With the day of reckoning drawing closer and closer, it looks like the Washington Redskins, who hold the fourth overall pick in the draft, are very interested in taking Oklahoma Sooners offensive tackle Trent Williams over the higher rated Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung. Reports are that the Seattle Seahawks would likely then take Okung at the sixth pick if the Chiefs decided to pass on the tackle. This speculation leads me to ponder some interesting questions about what Oakland might do with their top two picks, eight and 39 overall, in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Many people have Okung rated the best tackle on their draft boards, but according to CBS Sports reporter Rob Rang, the Redskins might be a team who is more interested in Williams due to the fact that he fits better in Mike Shanahan's ZBS system.
After the Redskins, Chiefs and Seahawks, the Cleveland Browns sit at pick seven. For as bad of shape that their team is in right now, one of the places they probably don't need immediate help is on the offensive line. However, last year, they made some surprising moves, sliding out of the top five picks into the teens and then proceeded to move back again before selecting Cal Center Alex Mack at 21 overall. If the top two tackles in the draft are Okung and Williams, then the consensus third best tackle is Iowa's Brian Bulaga. If somebody really likes Bulaga and wants to get him before the Oakland Raiders pick at eight, then Cleveland would most likely entertain offers for the pick.
This leads me to have toponder a very interesting scenariowith regards to the Oakland Raiders number eight pick in the draft. Let's assume for a second that Williams and Okung are gone to Washington and Seattle respectively. Let's also assume that a team like the Buffalo Bills or the San Francisco 49ers, or another team, moved up to the seven spotand took Brian Bulaga. Now the question that I have ask myself is: Isthere a chance that the Raiders go for Joe Haden early in the draft over a guy like Anthony Davis or Mike Iupati?
The dilemma, I guess I have, is that there is really no indication from the Raiders as to which direction they will go with the pick. Tom Cable, however, has come out and publicly said that they want to fill holes in areas of need. While the Raiders don't need to go high on a cornerback, with the seventh rated pass defense from last season, there is no doubt that a guy like Haden could certainly have bigger ramifications then say a guy like Darren McFadden when you already have a good offensive backfield, or a guy like Darrius Heyward-Bey when you are staring at a guy like Michael Crabtree still on the board.
Cable also said that the Raiders want guys who have a lot of college playing experience, guys who have won championships, and guys who were team captains. Joe Haden fits the criteria of what Oakland is looking for on draft day. If he is in the top five players on Oakland's board he could end up being the best player available on the Raiders draft board at pick number eight on day one. Haden once said on his twitter page that the Raiders are one of four teams showing high interest in him leading up to the draft.
Haden doesn't fit into the plans of the fans however. The fans want the offensive and defensive lines worked on early and often in this year's draft. At the same time, however, they must realize Al Davis' infatuation with defensive backs. On top of that, most of the fans I've heard from this year would surely prefer Joe Haden to USC's Taylor Mays. Haden has the supreme blend of size, strength, athleticism and speed necessary to be a shut-down cornerback for the Raiders. He's a highly competitive player who was consistently asked to take on SEC number one receivers in press-man coverage, was a consistently productive player in college on a great team defense, and was durable throughout career with the Gators.
With guys like Mississippi's John Jerry, Alabama's Mike Johnson, and TCU product Marshall Newhouse being available to the Raiders later in the draft, Joe Haden might be the pick of highest value on the Raiders draft board at eight overall on Thursday night. Defensive tackles like Georgia's Geno Atkins, Louisiana Tech's D'Anthony Smith, and Syracuse product Arthur Jones make the defensive tackle class look a bit deeper as well. This leads me to the next question that I sit and wonder about this year; could the second round pick in the draft for Oakland possibly be another Florida Gators prospect...say a guy named Tim Tebow?
You don't have to look far down the Oakland Raiders depth chart to find a guy who made an impact for them last year from Urban Meyer two-time National Championship team in Swampville. The guy I'm referring to, of course, is wide receiver Louis Murphy. But how could Oakland possibly ignore their lines again and take two skill position players with their first two picks this year? And how could they make a legitimate excusefor taking a player in the top 40 who is considered by many to be a project quarterback at the next level?
Well, first of all, Al Davis is not one to make excuses or apologize to anyone. Secondly, let's go back to last year and remember thatthis team only scored...what like 16 or 17 touchdowns in sixteen games? Tim Tebow has a nose for the endzone, and could come in immediately and have an impact in the redzone for the Raiders, whether by passing or running the football. Teaming Tebow up in the "wildcat" formation with a guy like Darren McFadden next to him could create quite a headache for the opposing defenses.
Tim Tebow is a proven team leader and a dedicated worker, as well as a model citizen. Tebow certainlyhas moreupside than JaMarcus Russell at this point, and some Oakland Raiders Sports writers have actually goneso far as to call Tim Tebow the anti-JaMarcus Russell.
After former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden's QB draft special, Gruden said, "I think he'd do anything you'd ask him to do as long as it had something to do with winning. I can see him being an H-back. I can see him being a fullback. I can see him being a tight end. I could see him being a Wildcat quarterback or a situational, plus-10, redzone goal line short-yardage quarterback while he learns the system. There's a lot to this guy."
Perhaps the Raiders could go even further in the Florida prospects category by selecting MLB Brandon Spikes if he is available in the third round or later. This whole thing is crazy. I don't even know where I come up with this stuff sometimes. Nevertheless, the thought (From the Darkside) of Haden and Tebow as well as possibly Brandon Spikes, all teaming up with Louis Murphy once again is certainly an intriguing one heading into the 2010 draft.
--Bret Armstrong, TFDS Guest Contributor