Raiders’ rookie midterms


Assessing how Raiders rookie draft picks have fared at the bye week:

(Keep in mind the higher the pick, the more that is expected and the tougher the grade)

1/8_Rolando McClain . . . B

McClain has not been conspicuous in terms of playmaking, with only half a sack, no interceptions, a few passes defensed and no forced fumbles or fumble recoveries. He’s been beaten to the outside on some pass routes by quicker running backs.

Oakland is ranked 26th against the run, but has played very well of late, giving up 75.3 yards per game on the ground in their three-game win streak. While McClain hasn’t been stuffing ballcarriers like Ray Lewis or Patrick Willis, the fact is he’s the defensive signal caller for one of the NFL’s most improved units and coach Tom Cable is of the belief that opposing linemen are not finishing blocks on the likes of Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour so they can find McClain at the second level.

2/44_Lamarr Houston . . . B-minus

Almost everyone loved the pick of Houston because of his production at Texas, but most thought of him as a classic three-technique tackle, a disruptive interior player with a high motor. Cable said from Day 1 Houston would play left end for the Raiders because he saw a player who could do a lot of damage lining up over a tight end. There were were times early in the season when Houston, who played end early in his career at Texas, did indeed look out of place.

Lately, however, Houston has played quite well. He’s holding the edge, making some plays, pressuring the quarterback. And his energy and intensity have been evident since his first day in training camp. If the Raiders are scuffling on the practice field, chances are Houston is in the middle of it, and for the most part, it’s been a good thing.

5/69_Jared Veldheer . . . B-plus

The beginning was strange when Cable suddenly made Veldheer the starting center before the opener, with the rookie from Division II Hillsdale predictably struggling. It seemed even more weird when Veldheer was then shifted back to tackle, with Samson Satele resuming his job at center. Why would they give Veldheer just one game at center against a very tough Tennessee defense and then give him the hook?

Because Cable saw the Veldheer would be needed at left tackle earlier than expected. The rookie began alternating with struggling incumbent Mario Henderson before replacing him fulltime. He’s been good enough the Raiders may be able to scratch “left tackle” off the list for the 2011 draft. He and Robert Gallery did big damage against Denver. Veldheer had some difficult moments against Chiefs pass rusher Tamba Hali but showed he is a quick study by walling Hali off on the 47-yard Jason Campbell to Jacoby Ford pass that set up the game winning field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.

4/106_Jacoby Ford . . . B

No player in the NFL had a more spectacular game last week than Ford, who had 6 receptions for 148 yards, setting up both the game-tying and game-winning field goals, and igniting a second-half comeback with bolt-of-lightning 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Even in training camp, Ford looked more polished than expected (although he missed some time with a quad injury) in the way that he got both feet in bounds along the sidelines and caught the ball away from his body whenever possible. Has had some drops, but not an alarming number. At this point there have been glimpses of promise and one huge game to build on.

4/108_Bruce Campbell . . . . C-minus

The Maryland combine warrior has struggled with with getting his own prodigious speed up to NFL levels in terms of turning it loose and playing with the quickness and violence necessary along the offensive line.

Instead of moving him to different positions, as Cable usually does with his offensive linemen to enhance their development and expose them to new techniques, Campbell has been at right guard since Day 1, behind starter Cooper Carlisle. Cable said Campbell is coming along, but the better the Raiders play, the more likely it is Campbell will be used sparingly all season with the hope he’ll be ready to push for a job in 2011.

5/138_Walter McFadden . . . Incomplete

McFadden’s play opened a lot of eyes during training camp, as the Auburn product looked as if he would challenge for playing time as a rookie in some packages.

However, McFadden began to have hamstring issues, which carried well into the regular season, and as a result he’s mostly been inactive or on the bench.

6/190_Travis Goethel . . . Incomplete

Goethel spent most of training camp as a backup middle linebacker along with Ricky Brown behind McClain, and his willingness to mix it up and play hard endeared himself to the coaching staff.

When the Raiders left Napa for Alameda, Goethel was quietly moved to the weakside and was even challenging for a starting job as the club decided to move Trevor Scott back to defensive end. However, Goethel’s back began to act up and he underwent a “discectomy,” a procedure in which involved the shaving of a disc in his lower back in a procedure similar to an arthroscope. It cost him the first eight games of the season.

7/215_Jeremy Ware . . . B-minus

Gets a grade bump for an end zone interception which halted a Chiefs drive at the end of the first half and kept the score at 10-0. Ware plays a very aggressive style of corner which can get him in trouble, but he doesn’t back down and after an ankle injury to Nnamdi Asomugha, the Michigan State product became the Raiders’ nickel back.

7/251_Stevie Brown . . . C-plus

Seemed to have made the final cut, only to find out later in the day he didn’t after he’d already spoken to the media. Brown opened the season on the practice squad but signed to the active roster on Sept. 19, dropped to the practice squad again, and then promoted again Sept. 23.

Brown showed a knack during training camp and preseason of being around the ball and with Michael Huff having void year in his contract, could find himself competing to be the starting free safety next year. He’s done some solid work on special teams, although he lost a touchdown on a fumble return against Seattle which Cable said the NFL confirmed was a mistake.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Hey Jerry, kinda slow in here.

  • LA to TheBay

    The 32 NFL teams have officially been renamed:

    Buffalo Torontos
    Miami New Yorkers
    New England Chowderheads
    New York New Jerseyans
    Baltimore Murderers
    Cincinnati At Least We’re Not Clevelands
    Cleveland At Least We’re Not Detroits
    Pittsburgh Lunch Pales
    Houston Cowboys
    Indianapolis Chapter of the KKKs
    Jacksonville Toothless Rednecks
    Tennessee Bumpkins
    Denver Snowjobs
    Kansas City Rednecks*
    Oakland Criminals
    San Diego STDs
    Dallas Queerboys
    New York Giant Guts
    Philadelphia A$$holes
    Washington Crackheads
    Chicago Pollocks
    Detroit Unemployed
    Green Bay Cheesedicks
    Minnesota Dontchyaknows
    Atlanta Gold Teeth
    Carolina Rednecks*
    New Orleans Levies
    Tampa Bay Golf Repub1icans
    Arizona Mex;can-Haters
    St. Louis Drunks
    San Francisco Fairies
    Seattle Suicidals

    *When KC and CAR play each other, Carolina will be refeered to as the ‘Redderneckers.’

  • LA to TheBay

    My comment awaiting moderation in…..




  • Jacoby Ford has been named NFL Rookie of the Week for his performance in the game vs the Chiefs.

    What up Dakota? Been a long time bro…

  • LA to TheBay

    referred, not refeered, lol. That would be the Humbolt Munchies (expansion team).

  • I give Darren McFadden an A for just being Awesome…as I said he would be.

    I am adding Jerry to the hater list as suggested by Rockstar.

  • Hey Raiderdogg, it has been a long time. How is life treating you?

  • D

    Things are great, moved to Eugene, Oregon, bought a couple houses and just getting all settled in.

    How are you and your family doing, that kid walking yet?

  • D

    You were right about McFadden btw, as I knew you were.

  • Dogg,

    Oregon huh? Nice.

    Long Worthy Dakota is almost 9 months old and very near to walking. He keeps us busy.

    Since he was conceived the Lakers have won two championships…coincidence? I think not.

  • D

    Sounds like LWD deserves a ring! My Warriors are looking much improved, maybe they can sneak into the playoffs!

    We chose Oregon cuz we were able to buy 2 houses cheaper than 1 house would have been in Cali. It’s country living with a lot of rain right now, but we are digging it! All of a sudden I am an Oregon Ducks fan, they are fun to watch…

  • lmao

    Can’t say that I miss The Beard that much. I laughed out loud when I saw that photo, it has been a while. The Clips are stuck with him now. I heard all of that mess that Coach Dunleavy had to say about him on his way out the door.

    Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis have made it very easy to forget The Beard all together…


    LA ,

    Your on point with those new names…

  • LA to TheBay

    I need a better one for NE, though. it’s not insulting enough.

  • JoeDaRaiders

    I agree with most of these but I think Jared Veldheer should recieve a higher grade. He’s been asked to take over a role that’s one of the hardest in the NFL.

  • 15.LA to TheBay Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 2:57 pm
    I need a better one for NE, though. it’s not insulting enough.


    NE Cheatriots always has a nice ring to it.

  • …and I think you should re-name the Eagles the Philadelphia ConVICKS.

  • Have a nice weekend everyone.

  • Silver-and-black666

    or dog killers

  • LA to TheBay

    It was more about the city than the team.


    How does B-Campbell get a C- that guy hasn’t even played much…


    I like SD DUCHEBAGS … I live down here and there are many of them …

  • Thec07

    November 12th, 2010 at 3:23 pm
    I like SD DUCHEBAGS … I live down here and there are many of them …


    I live down here also, they think that they are going to turn it on as usually…diffrence is the SMARYT teams know how to beat rivers…Thats lots of pressure, make him throw under duress…

    Oh and btw the discharger fans are 90% bandwagoes….

  • LA to TheBay

    I encourage you to make your own lists.

  • Just Fire Baby


    How you doing bro??

    An Oregonian I see. Head down to Florence or Newport yet?



    They are defenitly Bandwagoners. They think they are going to run the tables again this year. Problem is they are the SUper CHokers hence they will always CHOKE. This city has NO Championships for a reason, LOSER sports town ( SEE SD PADRES )

  • Thec07

    November 12th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    They are defenitly Bandwagoners. They think they are going to run the tables again this year. Problem is they are the SUper CHokers hence they will always CHOKE. This city has NO Championships for a reason, LOSER sports town ( SEE SD PADRES )


    hahahaha..Yeah i hate them and the padres….

  • Just Fire Baby

    Just had a good friend move from the Bay to San Diego for his job.

    So far, he hates it.

    I always thought San Diego was a sweet city, but than again I stayed for 3 days at a time and bailed.

    Went to the Raiders-Chargers game in San Diego, on Halloween of 2004 I want to say. We got our heads kicked in by 30+ points I believe.

    I remember they did the whole “Rai-ders suck” chant, and when it died down I gave a half-hearted “Ry-an Leaf” chant (pre-Jamarcus days) and if I wasn’t with a smoking hot Chargers fan, I think I might have gotten rolled.



    I had to move down from San Jose to SD . Still rep Nor-CAL all day . Thought this town was great till I actually had to live here 24/7. LOts of dumb Republicans and bandwagon Chokers fans . There are LOTS of very hot girls down here, so I guess that a positive…

  • hwnrdr

    I used to live down there in 88 and 89…I like it because it reminded me of home at the time…but when I was there, there were way more Raider fans then Charger bands…

  • hwnrdr

    This is too funny…from Cam Inmans crystal ball report in Contra Costa Times…

    Patriots 20, Steelers 17: The Steelers get caught looking ahead to next week’s hosting of the Raiders.

    Broncos 27, Chiefs 21: The Chiefs drop their fourth straight road game and fall into a first-place tie with (wait for it, wait for it) your idle Oakland Raiders.

  • SilverAndBlackBleeder

    I hate bye weekends….wish I could just go to sleep and wake-up next Sunday…..anyhow, just dropped in to pitch my 2 cents……… got my fingers crossed for a wk 12 homecoming debut for Chaz Schilens against the Dolphins…..Cheers to it coming true……

    I know, I know, Chaz who? We sure could use him though…….

    Enjoy the weekend fellas

    1 Nation, A million bleeders, Let’s get it……

  • TerrapinRaider

    Schilens hasn’t played a full season since he’s been here – heck not even half a season (likely). He is already forgotten. Sad but just being real. Smart money is on the organization moving on after this season.

  • hwnrdr

    Well, while we got him, may as well use him until he gets hurt again…sad, but may as well!

  • PurpleDrank81

    If he stays healthy when he comes back they’ll keep him…He;s not getting paid really anything I think he get like half a bottle of gatorade,sunflower seeds and a year supply of Icy/Hot

  • PurpleDrank81

    Ne1 out there?????Im bored and stuck at work

  • I predict the Raiders will make it through this weekend without a loss. 🙂

  • PurpleDrank81

    Haha yea thats for sure… This Denve/KC game is gonna be interesting

  • RaiderFanFromJersey

    Dare I say it…..Go Donkeys????

  • Born with a Patch

    I really like this kid outta Boise, Austin Pettis. I would love to see Chaz get replaced with this kid. I predict next season Chaz will be living with his mom yelling “HEY MA, CAN I GET SOME MEATLOAF?!”

  • Ford is Pepsi Rookie of the Week…

    GO RAIDERS!!!!

  • # Born with a Patch Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I really like this kid outta Boise, Austin Pettis. I would love to see Chaz get replaced with this kid. I predict next season Chaz will be living with his mom yelling “HEY MA, CAN I GET SOME MEATLOAF?!”

    Tired of hearing about Chaz. Dude needs to go away. Raiders need to look for a vet WR to give some wisdom to these young dudes and push Heyward-Bust.

  • When is Plaxico Burress getting out of jail?

  • Born with a Patch

    He got devied his second work release this past offseason. he’s gonnna be there awhile, can’t even re-apply

  • Dirtiest Raccoon

    Jerry, the bye week is for PLAYERS, not writers.

  • Dirtiest Raccoon

    41.RaiderFanFromJersey Says:
    November 12th, 2010 at 8:01 pm
    Dare I say it…..Go Donkeys????


    Yeah, go to HE!! Donkeys!

    0 to 0 overtime tie… Thomas Jones recieves a 6-8 week Hammy injury.

    Truth is Sandy Ego the (team) biggest threat to not making the playoffs.

  • YoungAmerican

    The Raiders aren’t going to pick up a veteran WR this season, sorry guys. Schilens has helped before, and when he’s healthy hopefully he’ll help again. Plus it’s not like he’s some high draft pick pulling in millions or something.

    If he can’t stay healthy he’ll be a camp casualty next season. In the meantime, he’s still the most sure-handed WR on the roster. My only concern is that he hasn’t had much time at all to develop any chemistry with Jason Campbell.

  • Guy

    Raccoon, I’d rather see Charles get injured than Jones. Arian Foster was the only power back that gave the Raiders trouble this year.

  • YoungAmerican

    San Diego’s cakewalk of a schedule is definitely the biggest threat to the Raiders making the playoffs.

    I don’t think the Raiders have all the tools they need right now to go deep into the playoffs, but it would be nice to at least see them stay in the race until the very end.