The Oakland Raiders completed their draft on Saturday, and I thought it would take a few days to let things marinate before I attempted to grade the draft. There has been nothing but positive vibes so far for the Raiders picks, which was a definite change from a year ago, when the screaming would not die down over the selections of Darrius Heyward-Bey and Mike Mitchell.
Round 1: Rolando McClain ILB Alabama:
The Raiders needed to beef up their front seven, and McClain fit the bill. The organization had soured on former linebacker Kirk Morrison, and wanted an upgrade. McClain was a physical presence and vocal leader on the National Championship Alabama team. He was just what the doctor ordered
The Raiders continued to upgrade their defensive line by grabbing the big tackle out of Texas. Tom Cable said that he would be played at end instead of tackle, but either way this pick went right to building the Raiders defense where it needed to be built.
Veldheer was division II All American out of tiny Hillsdale college in Michigan. He rocketed up draft boards with his performance in the college All Star games, as well as the NFL combine. He was the top tackle on many boards when the Raiders took him in the third.
Campbell is the guy that everyone and their dog had pegged to go to the Raiders with their first round pick after his freakish combine performance. Even before the combine he graded out as a late first to second round projection, and the Raiders got him in the fourth round.
Ford was the "classic Al pick" of the entire draft. The Raiders traded back into the fourth round to select the speedster out of Clemson. Look for him to be used primarily as a return guy, and to bump Johnnie Lee Higgins off the team.
Walter McFadden is the brother of Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden and no relation to Darren McFadden. The Raiders need depth at corners.
The Raiders have collected linebackers this offseason like they were beanie babies. This is a focus the team has not had in recent memory. Goethl played strongside linebacker at Arizona State, but Cable called him an inside linebacker during the post draft press conference. From all indications he is a gritty hard nosed player who will do whatever it takes to compete.
A late round not-so speedy cornerback. He takes pride in his hard hits. He could be an interesting project, and he was a seventh round pick.
Kind of hard to fault a seventh round compensatory pick, but even his college coach was saying that he knows he needs to get better. The Raiders are stocked at linebackers and safeties. This pick could have been better used elsewhere, and could have gotten Brown as a UDFA.