minicamp.”

Cable said Houston would play end “because we’re trying to get a little more physical on the defensive front. I think that’s obvious with the first two picks. You’ll see some people moved around a little bit, and it gives us a chance to line (Houston) up at a left end and go wrestle with a tight end all day, and that’s a good thing. I think he’s going to win a lot of those battles.”

Cable said the Raiders had their sights set on Houston, moved back twice to get extra picks Saturday, and still were able to select him. At Texas, Houston was one of the leaders on a defense that led the nation in rushing defense in 2009 (72.36 yards per game) after finishing third in 2008 (83.54) and sixth in 2007 (93.38).

As for Veldheer, Cable doesn’t see a protracted developmental period and said there was no set plan on whether he’d play right tor left tackle.

For the record, Cable said there was no thought to drafting Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen.

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  • 30 year raider

    100. aig Says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    does anyone know if Dan LeFevour visited the Raiders?
    ###################################

    no he did not
    only kafka and canfield

  • RaiderMario420

    Guys I think we might have our eyes on on the final day:
    LeFevour, Dan QB Central Michigan
    Kafka, Mike QB Northwestern
    Blount, LeGarrette RB Oregon
    Mitchell, Carlton WR South Florida
    Campbell, Bruce OT Maryland
    Carter, Brandon OG Texas Tech
    Thomas, Cam DT North Carolina
    Owusu-Ansah, Akwasi CB Indiana (PA)
    Rolle, Myron SS Florida State (sorry, love this guy)

  • http://www.raiders.com MattHenry

    I can’t wait until Tebow gets to The Black Hole…and McClain owns his azz all over again.

  • aig

    Then I dont think we are taking him. I have learned that for the mid rounds Al has a tendency to take guys that visited the Raiders HQ.

  • 30 year raider

    # MattHenry Says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I can’t wait until Tebow gets to The Black Hole…and McClain owns his azz all over again.
    ##########################

    RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kirk
  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    I am very pleased with the draft. The Raiders will still need to get a DT, unless they plan to kick Seymour inside.

    Whether its Cam Thomas or some guy at the end of the draft/UFA

    Moving Seymour inside makes the most sense

  • YoungAmerican

    As far as I’m concerned Cam Thomas is a beast of a player who, if he’s available when the Raiders pick, is way too talented to pass up.

  • 30 year raider

    # SnB offense defense specialteams Says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I am very pleased with the draft. The Raiders will still need to get a DT, unless they plan to kick Seymour inside.

    Whether its Cam Thomas or some guy at the end of the draft/UFA

    Moving Seymour inside makes the most sense
    ###############################################

    YES we def need another dt me personally i would like us to go after jeff owens dt u of georgia very strong 44 reps at 225lbs…

  • 30 year raider

    # YoungAmerican Says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    As far as I’m concerned Cam Thomas is a beast of a player who, if he’s available when the Raiders pick, is way too talented to pass up.
    #######################################

    i would not be upset with him in 4th rd but i think at some point we need to address the return game with some sort of a game changer ala jacoby ford…

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    30 Year,

    Yeah, I have to admit I am a little confused. Moving Houston to DE would either mean Seymour inside or Shaughnessy in a different role.

    Regardless, neither Bryant or Joseph are really starters inside. So something has to be done and I think they realize that based on what happened last year.

  • DirtyRaccoon

    Good evenin SNB, Kirk, COW, C n NY, MR, NATION!

  • 30 year raider

    some stats on jared veldheer

    4.82 in the 40-yard dash…1.75 10-yard dash…2.84 20-yard dash…4.52 20-yard shuttle…7.56 three-cone drill…29 ¾-inch vertical jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 32 times…415-pound bench press…425-pound hang clean.

  • PassTheCheetos

    I heard there were quite a few Raiders scouts checking lefevour out at a arizona central michigan game early last season.

  • PassTheCheetos

    30 Year Raider Says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 10:23 pm
    # MattHenry Says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I can’t wait until Tebow gets to The Black Hole…and McClain owns his azz all over again.
    ##########################

    RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ——————————
    Just imagine 4th and inches tebow running the wild donkey up the middle and getting laid out by RoMac.

  • stabler

    I don’t get Cable saying Houston is going to be a DE…And I believe Seymour stays at DE too. So our first pick tomorrow will be a DT, IMO.

  • stabler

    We have too many needs to address them all in one draft, we’re still another year away from being a legit playoff contender (and QB situation needs to be figured out.) But I am pumped, feels like we’re figuring out what to do, esp. on defense.

  • Guy

    I think Cam Thomas and Al Woods from LSU are the only notable Nose tackles left. What teams before us need a big NT?

  • 2romes

    As long as Mr. Davis brings the Raiders the goods to consolidate a efficient & resilient collective,he will prove unconventional wisdom will keep the Raiders in the ball game.
    Raiders Be With You

  • stabler

    “to consolidate a efficient & resilient collective”

    Nope, somebody slipped sleeping pills into Al’s jello and took over the draft.

  • stabler

    Cam Thomas sounds good, or a guard.

  • stabler

    RaiderMario – yeah, no one mentions Rolle, that guy was a stud 2 years ago.

  • 30 year raider

    # Guy Says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    I think Cam Thomas and Al Woods from LSU are the only notable Nose tackles left. What teams before us need a big NT?
    #######################

    jeff owens,arthur jones,gino atkins……….i really like owens watched some georgia games this guy is tough… i hope we get him strongest guy in the draft.. did 225lbs 44 times incredible strengh..

  • Random Drug Tester

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 6:18 pm
    Raider75, find the comment where I say that McClain “can’t” do anything, and I’ll answer that question.
    —————————————–

    Shut up twerp

  • 30 year raider

    c you in the morning, more picks tomm i want
    dtx2
    kr/pr
    fb
    og/c x2
    qb

  • Random Drug Tester

    Real ModdinRaider….no one really cares about your opinions.

    Get lost. Period, Don’t bother responding, Word, Book it, PERIOD.

  • Seymour Bush

    # Mistabr0wn Says:
    April 23rd, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    DeboSeyGlen, you even get being first wrong!

    lmao
    ===========================================

    lmao? Dude, you have officially lost your mind. Whatever very little mind God gave you, has OFFICIALLY been used up. Sucks to be you dude.

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