By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, April 29th, 2011 at 9:11 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Hue Jackson was so excited he thought it was December.
“This is like Christmas today,” Jackson said after the Raiders had added cornerback Miami corner DeMarcus Van Dyke and tackle Joseph Barksdale with the Nos. 81 and 92 picks in Friday’s third round of the NFL draft. Although not initially announced, the deal also includes the first of Oakland’s two seventh-round picks, with No. 219 going to New England.
The day started with the selection of Penn State center Stefen Wisniewski at No. 48.
Many of the questions had to do with Van Dyke, who would in some quarters be classified as a Raider reach because he had a blazing 4.26 40-yard dash time at the combine but drew some criticism from analysts for production.
“As I told you guys before, we don’t run from speed, we run to speed, especially guys that can play, and they show the characteristics that we’re looking for in our corners,” Jackson said.
Concerns over Van Dyke losing his starting job
“Here’s the thing, and that’s the fun part about this, if you check a lot of these guys, some of these guys have lost their jobs. When you evaluate a player, you evaluate everything. And as we do, just as you do, we do our homework. We go through it all. Obviously, he did lose his job at some point.
“He also was a starter and played some tremendous football. Sometimes things happen for different reasons. We found those reasons out, so we’re very, very comfortable about what happened there at the University of Miami . And we feel very fortunate that this young man is on our football team.”
Criticisms of Van Dyke’s play at Miami:
“I don’t feel that way, because when we watched the tape, it goes back to, again, we’re picking players based on what we see. If I was picking players based on what everybody else sees I’d be in trouble. So our organization is doing our homework, and every organization is not going to see the player the same.
“And that’s OK. We feel very comfortable in our evaluation and how we go about evaluating our players. What we see is a young man who’s tall. He’s over 6-foot. He’s 180 pounds. Has long arms. Who’s athletic.
“Who’s the fastest guy in the combine, who can cover. He’s hard to get away from. You’re not going to outrun him, and he’s going to be coached by one of the best defensive back coaches in football. In my opinion, we’re going to take a player, we’re going to polish him up, and he’s going to play, and he’s going to play well.
Van Dyke’s ability to hold up as a 180-pound corner
“Those are good questions that you should have because again, he’s not the 220-pound guy. But here’s the deal. He’s willing. The guy’s willing to stick his face in there. He’s a willing tackler. He’s not afraid. The game’s not too big for him. He’s not afraid of contact or anything like that when you watch the tape.’’
Where Barksdale will play, as well as second-year man Bruce Campbell
“You know, that’s the fun part right now. We have pieces now to work with and to move and put along over there on that right side, or left side, wherever we decide to play them. As you know, we had to get some bodies, and now we have some bodies, some big bodies, some athletic bodies, to kind of pull from and work with. Our goal is to make sure we put the best five guys out there, let guys compete, and we’ll do that. I feel very fortunate that he’s going to find a home somewhere on this football.’’
Note: Jackson later said Campbell would begin at guard because it’s where he played last year, and Barksdale would be on the right side, either at guard or tackle. He said both could change.
On Barksdale’s attributes
“To pick up another big body who’s athletic, tough, tenacious and who loves to play the game and, again, take another piece and put in the offensive line, it’s like Christmas for me today.’’
On the stay which essentially re-instituted the lockout after the doors had temporarily opened to players
“You can’t call ‘em again, can’t talk to ‘em. Same rules. . I’m not going to kid you. This was a shocker. This was difficult. But again. That’s part of it. As I told you, change is the norm. I told you that yesterday. Here comes another change. Saddle back up and get ready for the next change. Who knows? By Monday, they may say, come on back up and get in the building. I mean, you just kind of go with it, and again, as the leader of this team and the leader of our staff and these players, we’re not going blink.’’
Note: Jackson estimated between five and seven players made it in until learning of the stay.
The interaction with players before the stay
“They were excited. I mean, there was a lot of hugs, lot of high-fives, a lot of excitement about what we’re trying to accomplish because I know our players know what I’m excited about. I came in a little late today because I had a little fender bender. Somebody popped me in the back. So it took me a little time to get here. Gotta get my car fixed, but that’s part of it too, you know.’’
Telling the media it the draft didn’t go well if that was indeed the case
“I would. Why not? Why would I not. One thing you guys are going to find out about me. I kind of call it like I see it. I’m not afraid to tell you the truth. That’s just part of this deal. Sometimes, guys, everything ain’t going to go right. And that’s just the bottom line. It ain’t going to happen the way we want it too all the time. A game is not going to go the way we want it too all the time, and when it doesn’t, I’m going to tell you. But here’s the bottom line _ it’s going that way right now. It’s going the Raiders way right now, and that’s a good thing, and I’m very, very excited about that.’’