There are those predictors who seem to be certain of what this team needs in the draft, and who will be available when it is their turn to draft. There are those who take the approach of trying to get in Al Davis’ head in deciding who will be taken in the draft. Let us not forget however, that no matter how predictable Al seems, even the “experts” are nearly always wrong in predicting which players he will draft. Not only that but even a guy like Al Davis breaks character now and then. And while he may never be one for “conventional wisdom” he is as unpredictable as he is predictable. Here are a few examples:
2003 Consensus Draft Expert prediction: , 1a: LB Clifton Smith, or DE Dewayne White…1b: LB Brady James, DE Chris Kelsay, QB Chris Simms, DE Tyler Brayton
Actual Pick: CB Nnamdi Asomugha, 1b DE Tyler Brayton
The first pick was so unexpected that the comissioner couldn’t even pronounce his name (“Aw-so-moo-Guh Nawm-dee?” I was like “who”?) At least one predictor got Tyler Brayton right. Although I wish they weren’t.
2004 CDE prediction: WR Larry Fitzgerald
Actual Pick: OT Robert Gallery
I sure wish he was more predictable that year.
2005 CDE prediction: WR Mike Williams
Actual pick: Traded #7 pick for Randy Moss, then made a flurry of trades to get back to the #23 pick to get CB Fabian Washington.
All in all grabbing Fabs was a typical Al Davis pick because he had such a fast 40 time at the combine. AD got excited when he couldn’t believe that Fabs was still available at #23 and made the trades he needed to make to go up and get him. On a side note: Getting yet another CB in the 2nd round (Stanford Routt) was a move no one expected but yet again he was a speedster.
2006 CDE prediction: QB Matt Leinert
Actual pick: S Michael Huff
It seemed everyone agreed that the Raiders were the pefect candidate for one of the high profile QBs in Vince Young, Leinert, or Jay Cutler. VY was gone by the pick so he was out and who knows if AD ever had any intention of drafting him anyway because he passed on QB altogether and went with the starting safety for the Nat champs in Huff.
2007 CDE prediction: (this was a no brainer) QB JaMarcus Russell
Actual pick: QB JaMarcus Russell
Although there were some that said the Raiders would take Calvin Johnson or trade down for more picks most were saying the obvious choice of J Rock.
So as you can see, AD usually does not go with what is expected of him by anyone so trying to predict what he will do is a lost cause. All we can do is hope for certain players or hope that when he does make his choice that it is the right one. I can say there has been an equal amount of times that I thank God he didn’t listen to Mel Kiper Jr as there are times I wish he had went with the expected pick.