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“Last Minute Rumors & Draft Scenarios For The Oakland Raiders 2016 NFL Draft”

 

oakland raiders war room

Day 1 of the NFL Draft is Here! Or as we call it guys day in.

Go ahead and have some fun with it because this draft is going to be very interesting. Let’s be real; experts, insiders, fans, ex players and even the teams themselves don’t know what players are going to be chosen.   It’s guesswork for everyone so I’m not curing cancer here. Let’s just use common sense and historic facts and look into the 2016 NFL Draft day 1.

The Trade Impact In the First Round:

First off I’m a huge talent over need guy.  Let’s say for instance you need a safety but the only ones that are there are 2nd or third round talents; I pass.  If you look at the Raiders history they’ve ruined drafts picking for needs.

Even with the rules allowing WR to roam free and the QB to barely be touched, the QB position in the NFL is at it’s worst in NFL history. Passing and Receiving records are falling to average players at best who are benefiting from the new rules. I can see the likes of Dan Marino, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice saying, “give me a bucket!”

Here is a good article by quality ESPN Writer Bill Barnwell on Drafting Qb’s:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/15391775/taking-quarterback-early-round-2-makes-lot-sense-some-teams-nfl

I’m not a big fan of these 2 trades but I understand them.

Let’s look outside the box and stop just regurgitating what the “experts” are saying. Let’s think for ourselves and see what might be the mindset of teams in this years draft.

Raiders Trading Up:

The pre NFL draft is fun. Many sites try to stir the pot with mock drafts and scenarios and NFL combine #’s to keep people interested all year round. It is fun to do but let’s be real; 90% of this stuff never happens.

One of those scenarios is the annual can the Raiders trade up or down in the draft game. In 56 years please give me the list of all of the trades the Raiders have done to move up or down in the draft. Ron Wolf was the architect of many of the Raiders great drafts and he taught Reggie McKenzie all he knew at Green Bay.

Will the Raiders trade up?  No one knows.  But if you look at history it says the Raiders will do nothing and draft #14. When you trade up you are also in the mindset that you are 1 player away from being a top team.  They Raiders still have holes to fill.

The Raiders RB Reality of 2015:

The average fan almost always looks at offense but in reality you can’t win without a good to great defense.   Should the Raiders get a RB?   Yes. In the later rounds. But tell me last year how important the RB’s were in the championship game and in the Super Bowl? The Patriots were literally getting RB’s off the street; and the other 3 teams mostly used backups who didn’t exactly play like Walter Payton. What all 4 teams DID have were the 4 best DL’s in the NFL. New England had more sacks without blitzing than any other team in the NFL. Look at the history of the NFL; for the most part Defensive lines and defenses win championships; not RB’s.

The Raiders struggles last year began when Minnesota played a cover 2 defense and took away the long ball.   The Raiders medium passing game is bad and they never adjusted to other teams that did it as well. That’s not on the RB’s.

San Diego Chargers Pick Will Control the Draft:

Everyone has Ole Miss T Laremy Tunsil as the Chargers pick but let’s hold on.   The Chargers need to win now, and QB Philip Rivers is not getting any younger. The Chargers also paid a lot of money; some guaranteed; for tackles Joe Barksdale and King Dunlap. They also arent’ getting off cheap on their guards either. They could move one of their tackles to guard but now you are spending a ton of money on an OL when the defense is one of the worst in the NFL.

While the Raiders have a history of not trading up or down in the NFL draft, the Chargers have a lot of history. In recent year’s and in the past. (Rivers and Ladanian Tomlinson to name two). Chargers GM Tom Telesco is a wheeler and dealer for sure; for better or worse.

The Miami Dolphins are in big need of a franchise RB and rumors are swirling out of Miami that a trade with the Chargers isn’t out of the question. The Chargers have a kin to Notre Dame picks and they like OL Ronnie Stanley. They could trade down, get an extra pick or two and still get Stanley who other teams aren’t as high on.

If they do pick there, a defensive player like CB Jalen Ramsey or DL’s Joey Bosa or DeForest Buckner going to the Chargers would not shock me.

Ezekiell Elliott  RB Ohio St.:

Jerry Jones loves his badboys. I warned everyone that Randy Gregory DL out of Nebraska was an athlete playing football and of course Dallas took him in the 2nd round last year. In 12 games last year Gregory had 11 tackles and 0 sacks. He also tested positive for a drug of some kind (he was positive for pot in college) and he’s now suspended for the first four games. DeMarcus Lawrence had 8 sacks last year and he came into his own; he also has been suspended for 4 games for substance abuse. Add Greg Hardy’s departure and the DL for Dallas is just ugly. So they’ll go DL right?

Jerry Jones has always been an offensive guy and I see them taking Ezekiel Elliott, RB out of Ohio St. Jones likes offense and he loves running backs so I see this going down.

Interesting Oakland Raiders Scenarios:

Reggie Ragland MLB Alabama:

Reports are leaking that he has an elarged aorta that needs yearly monitoring.  They hypersensitive NFL; some teams reportedly have him off their board now. The only MLB that can start right away in this draft in my opinion is Alabama MLB Reggie Ragland.   As I’ve said before with the likes of Rolando McClain and others, these aren’t Bear Bryants free wheeling LB’s. Nick Saban runs a controlled and sophisticated zone and Bama LB’s do not have to cover much man to man so you really don’t know how good they are against the pass.

In reality though this would be the safe pick and the one I think the Raiders are leaning to right now.  Will his heart condition change this.

Myles Jack LB UCLA:

Myles Jack value is dropping quickly. Mike Mayock; who isn’t much for personality but who I like; has an interesting scenario where Myles Jack falls all the way to 14 and the Raiders take him. Even though I like Mike let’s be real; 3 days ago he said I can’t believe anyone in the top 10 won’t pick Jack but now in his Mock yesterday he has him falling to 14.

Why? Jack lost himself a lot of money in an “I’m an open book” millennial moment, when a few days ago he told reporters that his knee’s condition is degenerative and that in the future he may or may not need micro-fracture surgery. His exact quote was that no one knows the future but to play 3 years in this league would be above average. I could see his agent slapping his forehead when he heard that saying, “DOH!”. When the player is saying stuff like that then you move on……..Quickly.

Sheldon Rankins DL Louisville:

I like Rankins a lot and he’s going in the top 15 in the draft. I see him going to the Dolphins or the Saints who need help big time at DL. If not he’d be a great get for the Raiders to give them a much needed QB push from the DT position and could immediately upgrade their defense to possibly being a top 5-10 unit.

Shaq Lawson DL Clemson:

At the beginning I just couldn’t believe people downplaying him.  He’s slowly climbed up the ladder and he may be a top 10 pick.  In some mock drafts they have him going to Buffalo after the Raiders so it’s a crap shoot.  If he’s here, how can you pass up on a play maker like Lawson?  If he and Ragland are here wow; what a fun waiting time that will be.  I like Lawson and think you just can’t pass him up.  Talent over need.

Robert Nkemdiche DE Mississippi:

There is always a draft lovechild that fans glop on to and this year it is Nkemdiche. Gholston, Clowney, Gregory; the list is a long one.  He had a great game against Alabama and that’s his calling card; plus a lot of hype. They forget that in 3 years he only had 7 sacks and that in his last 7 games at Ole Miss he averaged 2 tackles a game. He was extremely inconsistent. I may be wrong but I warned people about all galaxy Jadeveon Clowney and how he’d tank and I’m warning others about Robert. To think he’s now going to be a 8-12 sack per year guy in the NFL? I say no way.

William Jackson III CB, Houston:

The University of Houston had a great resurgence last year; just not in the passing defense scene.  They were ranked the 122th rated pass defense in college football.

If you were listening to ESPN radio’s mock drafts yesterday, one of the people choosing picked CB William Jackson III out of Houston for the Raiders pick. I swallowed my gum too.  Don’t laugh; this is the hot name being thrown around by ESPN and their followers and if they blow off Ragland due to health issues, this may be the pick.  It would also be a little attempt at vindication for Reggie.

He had a monster bowl game against Florida St. and looked good in pre draft/NFL combine workouts. Many of the experts really don’t watch all the games so these big televised bowls and senior bowls are big deals to them. In reality he’s another free lancer who is a work out warrior and looks physically impressive. In tackling he’s somewhat soft and not one to like contact. I think this would be a bad pick and he’s a 2nd round project in my book.  I warned you on draft day about DJ Hayden and I’m warning you again.

Chris Jones DL Mississippi St.:

Another pick on the ESPN show was Chris Jones. If Shaq Lawson is there and the Raiders take Chris Jones then it’s a huge mistake.   Jones is a solid player but he’s had issues with conditioning in the past and he’s not a great pass rusher; he’s more of a run stopper. The Raiders have a ton of run stoppers; they need pass rushers. I think Jones is a good player but the Raiders need Shaq Lawson, not Chris Jones.

Karl Joseph S West Virgina:

He is still not recovered from his ACL tear and he won’t be 100% probably for a part of the season.  He is a thumper with a lot of explosiveness.  He was projected as a 1st or 2nd rounder but he’s been climbing.  He’s the best safety in a draft without super star safeties.  This isn’t a value pick; I like Joseph but I think you can get a good safety in the second or 3rd round at better value.

Leonard Floyd LB Georgia:

When you watched a Georgia game last year Floyd flies off the page. He has a lot of football talent and just isn’t an athlete. I wrote about him a few months ago and I like him. The problem is, Florida papers are talking about how Tampa Bay is gushing about him and how much they love him.   Many other teams also quietly like him.   It’s hard to think he’ll be there at #14, but if he is, they will take him.

Final Notes:

Remember that the draft isn’t a gift bag; 31 other teams are in this so you have to adapt to their choices. Keep in mind also that some teams are smart and some aren’t. Not every pick is a good one.

One tidbit that is going around the Bay Area though is that the 49ers LOVE Mackenzie Alexander the CB out of Clemson. The 49ers trading down isn’t out of the question now that they are in full rebuilding mode. Getting a DL and Alexander would be pretty amazing for them. I too love Alexander as a player.

Who ever the Raiders pick the hopes are that it’s a smart pick and not a crazy reach that filled the ghosts of drafts past. Some Raider fans will like any pick; some will hate any pick; but the even keel fans will look at the player and break down the need of the team and the skill set that they bring. As Reggie McKenzie said a few weeks ago, “we’ve done nothing yet. We haven’t won a thing and have work to do”. That is a good attitude to have entering this years draft.

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“Ron Wolf enters the Hall of Fame With Tim Brown; Wolf, The Greatest Raider of Them All”

ron wolf Tim brown

The Greatest Raider of them all.

Other than Al Davis, NO ONE ever made an impact on the Oakland Raiders like Ron Wolf did.

When you ask a Raider fan who is the greatest Raider of all time, you will get several different answers. Maybe you will hear Ken Stabler, Art Shell or Gene Upshaw. Some may say Tim Brown or Marcus Allen or any of the other all time Raider greats like Jim Otto. In reality though, the greatest Raider of them all is Ron Wolf. Some under 30 years old are saying, “Who is Ron Wolf?”

Ron Wolf was Oakland’s Player Personnel Director and one of the greatest evaluators of talent in the history of the NFL and he now takes his place among the games greatest, recently being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was the architect of the great Raider and Packer teams and was in charge of the draft and player moves starting in 1963. Few teams in history had a better scout team lead by Wolf.

ron wolf and al davis
Ron Wolf & Al Davis before a Raiders game

Wolf was the perfect fit to team up with Al Davis. He was the strong silent type who didn’t compete for attention. It is fairly common knowledge that Wolf was one of the few people that Al Davis actually listened to, and followed. Many of the great Raiders of all time like Stabler, Shell, Upshaw, Tatum, Villapiano and Cliff Branch were all key choices by Ron Wolf. Wolf and Davis had no peers when picking up castoffs that other teams gave up on.

In 1975 Wolf took the job of Vice President of Operations for the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  He went on to be the architect of the Bucs great early teams. His first draft included one of the greatest defensive lineman of all time Lee Roy Selmon and his brother Dewey, along with future 49er HOF QB Steve Young.  In the second draft he selected the great USC running back Ricky Bell (whose career was cut short tragically by a terminal illness which took his life in 1984) and 12 year NFL starter Charley Hannah who played 6 years with the Raiders and won a Super Bowl v.s. Washington. With these key players, Tampa Bay is still the fastest expansion team in the history of the post merger era to win a division, a playoff game, and host an NFC championship game.

ron wolf unveils his hof bust jpeg

Citing differences with the meddling Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse and head coach John McKay, Wolf came back to the Raiders before the 1979 season. In usual fashion the Raiders soon drafted players like Marcus Allen (who they literally had to con Mr. Davis into thinking he was faster than he was) and Howie Long. Allen was considered a question mark by many because he was considered too slow and Long was thought to be a long shot due to him coming out of Villanova who no longer had football. Unfortunately though, Mr. Davis transformation had begun.

Al Davis Change is Complete:

What changed the NFL and the Raiders forever was in 1982, when Dallas Owner Tex Schramm asked the NFL competition committee to hold an evaluation time for all of the players together, so all of the teams can evaluate them at the same time. Before that, teams had the option to share notes, films, and evaluations. Now players would be timed and rated on basic exercises and drills in gym shorts at the NFL combines. Al Davis loved it, especially the 40 yard dash times which was his main tool when drafting a player. Ron Wolf considered the Raiders evaluation of players to be superior so he hated it. When he was asked once why he doesn’t share information or films with the rest of the league he said, “why would we; we know more than everyone else”. A true Raider.

As time went on in the 80’s their relationship became strained. The draft became a mini war between the two. In the 70’s they both often said, “the quarterback must go down, and go down hard”. The key to that was a strong defensive front seven but Al Davis had gone away from that formula.

The Green Bay Magic:

In 1991 without new Green Bay GM Wolf’s input, Mr. Davis was in total control and the Raiders 1st and 2nd round picks were Todd Marinovich and Nick Bell.  Both would be out of the NFL in 3 years, which is easily one of the worst first 2 picks in history.  With pretty much no one to contradict him, Wolf’s first moves for the Packers was to fire head coach Lindy Infante, hire Mike Holmgren and trade for an awkward quarterback in Atlanta by the name of Brett Favre.  Within 4 years he transformed one of the worst defensive lines in the NFL to one of the best.  He signed free agent DL’s Reggie White, Sean Jones, Santana Dotson and “The Gravedigger” Gilbert Brown.  Along with free agency, he also drafted key pieces like RB’s Edgar Bennett and Dorsey Levens, TE Mark Chmura, WR’s Antonio Freeman and Robert Brooks just to name a few.  A little vindication for sure.

In his 9 years as GM of the Packers, Wolf helped lead them to the second best record in the NFL (second only to Bill Walsh’s 49er’s) and two Super Bowl appearances with one Super Bowl win.

rw hof

His Rightful Place in the Pro Football HOF:

In time, every team that Ron Wolf directed became a winner. Last year during his daily interview on KCBS sports in the bay area, John Madden said, “The unsung hero of the Raiders will always be Ron Wolf. When Ron and Al were on the same page, it was pure magic. The genius of Mr. Davis at that time was to trust Ron Wolf and the scouts and it helped create a winning formula”.

Wolf’s mentoring tree is long and talented. It includes Packers GM Ted Thompson, Seahawks GM John Schneider, Chiefs GM John Dorsey, Washington GM Scot McCloughan, and Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie.

During their glory years, the Raiders had not only the highest winning percentage in football, but the highest winning percentage of any U.S. sports franchise during a two and a half decade span.  In today’s world where teams tell you what they are going to do and mediocrity is celebrated, can you imagine how fans would react to such dominance?  There aren’t enough memes or gifs to express it.  Thus, every Raider fan young and old, should appreciate the legacy and foundation that was created with the talents of Ron Wolf; the greatest Raider of them all.

 

 

“Remembering Three Young Raiders, Gone Too Soon”

memorial

History is so important.  The smartest people I know have great knowledge of history.  We need to never forget and remember that our history lays the foundation for us all, and that we should learn about it and learn from it.  I thought about that today.  Today marks the 20th anniversary of the great Tejano singing star Selena’s passing.  She touched millions with her spirit and her amazing heart and talent.

What does that have to do with football?  Well it reminded me of the great loss that is felt when someone in their prime passes away.  Unfortunately death has been a cruel mistress in our large family, and in reality the pain never goes away, it just gets a little easier to tolerate. The Oakland Raiders have known pain; a great deal of it.

I wanted to write about three young lives that were lost to the Oakland Raiders far too soon.  I hope that all Raider fans; young and old; will remember and appreciate their lives and their part in creating the history of the Oakland Raiders. Eric Turner

Eric Turner, CB.  9/28/1968 to 5/28/2000

Charles Woodsen would look at Eric Turners photo before he would go on the field.  Ray Lewis as a young linebacker said that he loved watching Eric Turner play. Eric Turner was a Southern California legend.  A great player and leader.  He starred at Ventura High School and UCLA.  He was a hard hitting playmaking safety that at times seemed to be everywhere. E-Rock was the second overall pick in the 1991 draft going to the Cleveland Browns.  Still the highest draft pick for a defensive back in the modern era of the NFL.

He soon became an all pro for Cleveland and for the Baltimore Ravens when they moved. The Raiders picked up Turner later in his career and he still played well, but he was not the same Eric Turner.

When Turner played though the Raiders winning % was shockingly near 80% and he became a fan favorite.  He could still make plays.  He complained about an ulcer to many but towards the end of his life he lost a lot of weight.  When he took a leave of absence in 1999, he would not disclose his illness to his friends or the press.  Like some selfless people, he just didn’t want to be a burden.

In May of 2000 many people were worried about him but he stated in the press that he was not gravely ill.  Two weeks later, a stunned NFL world heard the news that Turner was gone.  He was only 31 years old.  It sent a shockwave throughout the NFL.

To have someone so young and physical to be gone so quickly.  Rumors swirled but in the end, he died of intestinal cancer that was just found too late.  Many believed he played with cancer during the last part of his career.  It remains a sad ending for a good man and a great player.  His leadership and his selfless mentoring will never be forgotten by those who played with him.

leon bender

Leon Bender, DL;  8/8/1975 to 5/30/1998;

Leon Bender’s family were Raider fans so they were thrilled when he was chosen by the Raiders in the 2nd round of the 1998 NFL draft.  Along with first round choice Charles Woodsen, the Raiders felt they had immediately upgraded their defense.  He was the type of player Jon Gruden loved;   passionate, athletic, and always hard working.  He had a great attitude and was constantly trying to please his coaches.  He was fun loving and always had a smile on his face. Leon was still somewhat raw but most scouts said the same thing; the sky is the limit.  In regards to Bender, at worst he would be a good NFL player for 7-10 years.  At best?  Who knows.

The Raiders were looking forward to Bender teaming up with USC’s Darrell Russell on the defensive line.  He was big, athletic and had a big motor.  It wasn’t meant to be though.  Bender died before playing for the Raiders and Russell was soon out of the league due to failed drug tests. Bender was one of the key contributors to the resurgence of the Washington St. Cougars football team.  He helped them reach the Rose Bowl for the first time in 67 years, with quarterback Ryan Leaf leading the way.  The excitement in the Palouse had never been higher.

The Raiders were very excited to add Leon to their roster but sadly he died of an epileptic disorder at the friend of his agents house.  He was found in the bathroom.  An ambulance was called and efforts to revive him failed.  He was 22 years old.  No alcohol or drugs were found in his system and no foul play was suspected.  Bender had been treated for epilepsy since childhood but it had been under control for the most part for years.

Benders lifestyle reminds me of the present Raiders QB Derek Carr.  Bender was married with a child and had a loving spiritual family.  He volunteered at times at a drug rehab wanting to help others.  Two weeks before his death, the Raiders paid Bender his 1.2 million dollar signing bonus which his family got.

His mother Antoinette and his cousin Brantley attended the AFC championship game against the Tennessee Titans in Oakland.  When the public address announcer called the starting line-ups, they sobbed uncontrollably.  On Super Bowl Sunday, Antoinette didn’t watch the game of her Raiders; instead she visited Leon’s grave to say how proud she was of him.

stacey toran

Stacey Toran, Safety;  10/11/1961 to 8/5/1989;

Stacey Toran was a long shot to make the NFL.  He was a 6th round pick for the Raiders in the 1984 draft.  Al Davis saw in him though a great deal of toughness and athleticism and was excited to get him at that low of a draft choice.  He would be a project that would soon pay dividends and Al Davis called him the steal of the draft.

Toran started out slow but after 3-4 years he started to show a grit and toughness that was needed in the Raiders defensive backfield. The Raiders were changing their scheme to an attacking style of defense and that suited the physical Toran just fine.  He was now entrenched as a starter and big things were expected of him.

Toran was an amazing athlete and a born leader.  He had great size for a safety too; 6’ 2” 205.  He was a high school basketball and football all American and in the semi finals of the state basketball championship at Broad Ripple High School, he hit a 57 foot shot to win the game at the buzzer, eventually leading them to the title. He was the captain of both his high school football and basketball team.  He soon went to Notre Dame and was a tough, hard nosed player that greatly improved the Notre Dame defense.  At Notre Dame he was the co-captain of the team and an All American.  The NFL combines felt he wasn’t fast enough to play in the NFL but Al Davis didn’t agree.  People were excited about what the future held for Stacey.

At approximately 11:30 pm on the night of Saturday, August 5th, 1989, Toran lost control of his 1984 BMW on Glencoe Avenue near Marina del Rey; a block from his home. An officer at the scene said the car jumped a curb and struck a tree, flipping over several times. Toran was ejected from the vehicle, struck his body and head on the pavement and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Later it was found out that his blood alcohol level was .32.  Stacey Toran was only 27 years old. Al Davis was devastated.  He said that Stacey was going to be a major part of their defensive scheme that year and he called him a friend and a great Raider.

Below is a list of prominent Raiders that are no longer with us in body, but always in spirit.  I hope that Raider fans of all ages never forget the contributions that these men made to the greatness that is the Oakland Raiders, and that they will keep their families and friends always in their thoughts and prayers.

Once a Raider, always a Raider. Rest in peace.

Thomas Howard, linebacker, 2006-10: Died November 18, 2013, age 30 (auto accident).

Todd Christensen, tight end, 1979-88: Died November 13, 2013, age 57 (liver surgery complications).

Errol Mann, kicker, 1976-78: Died April 11, 2013, age 71 (unknown).

Demetrius Davis, tight end, 1990 draft pick: Died December 15, 2012, age 45 (heart attack).

Tom Keating, defensive tackle, 1966-1972: Died August 31, 2012, age 69 (prostate cancer).

Ben Davidson, defensive end, 1964-1971: Died July 2, 2012, age 72 (prostate cancer).

Chester McGlockton, defensive tackle, 1992-1997: Died November 30, 2011, age 42 (heart attack).

Al Davis, coach/owner, 1963-2011: Died October 8, 2011, age 82 (natural causes).

Charles “Bubba” Smith, defensive end, 1973-74: Died August 3, 2011, age 66 (natural causes).

Alonzo “Skip” Thomas, cornerback, 1972-77: Died July 24, 2011, age 61 (heart attack).

George Blanda, quarterback/kicker, 1967-1975: Died September 27, 2010, age 83 (unknown/natural causes).

Jack Tatum, safety, 1971-1979: Died July 27, 2010, age 61 (heart attack).

Elijah Alexander, linebacker, 2000-2001: Died March 24, 2010, age 39 (bone marrow cancer).

Marquis Cooper, linebacker, 2008: Lost at sea March 1, 2009, and presumed dead March 6, 2009, age 26 (boating accident).

Brad Van Pelt, linebacker, 1984-1985: Died Feb. 17, 2009, age 57 (heart attack).

Gene Upshaw, guard, 1967-1981: Died Aug. 20, 2008, age 63 (pancreatic cancer).

Curtis Whitley, center, 1997: Died May 11, 2008, age 39 (unknown/natural causes).

Jimmy Warren, cornerback, 1970-74, 1977: Died August 9, 2006, age 67 (unknown).

Darrell Russell, defensive tackle, 1997-2001: Died Dec. 15, 2005, age 29 (auto accident).

Scott Whittaker, offensive tackle, 1997: Died Dec. 2, 2003, age 29 (auto accident).

Dave Dalby, center, 1972-1985: Died Aug. 30, 2002, age 51 (auto accident).

Dwayne O’Steen, defensive back, 1980-1981: Died Sept. 15, 2001, age 46 (heart attack).

Neal Colzie, defensive back, 1975-1978: Died Aug. 19, 2001, age 47 (heart attack).

Bo Roberson, wide receiver, 1962-1965: Died April 19, 2001, age 65 (unknown).

Dan Turk, center, 1989-1996: Died Dec. 23, 2000, age 38 (testicular cancer).

Eric Turner, safety, 1997-1999: Died May 28, 2000, age 31 (abdominal cancer).

Eldridge Dickey, quarterback/wide receiver, 1968-1971: Died May 22, 2000, age 54 (stroke).

Tim Hall, running back, 1996-1997: Died Sept. 30, 1998, age 24 (drive-by shooting).

Leon Bender, defensive tackle, 1998 draft pick: Died May 30, 1998, age 22 (epileptic incident).

Bob Chandler, wide receiver, 1980-1982: Died Jan. 15, 1995, age 45 (lung cancer).

Dave Waymer, safety, 1992: Died April 30, 1993, age 34 (drug-related heart attack).

Mike Wise, defensive lineman, 1986-1990: Died Aug. 22, 1992, age 28 (suicide).

Lyle Alzado, defensive lineman, 1982-1985: Died May 14, 1992, age 43 (brain cancer).

Stacey Toran, safety, 1984-1988: Died Aug. 5, 1989, age 27 (auto accident).

John Matuszak, defensive lineman, 1976-1982: Died June 17, 1989, age 38 (heart failure).

Roger Hagberg, fullback/tight end, 1965-1969: Died April 15, 1970, age 31 (auto accident)

Thank you to the Silver and Black Report for the Memorial Wall.  You can follow them here @ http://oak.scout.com/

“Oakland Raiders Final Grades v.s. Kansas City Chiefs”

riaaders chiefs

Final Oakland Raider Grades v.s. Kansas City Chiefs; Week 12:

(7-4)  Kansas City Chiefs  20

(1-10)  Oakland Raiders  24

First of all how about an A + for the energy and support of the crowd.  It was absolutely pouring down rain at times and the fans were so into the game.  If on earth there was ever a fan base that deserved this win, it was the Oakland Raider fans.  Wow!

Quarterback:

The conditions at times were awful with the rain, especially in the first half.  Derek Carr had his ups and downs but the thing that will be remembered is the last drive.  People wondered if he could make it happen in the clutch when he had to and they found out the answer.

The Raiders threw 6 of 8 times on first down in the first half, and it opened things up for the run.  Carr was off at times and still showed impatience, especially in the first half when he gave up on plays too early.  What was very encouraging though was his patience on the last touchdown pass to James Jones to win the game.  The offensive line gave great protection and it was a great play.  The crossing pattern is so hard to beat and I love it a lot over the popular fade.  Carr showed he has what it takes and is learning.

GRADE:  B

The last drive was great to see, showing that Carr can keep his cool and be patient enough to wait for his WR to get open.  This OL protects him well and it showed.  He only threw for 5.0 yards per catch AND was 18-35 for 179 yards though but hopefully those were somewhat due to the conditions.

Running Backs: 

Central Florida’s Latavius Murray was not even invited to the NFL combines even after a great career in college.  This shows how ridiculous the NFL combines are.  A healthy Murray was given the chance to shine last night and he did come through.  His two touchdown runs were decisive and the offensive line dominated the Chiefs at times.  Murray’s 90 yard run was a direct minded runner hitting a hole and having the speed to beat the defense.  Murray had a break out game but had to leave early due to a concussion.

Grade:  B+

The Raiders fans have been crying out for Murray to get a chance and he finally did.  The elitist NFL not even letting Murray be at the NFL combines shows why there are more hits than misses sometimes in the draft.  I loved Murray in college and I think he’s ready to make his mark in Oakland.

Offensive Line: 

The offensive line has been wrongly getting the blame for the running games failures.  The Raiders in the first half threw the ball 6 times on first down which in itself was a miracle.  It opened up things for the offense.  It made KC have to respect the pass on first down and helped the Raiders in the running game greatly.  Unfortunately they went back to their old ways after half time.  The Raiders announcers rightly called out the Raiders coaching staff in the second half for their predictability.  The coaching staff went back to the run in the 3rd quarter with 6 of 8 first downs being runs up the middle.  The Raiders struggled in the third quarter offensively and the correlation is not hard to see.

Grade:  B+

Some Raider fans and people in the media have wrongly gotten on this OL.  In the first half against the Chiefs when the Raiders passed so often on first down, it opened things up for the run because they now were not predictable.  Murray also helped them by being decisive and hitting the holes when they opened.  The Raiders protected Carr as usual giving up only one sack and this makes Derek Carr the second best protected qb in the NFL.

Wide Receivers: 

For people giving Carr passes acting like the Raiders have no talent at wide receiver, you need to get real.  James Jones is a solid red zone possession receiver and he proved his worth on the final drive.  Andre Holmes was targeted 10 times by Carr who was off on some of his passes.  Holmes ended up with a 5 catch performance and was a step out of bounds away from a big touchdown grab.  He’s proving that he can play in this league.  The Raiders coaches are still clueless not playing the ultra fast Brice Butler more.  Just not getting it.

GRADE:  B

The conditions were rough all night, especially in the first half.  When the Raiders receivers were needed though they came through and they were big when they needed to be.  The Raiders still need a fast #1 wide out but these guys have grit.

Defensive Line:

FINALLY a good game from the DL.  It wasn’t epic, but for how bad they’ve played this year it was a good thing to see and it changed the game.  They still only got 2 sacks with Mack being shut out for the 10th time in 11 games.  He’s just not a great pass rusher right now in his career and that is somewhat disappointing.

Grade:  B

They kept the Chiefs from having a 100 yard game but they did give up 4 yards a carry and only had 2 sacks.  Alex Smith is definitely not Johnny Unitas but it was still a nice showing.

Justin Tucks’ heads up play saved the Raiders after one of the dumbest celebrations ever, especially from a team that has no wins.  Tuck was disruptive and determined and it showed.

Linebackers:

If Khalil Mack burps, the media and some Raider fans say how awesome he does it.  He is totally over hyped.  I don’t deal with hype; I deal with facts.  Mack is not good at rushing the passer.  What he is good at is disrupting the run and making plays against the run.

While Khalil Mack was getting all of the publicity and credit even though for the 10th time he had no sacks and only 3 tackles; Sio Moore and Miles Burris were combining for 21 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack and one pass deflection.

The best linebacker on the Raiders by far is Sio Moore, not Khalil Mack.  When he is healthy, Moore is a game changer which was shown by his 9 first half tackles.  When he blitzed he put pressure on Smith and on the last drive had that key sack.

Grade A-

This unit is the strength of the defense and is carrying them.  Sio Moore is a stud, Mack is great against the run, and even with a missed tackle here and there, Burris has proven to be very valuable and makes plays.

Defensive Backs:

The Raiders defensive backs played well against the run.  They did struggle in the second half but when it counted they came through.  It wasn’t a world beating performance but it was a good showing on a rainy northern California night.  Charles Woodsen and Larry Asante played like this was the last game they’d ever play and were inspiring combining for 17 tackles.  Woodsen alone had 3 tackles for losses.

Grade B 

The Raiders safeties were all over the field at times.  Other than the really bad touchdown pass to Jamaal Charles, the Raiders DB’s played a good game for the most part even with struggling in the second half.

Coaching:

This should be a two part answer.  For the first half the Raiders coaching staff had their second best game of the season.  Six times they passed on first down and it opened up the offense and allowed them to not be predictable.  Kansas City didn’t know what was coming and the first half was dominated by the Raiders.  In the second half, Oakland ran 6 of 8 times up the middle and they struggled.  I also don’t understand why they empty the backfield on short yardage situations which tells the defense they are going to pass.  It makes no sense at all.

Grade B-

The coaches had a good first half but went back into a shell in the third quarter that helped Denver get back into the game.  I have no idea why they are so conservative when the Raiders have nothing to lose.  They finally started Murray and the results speak for themselves.

Special Teams:

Denarius Moore’s punt return fumble could have been much more costly than the 3 points it gave up.  It could have changed the momentum and the direction of the game.  Janikowski hit one field goal.  Marquette King had a good night but when it counted, he hit a low line drive that helped the Chiefs with a nice return.

Grade C+

The conditions played a role but it wasn’t a great day for the special teams.

Next Opponent:  @ St. Louis Rams (4-6; last game, win @ home against the Denver Broncos 22-7)

Outlook:

Next weeks game is usually not a good one for west coast teams traveling east.  The Raiders struggle mightily when they travel back east and with the Rams defense coming into their own, this will be a hard fought game.  Latavius Murray’s health will be in question and it will remain to be seen which team shows up in regards to the Raiders play calling; especially on first down.  This should be a low scoring close game.

“The reason the Oakland Raiders Stink from the Head Down”

jamarcus russell

This is an article that I wrote for a paid sports site last year after the NFL draft.  It showed the draft picks from 2000-2009.  At our draft parties we all pick for our own teams.  Not that I’m a genius but look at my picks (who many others picked at the time) and the Raiders picks.  Ask yourself Raider fans, all the time you wasted defending these bad picks.  I also take notes so I put them under the picks.  The notes were written right after the pick was made.

When you blame so many things on why the Raiders are so bad, look no further than the draft.

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I have always been fascinated by the NFL draft.  As a little kid I remember watching Dr. Z, Paul Zimmerman, use his dry humor to predict what each team was going to do.  He was funny and was the first to really break the draft down into what it is today.

Starting in 2000, I started to host a NFL draft party.  The first rule was no girlfriends or wives, and that each person had to draft for their own team.  We would keep our picks and our notes so the following years we could read what we wrote.  We give out awards every year to the best and worst picks of the prior 3 years.  I have kept a log full of notes and picks.

I don’t draft for need unless I feel the team is a player or two away from being good.  The Raiders have not been very close for the most part so I pick the best player possible.  I went to several schools, and I’ve been going to Stanford and California games for years.  I’m a huge Oklahoma Sooner fan from back in the day as well.  Below are my picks over the years compared to the Raiders.

2000 Raiders pick:  Sebastian Janikowski K Florida St.

Jim’s Pick:  Shaun Alexander RB Alabama

(Alexander is a beast at RB.  Kaufmann and Wheatley are good backs but Alexander can do it all.  Too much talent to pass up)

2001 Raiders pick:  Derrick Gibson DB Florida St. 

Jim’s Pick:  Kendrell Bell LB Georgia

(Raiders need LB help big time and Bell is solid.  Should be a really good player for 5-10 years)

2002 Raiders/Jim’s pick:  Phillip Buchanon CB Miami Fla.; Napoleon Harris LB Northwestern

(Harris is the best LB in the draft)

2003 Raiders pick:  Nnamdi Asomugha CB California; Tyler Brayton DE Colorado

Jim’s Pick:  Nnamdi Asomugha CB California; Boss Bailey LB Georgia

(Aso is a stud and Boss Bailey has potential.  These 2 could shore up defense)

2004 Raiders pick:  Robert Gallery T Iowa

Jim’s Pick:  Larry Fitzgerald WR Pittsburgh

(shocked; I watched Fitzgerald being triple teamed by some teams and he still dominated.  This guy is big, fast, tough and catches everything.  Can’t miss talent.  Gallery is another NFL pre draft darling.  I don’t get it)

2005 Raiders pick:  Fabian Washington S Nebraska

Jim’s Pick:  Aaron Rodgers QB California

(what?; even the draft announcers were shocked.  Rodgers fell in their lap and they pick up Washington who is an athletic safety who isn’t the greatest cover on a bad defense.  Wow; I’m lost)

2006 Raiders pick:  Michael Huff S Texas

Jim’s Pick:  Matt Leinart QB USC

(Leinart has talent but a bad work ethic and he’s a party boy.  I think he’ll do well in the pro’s if he grows up.  Huff played on a talented defense but as an OU fan I just don’t get this pick.  He had a lot of mop up hits and is semi soft for a safety)

2007 Raiders pick:  Jamarcus Russell QB LSU

Jim’s Pick:  Calvin Johnson WR Georgia Tech

(Raider fans are ripping me to pieces but mark my words; this is the wrong pick; this guy is making millions off of his game against Notre Dame; the 106th ranked defense.  He struggled mightily against Auburn and other teams who ran a pro style defense.  Calvin Johnson is huge and talented.  As an Oklahoma fan I’m sick of the ripping on Adrian Peterson.  He’s a stud and was kept out for his protection and his oft injury tag isn’t warranted. Wow)

2008 Raiders/Jim’s Pick:  Darren McFadden RB Arkansas

Jim’s Pick:  Darren McFadden RB Arkansas

(McFadden is a stud.  He was very physical in college and should adjust to the NFL quickly.  I like this pick.)

2009 Raiders Pick:  Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland

Jim’s Pick:  Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech

(wow; another NFL combine pick; Heyward-Bey averaged 3 catches a game since high school and IS NOT a good WR.  Crabtree is 100 times more talented and is the best WR in the draft.  Please keep 40 times from Al Davis.  God help us.  What a terrible pick)

The main problem I’ve had with Mr. Davis draft picks is that he always felt the team was better than they really were.  He seemed to be in denial like some who felt this team was close to winning when they were obviously not.  When you lose 11 games in 7 straight seasons; and now haven’t had a winning season in 10 years; you lack talent in a big way.

I feel the NFL combines really ruined Mr. Davis.  He became obsessed with DB’s 40 times in gym shorts and loved weight room junkies like Robert Gallery.  Darius Heyward-Bey who was a ridiculous pick, gained his millions purely from his NFL combine 40 time.  He was a nice college player but no way did he warrant that high of a pick.  Gallery had a great college career but he became a legend due to his amazing NFL combine stats just like New York Jets bust Vernon Gholston.

I saw Larry Fitzgerald play several times and even with him being triple teamed, he still had huge games.  Calvin Johnson was a man among boys.  I would love them on the Raiders.  And if I heard how far Jamarcus Russell could throw on his knees at the NFL combines one more time, I was going to lose it.  They forget to show how he struggled mightily against pro style defenses like Auburn who made him look lost, as well as lacking accuracy.  He made his money in his last bowl game against the 106th ranked defense of Notre Dame.

I hated the way the Raiders were constantly picking DB’s too.  It failed miserably starting with Derrick Gibson.  Only Asomugha lived up to the hype.  Many feel to build a great defense, you have to have a great front seven.  The key is to stop the run, and to rush the passer.  The 49ers of today are built that way and so is Baltimore.  If you have great DB’s but no pass rush, then it doesn’t matter who is in the secondary because they will get beat eventually.  Champ Bailey was in an abyss of bad play by the front seven in Denver for five years.  Until the pass rush and run defense improved, Bailey wasn’t much of a factor.  DB’s are great, but the front 7 has to be the key to your defense.

I’m surely not perfect so let the jokes start here.  Yes I picked Matt Leinart.  I should have known the week after he was picked that he was a bust.  The internet was full of photos of him slobbering drunk in clubs with even party girls laughing at him.  His partying over his time in Arizona would make Marc Sanchez blush.  He never worked hard enough and never made it.  How though could my fellow Cal Bear Aaron Rodgers not be picked?  I remember jumping up and down so happy when the Raiders were picking and thought for sure Rodgers was a Raider but Mr. Davis chose the fastest DB at the combines in Fabian Washington.  A Nebraska CB who had great hands but had issues covering and was a part of a lackluster Cornhusker defense that struggled against the pass and gave up 70 points to Texas Tech his last year.

This year was no exception for me.  I wasn’t happy with picking a CB when the Raiders were 31st in defensive sacks.  I would rather get a pass rusher or at least shore up the defensive line or get an athletic LB.

Our draft parties have been so much fun.  Unfortunately it has also been a time where I can tell my fellow Raider fans I told you so on all of the terrible picks from the previous years.  I’m hoping with the new regime, that “I told you so” will be said over great draft pick decisions, and not head scratching mediocre to bad draft busts.

What the Oakland Raiders Draft Means for 2014-15 Season

For the first time in a very long time, I am positive about the Raiders NFL draft.  Lets look at what each players’ role may be for next years season.

1:  Khalil Mack OLB-Buffalo

Most have never seen Mack play but with all that everyone is saying, the Raiders may have drafted the best defensive player in the draft.  A high character guy with a great attitude and work ethic, it’s the type of player that you build a defense around.  He can play standing up or in a stance and he will be starting day 1.

Strengths:  He’s a super fast play-maker who is a great tackler.  He dominated in college especially rushing the passer.  Potential super star.

Weakness:  Buffalo is a small school so the level of competition wasn’t great.

2.  Derek Carr QB-Fresno St.

Next years draft has a better mix of QB’s than this years draft in my opinion so a pick here wasn’t life or death.  The Raiders though loved Carr’s physical tools. Carr loves football, and he’s mature, and he has a great work ethic.  He’ll be on the bench next year with Matt Schaub running the show.

Strength:  A rocket for an arm.  He can make all the NFL throws.  He throws well on the run and is a good leader.  Good character guy who is a hard worker.

Weakness:  Did not play against top competition and did not have to deal with much of a pass rush for much of the year.  In the USC game, he was rushed often and he looked terrible.  He’ll have to play better against a rush.

3.  Gabe Jackson G-Mississippi St. 

Jackson was a total steal.  He was considered the best guard in the draft and many felt he was a for sure second round pick.  He did not give up a sack in the last 2 years and was dominant at times.

Strength:  Good all around player who has great size.  Another hard worker who can start right away.  This may complete the Raiders OL.

Weakness:  Has to keep his weight in check but otherwise he’s a solid player.

4.  Justin Ellis NT-Louisiana Tech

Ellis was a good run stopper and was a load to block at times.  He can become too heavy and it limited his play due to fatigue issues so he has to keep his weight down.  He’ll provide depth for the DL.

Strength:  Strong and physical who is a load to block at times.

Weakness:  One dimensional bull rusher who needs to get into better shape and learn to stay in his gap.

4.  Keith McGill CB-Utah

A physically gifted athlete who played well at CB for the Utes.  He’s a big corner; 6′ 3″, 210 lb: who has a lot of potential.

Strength:  He’s fast, athletic and a good cover corner.  He is big and has great size.

Weakness:  He’s not very physical and not a very good tackler.  He will have to improve his toughness which for some DB’s, is pretty hard to do in the pro’s.  Next year he will probably be a special teams player who will provide depth.

7.  TJ Carrie CB-Ohio

A good athlete and cover guy, Carrie was also a good special teams returner due to his speed.  He may make the team due to his special teams play.

Strength: Athletic, fast, good special teams returner.

Weakness:  Poor technique and only occasional ball hawk skills at times.  Needs to improve his football instincts.

7.  Shelby Harris DL-Illinois St.

Harris has talent but he’s had his problems.  He was kicked off the team last year for violating team rules and hasn’t played for a year.  He’s also had weight issues and at times get’s out of shape.  He has good numbers though and is a producer.  If he can get his act together, he may make the team and provide depth.  Harris had 7 sacks in 2012.

Strength:  Has shown off his talent in college with good numbers in the games he’s played in.  He’s a good tackler who can stuff the line of scrimmage.

Weakness:  Needs to mature and keep in shape.  He needs to improve his technique as well.

7.  Jonathan Dowling DB-Western Kentucky

He is tall and lanky and is a really good athlete.  He has good cover skills and good football instincts with good recover speed.  Will be pressed to make the team though.

Strength:  Good athlete with good cover skills and speed.

Weakness:  He’s not physical at all.  He’s easily blocked and over matched at the line of scrimmage.  If he could get into the weight room and become tougher, he could make the team.