My Oakland Raiders Draft Prospects: Round 5

OK so we don’t have a 1st round pick this year. Or a 2nd round pick. Or a 3rd or 4th. No 7th either? WTF? So what? Lots of great players come out of the 5th, and 6th rounds. In all seriousness, we will probably be getting 3 compensatory picks, with one of those falling in the 3rd or 4th round. These prospects I’ve put together don’t really take that pick into account as it’s pure speculation at this point. I’m basing this off of a 5th round start.

With the 145th pick in the 2012 draft, the Oakland Raiders take DT Josh Chapman.

Chapman is the only true Nose Tackle that will still be on the board at this point and it would make sense for us to grab him. He’s just had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). According to The Sports Exchange and found at cbssports.com:

“Chapman sustained his injury in a game against Florida on Oct. 1. A few days later, an MRI revealed he had torn the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee. “Dr. (Lyle) Cain said he’s never seen a guy that can have a torn ACL and still stay that stable,” Chapman told the Birmingham News. Chapman decided to delay surgery and finish out the season. He missed one game, but played in the eight others that followed the injury. Chapman played a total of 12 games this past season, sitting out Alabama’s 45-21 win over Georgia Southern on Nov. 19. Georgia Southern rolled up 302 rushing yards against the Crimson Tide. Chapman finished the season with 23 tackles, one sack and two pass breakups.”

It’s a bit of a gamble with a torn ACL like that, but our backs are to the wall right now. Plus, he played almost the entire season through the pain of a torn ACL. That’s pure grit. It’s worth a shot. He’s a powerful, pure nose tackle and a vicious run stuffer. Exactly what we need if we’re gonna even think about a 3-4. The other possible scenario here is to wait and hopefully due to the injury no one else will want to touch him. This way we have a shot at nabbing him as an undrafted FA. In which case I would say we take OLB Kyle Wilbur. Wilbur started out as a DE and made a switch to OLB when Wake Forest switched to a 3-4 scheme. He’s a strong side back and good at stopping the run as well. Unfortunately the Browns seem to be courting him right now. Could take Wimbley’s place should we cut/trade him to make room in the budget. Come to think of it…. Wimbley may have decent trade value in him.

Yet another possibility, as it seems several teams are eyeballing this kid even with the injury, is we use our compensatory pick in the 3rd or 4th round (whichever we end up with) to secure him early. This will have to be an impulse decision based on the climate surrounding him on draft day.

Stay tuned for my Round 6 prediction.

Neil Underwood

Defense Confirmed As New Focus For Raiders

According to the guys over at TFDS.com, Dennis Allen has confirmed that the Raiders will be focusing on defensive positions throughout the draft and free agency. This is what they had to say:

“He also confirmed something we had talked here on TFDS – that the Raiders will be looking toward defense in the draft and free agency – specifically, the question was about the Raiders looking at LBs and DTs – two positions on our top 5 needs for the team. Allen said, “I think obviously, defensively that is going to be a priority for us. I think I was really pleased with what the Raiders were able to do last year offensively. I know from having to defend against them, they were a real challenge to defend. Defensively, if you look at the defensive rankings, not too different than what the situation I came into last year with Denver. So it’s obviously a high priority for us and we’ve got to get better in that area.”

Read the entire post here: Allen Speaks at Combine

I suggest reading the entire post, as it has some interesting points, especially regarding Kamerion Wimbley and Michael Huff’s future with the Raiders.

If you follow the link in the quote above you’ll find Asher Matthews has this to say regarding the team’s needs at DT:

“Defensive tackle is the next biggest area of need. Yes, the Raiders chose to keep Richard Seymour for the season, guaranteeing his $15 million contract for the year. But he isn’t expected to stay around past this season and the Raiders need a replacement. Plus, he’s a streaky player and he’s only getting older – he’s not able to play at a high level for sustained drives. Tommy Kelly’s performance has not been anywhere close to his contract and he’s a one man penalty machine. If Allen is serious about cutting down penalties, he’s got to be able to bench Kelly if he continues to jump offsides. John Henderson is going to be cut. Desmond Byant is a bright spot as a backup but he’s probably better as a defensive end, not a tackle. Earlier this offseason, the Raiders signed a reserve/futures contract with Travis Ivey who is a true Nose Tackle. He’s 6-4, 325 so he has the right size for a NT but it’s anyone’s guess if he has the ability. I expect the Raiders to address DT needs in both free agency and the draft, as well.”

Well that pretty much confirms my thoughts as to whether or not Allen is considering a 3-4 scheme. Read the entire post here: Looking at the Raiders’ top 5 positions of need

Stay tuned!

Neil Underwood

State of the Black Hole Address Part 2


Now that I have your undivided attention:

So I left you hanging on the last post regarding a 3-4 defense. Well, all signs point to 3-4 so far with the way the restructuring of this organization is going. Let’s take a look at the key factors playing a role in this prediction:

  1. Head Coach Dennis Allen:
    This guy has coached both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. Ultimately I think he’s going to do what he thinks will fit the team best and give us the greatest chance of success. Either way he’s comfortable with a 3-4.
  2. Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver:

    What I’ve read about this guy makes me feel confident. According to the SFGate Chronicle:
    “Here’s all you need to know about his skills as a coach: He was hired by Mariucci, then retained by Dennis Erickson, Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary. Counting Jim Tomsula, who coached the 2010 finale after Singletary was fired, he worked for five head coaches in one organization.

    Jim Harbaugh would have kept him, too, but David Shaw offered him a key position at Stanford.”

    Read the entire articel here: SFGate Chronicle

  3. Linebackers Coach Johnny Holland:

    Don’t know a whole lot about this guy other than his bio at: raiders.com

    Anyone has info and wants to share do it in the comments.

  4. Defensive Line Coach Terrell Williams:

    According to raiders.com: “In two years at Texas A&M, the Aggies advanced to a pair of bowl games including a win over Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas last year. In 2010, Williams helped lead the Aggies to a share of their first Big 12 South division crown in more than a decade and a berth in the Cotton Bowl. Texas A&M allowed just 101. 9 rushing yards per game last year, ranking 12th in the nation. In his first season, A&M improved from 90th to 30th nationally in rushing defense, allowing 130.2 yards per contest.”

    Read the entire bio at: raiders.com

    Texas A&M definitely ran a 3-4 the past two seasons. I’m not certain what Purdue was running back in ’06, but if I had to guess….

Basically everyone involved with the linemen and linebackers now comes from a 3-4 background. I love the idea of running a 3-4. But just exactly how would we do it with the current personnel? Who do we have to start at nose tackle in a 3-4?

Not Seymour. That man moved from defensive end to tackle and has thrived, yes, but he is no nose tackle. He would get slaughtered.

John Henderson is well suited but is not an every down player. That’s it. We would have to draft one or hit the free agency and I really don’t see that happening.

We have nothing left to trade other than Michael Bush, yeah, I said it. And you might just end up seeing that happen. I think giving up Bush for a solid nose tackle would be a great deal. Either that or a second round pick. That’s the only way I see a 3-4 scheme being even a remote reality. Let’s face it, Michael Bush is handy to have in the back pocket, but we don’t need him AND McFadden, and RunDMC isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sorry Bush, time to let go.

Of course this all purely speculation at this point. I’m very curious to see what kinds of moves we make in the draft. We’re without a pick until the 5th round this year thanks to some questionable trades **cough** Terrell Pryor **cough**, including the infamous “Best Trade In the History of Football” for Carson Palmer.

Either way, it seems to me there is going to be a huge emphasis on stopping the run. I really hope so because our run defense has been shitty for a long time now and I’m sick of it.

What are your thoughts?

State of the Black Hole Address Part 1


Hey there, folks. I’ve been quite busy and, well, how should I say, a little depressed about the way the Raiders finished the season. They just sorta fizzled out like an old bag of Pop-Rocks. Since the lackluster ending to a season that began with so much promise, I’ve just had a bad taste in my mouth for football in general. Fortunately I’ve been staying abreast of all the offseason happenings and I think I’m finally back in a place where I feel like sharing it all with you. So without further ado, here’s the lowdown:

Stanford Routt: GONE.

Thank God that happened. When I initially caught the news last year that we had signed him to a 3 year, $31.5 million contract I almost killed my children. What has that man ever done to deserve a contract like that? NOTHING. Which is exactly why his pass-interference prone ass just got traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. That man didn’t have a whole lot of penalties, but the ones he did have were so key I found myself wishing I was Marcellus Wallace in that infamous scene from Pulp Fiction. You know the one. It just seemed like a more comfortable place to be at the time. Now although I’m glad that this transpired, it does leave us in a bit of a precarious situation at the cornerback position. With Routt gone, that leaves us with Lito Sheppard, DeMarcus Van Dyke, and Chimdi Chekwa. Van Dyke showed us some real promise during the 2011 season. If he can stay healthy this year I think we’ll see him do some amazing things. Chekwa still has yet to prove himself. He shows promise but he needs a vet to show him the ropes, and Lito Sheppard is not that guy. Sheppard had some good moments last season but overall pretty much stunk. He was a good stop-gap, but don’t expect him back for 2012. Ol’ Reg’ and Dennis better get hot in the Free Agency on at least one CB.

Coaching Staff: This one is interesting. Just about everyone on the defensive side of the ball has come up from the college circuit. The overall feeling I get from the entire staff on both sides of the ball is one of youth, energy, and excitement. Excitement is exactly what this organization needs. There hasn’t been a reason for Oakland fans to get excited for quite some time, and the current changing of the guard brings fresh, eager young minds, hopefully ready to kick some ass. Check out the latest on the staff at my favorite Raiders blog: Thoughts From the Dark Side

Hue Jackson:

Maybe if Hue hadn’t been so concerned with the state of his fucking toenails then he could have focused the team a little better. Oh, and how’s that for karma? He makes “The greatest trade in all of football” and pisses away the next few seasons for us, then gets hired by the team he helped out by making the trade! According to the laws of karma something unfortunate is going to happen to that man…. wait, it already has. He’s been hired as a special teams ASSISTANT! HAHA. There’s a new bitch boy in Cincinnati, and his name is Hue. Maybe instead of a pedi he should go for the Brazilian wax. It just might help him get ahead over there.

State of the Black Hole Address Part 2 teaser: Do I smell a 3-4?
To be continued…