There were two themes about the players the Raiders chose in this draft. The first was speed and the other was Raider ties. It is not all that hard to pinpoint the Raider draft picks when you consider that Al Davis prizes those two things above all else.
The first pick of the day for the Raiders was Stefen Wisniewski who has the obvious distinction of being the nephew of legendary Raider left guard and current Raider offensive line coach, Steve Wisniewski. Prior to the draft, he said all the appropriate things about not being partial to playing for the Raiders, but now that he is wearing that shield, he opened up.
"I grew up wearing silver and black," said Stefen. "If you would have asked me what my favorite color was when I was younger, I would have said silver and black were my favorite colors. I got pictures of me as a baby wearing Oakland stuff, with my uncle holding me... But, yeah, shoot, I grew up and my favorite players were my uncle, Tim Brown, Napoleon Kaufman, Rich Gannon and all those guys. It just feels right that I'm wearing silver and black now as a player."
The Raiders chose Wisniewski with their top pick in round two to play center and then they nabbed LSU tackle Joseph Barksdale in the bottom of the third round. Barksdale is originally from Detroit before signing on to play for the Tigers but as he tells it, his father was quite the Raider fan and even went as far as to say his dad said "I pray to God [the Raiders] pick you."
The new Raider olineman was beaming while standing with his new head coach Hue Jackson and three of his new rookie teammates on the final day of the draft. Any rookie would be excited to be an NFL player and it seemed clear to me that there was a little something more to it for Barksdale.
"I'm really excited to be an Oakland Raider," said Barksdale. "I know it sounds simple but my father used to talk about the Raiders all the time. Back when Jim Otto, Tatum and those guys were here. He's been a Raiders fan for the longest. And when I got drafted to the Raiders he told me you're about to be a part of something big.
The Raiders next pick after Barksdale was speedy Division ii phenom running back, Taiwan Jones. He is originally from the Bay Area city of Antioch and attended Deer Valley High School there. He attended Eastern Washington due to the fact that he has a learning disability as well as dyslexia. But his talent is obvious when you turn on the tape and his 4.27 40 yard dash at his pro day would have put him atop this year's class. Local guy with speed to burn? He is a shoe in as a Raider. And it would almost be assumed that being from the east bay, he would be a Raider fan as well.
But when asked if becoming a Raider was his dream scenario, he dodged the question by being non-commital. He said just that, "this is a home team for me." When pressed further on the issue, he said simply that "when I started this journey I said I'm looking for my next NFL family."
So Raider ties be damned with that kind of elite speed.
The rest of the Raider picks were track stars.
Third round pick CB DeMarcus Van Dyke was the fastest player overall at the 2011 combine—running a 4.28 forty yard dash.
Round four pick CB Chimdi Chekwa's 4.40 forty was tied for third best at the combine.
Tennessee wideout Denarius Moore, who the Raider took in round five, ran a 4.39 forty at his pro day.
Even the big blocking tight end, Richard Gordon, they took in round six ran on the 4x100 relay team in high school. And despite being a stout 6-4, 265 pounds, he runs a 4.6 forty yard dash.
Round seven pick, David Ausberry, who is projected as a tight end, has speed in his blood as his cousin Tommie Smith won an Olympic gold medal in the 200 meter dash in 1968.
There is no doubt that the Raiders got the players they wanted. And amongst them are some fine picks as well as solid play. And it just goes to show you that the longstanding value put on speed and Raider loyalty are still alive and well in Oakland.
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this draft is below average at best ! love the wiz kid but we could have got him in the 3rd round and got Ras-i in the 2nd. instead the cheatriats got him with the first pic in the 3rd round and Al f@#$ davis trade another high draft pic the cheatriats for some two late round pics. I just cant wait for Al"s time to be up time for some new blood in the silver and black tired of all the stupid mistakes by that chump
Undrafted players who could help the Raiders: Pat Devlin QB, Jake Kirkpatrick C, Zack Hurd G, Bryon Bell OT, Ian Williams DT and Mark Herzlich LB.
would have liked to see a proven rookie cb than these projects we have. no aso, and that means that front 7 better be ready to carry the bulk of the d. if you look around the league, b-more, pittsburgh, ne or the colts have great secondarys. but they all have a great playmaking safety. their front 7 carry those defenses, and so ours will have to also. we need to blitz more and put a ball hawking safety (dont know if we quite have that) to sit back and make plays and play behind that youth. also, lets score more points and help the d out as well. lets get a lineman or two in fa as well as another lb, not quite sold on goethel. lets go raiders!
By the way, great job Levi and Bret on the live draft blogs. You guys did a lot of work and had some great comments and insight. Between listening to Mike Mayock and following your draft blogs, the entire draft experience, for me, was fantastic. Thanks again for the great work....
I liked the picks of Wisniewski, Barksdale, Jones, and Denarius Moore. These four guys can and will contribute right away. Jones really reminds me of Jacoby Ford, and if given the opportunity, I think he can be a special player for the Raiders. Moore will be a nice replacement to DHB, who I see being gradually fazed out of the offense..
I was hoping the Raiders would have drafted another offensive lineman, and was hoping for Mims, as I thought he would be a perfect fit for the power blocking scheme. Bret mentioned he liked the idea of Mims as well in the live draft blog yesterday. Mims made more sense to me than Richard Gordan, but that is my own personal opinion.
As far as how the draft panned out, Instead of making that draft day trade with New England, which gave up our second round pick next year, I would have liked to see the Raiders trade up and either get Kaepernick, who I was pulling for big time, or take the risk and get a better quality cornerback like a Jimmy Smith or Ras-I Dowling. The Raiders (Al Davis) unfortunately put way to much emphasis on speed, and this philosophy really limits the development of the team, as the Raiders draft way to many developmental projects versus players that are NFL ready. Replacing Asomugah is huge, and instead of gambling on two speedy projects, why not trade up and get proven collegiate talent, talent that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Jimmy Smith or Ras-I Dowling were two guys that should have been coveted by the Raiders, especially considering two cornerbacks were selected in this years draft.....
nice overview ... Im feeling a bit better about the draft after day 3 ... think we got some good value in Chekwa and Taiwan ... Im not impressed with the DVD pick at all though. Overall we picked the right positions .... time will tell if we picked the right players ...
overall good draft though. I hope Barksdale starts out as our RG until he can get better footwork. that means getting a RT in FA like Clabo as our RT! we do desperately need good experience for our young guys right about now. Satele and Walker being the only experience for those guys? yeeesh. FA needs to start now!
you got that right. speed speed speed! it's worked in a few cases like Ford and Murphy(kind of) ... lets hope Van Dyke can replace Nnamdi... i am finally coming to terms that Aso i gone. Between Ware, McFadden, Van Dyke, Chekwa, or Chris Johnson... i hope we can find a suitable replacement. I want to go off of Rod Woodson's words when talking about what he's going to bring to our secondary. He wants them to face the QB more and make plays. well, in a strict man-to-man coverage game, how do you possibly do that? My guess is Rod will be breaking the new guys in for some zone coverage schemes...
If Nnamdi is gone, we will 1. change gameplans a little and be able to get more takeways next year and 2. have a lot of money to throw around in FA. another OL like Clabo or Colon and a OLB like Ricky McIntosh would be beautiful and fill a huge void in our front 7. Al said "you can bring in 3 new faces in place of 1 guy" ... Al will make a huge splash in FA when it does finally come around. Here's hoping it does in a timely fashion.