The 2010 NFL Draft inches closer and closer and I get more and more excited. I get pumped every year, but I'm always get let down by the Raiders first round draft choice. I think the last one I agreed with was Robert Gallery in 2004. That's a lot of drafting that to be unimpressed with.
Just to recall a few; In 2007, I was a fan of Adrian Peterson and I also wanted the Raiders to take QB Troy Smith from Ohio State later in the draft. In 2008, I wanted the team to trade up and get Howie Long's boy, Chris Long. In 2009, I wanted them to take Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji. Right now, this Raider team could be stacked. But I do have to hand it to Al Davis, none the less, because I cannot think of a team in the league that has more late round talent over the last three or so years than our beloved Oakland Raiders.
One of those later round picks, the 4th rounder from 2008, Tyvon Branch is talking to almost every Raiders website on the internet. I'm feeling a bit left out, but I still hold high hopes for the guy. In case you are somehow missed them, you can find the different interviews here, here, here, and here. On the "Talkin' with Tyvon" series from Silver and Black Pride, you can actually submit your question to Tyvon and he will answer it for you when he gets a chance. Our favorite strong safety says the guys are working harder than he's ever seen in the time he's been in Oakland and on a video he posted on his Facebook page, he assured the Raider Nation that it was going to be a good year.
Meanwhile, Tom Cable was talking up second year receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey when he spoke to Bay Area reporters on Thursday night in his pre-draft interview. "You guys will be excited when you see ... the improvement Darrius has already made," Cable said. "That guy has jumped out at us since winter program, or offseason program, just the quality of work he's done. Probably no one is more excited about a guy on our team than Darrius right now. He really, really has taken this thing leaps and bounds, further probably than what we thought we could go with it this quickly. It will be nice to get him on the field and get him into coverage's and get him into route concepts and doing those kinds of things."
I agree with Cable, it would be nice...if he could catch. I hope he's been working out with the old Jugs Machine.
To get back to draft talk, my good friends at Silver and Black Pride are currently conducting two different polls at their website. One poll is for who you think the Raiders should draft on Thursday night, and the other poll is for who you think the Raiders will draft on Thursday night. So far the leader of the "should draft" poll is Oklahoma Tackle Trent Williams with 27% of the vote. He is followed by Idaho Guard Mike Iupati with 15% and Rolando McClain with 13% of the vote. On the "will draft" poll the leader is Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell with 27% of the vote and he is followed by Trent Williams who has 19%, and there is a tie for third place with 10% for both Florida Cornerback Joe Haden and Mike Iupati.
Just in case you're wondering, I voted for Rolando McClain as who the Raiders should draft and I voted for Bruce Campbell as who they will draft.
David White, the former SF Gate beat writer for the Raiders who now covers the 49ers for the gate tweeted last night that from what he has heard he really thinks the eighth pick of the draft will be Campbell. It would not shock me one bit if the Raiders continued to disappoint me with their first round drafting. We all know that Davis loves his combine freaks.
His team would be good too if the league was all about raw talent, but it isn't. It's about getting the best guys for your team who can already play football. It's not about taking guys who are tremendous athletes and teaching them how to play football. I don't know though, maybe things can turn around for the team this year. I think the problem begins and ends with the constant overturning of the coaching staff. When nobody gets given the time to implement their system, bad things will happen and there is just no way around it. The good thing about the current staff in Oakland is that many of them have experience working with each other prior to the Oakland Raiders.
So, yeah, to reiterate, I'm excited for the draft. I want them to take McClain, but I figure it will be Bruce Campbell or Mike Iupati...or both (see my Mock Draft). Go out and vote at Silver and Black Pride for the "Should and Will polls." Let me know what you think of Darrius Heyward-Bey right here on this page in the comments section and check out the Tyvon Branch interviews.
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter.
-- Bret Armstrong, TFDS Guest Contributor