There has been a lot of talk recently about who the Raiders are going to take with their first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, but fewer people are talking about who the Raiders will not take. For the sake of my sanity, I’m going to break it down for you and burst a few bubbles in the process. The draft is now only 48 days away and I’m locked and loaded, ready to tell you who the Raiders will not draft with the 48th pick in the draft this year.
For those of you who are thinking the Raiders may take a shot at Ryan Mallet in the second round of the draft, I love to burst your bubble because it won’t happen for a variety of reasons. For one thing, his stock is dropping because of character flaws. From what I’ve seen from the Raiders of late, they are not interested in low character guys. That’s why they selected Darrius Heyward-Bey over Michael Crabtree in the 2009 NFL Draft even though Crabtree was widely considered to be head and shoulders above DHB in terms of talent as well as pro readiness.
Part two of the Mallet equation is that the Raiders are happy with the potential that Jason Campbell brings to the table. It seems a lot of people have forgotten the moxie and leadership he showed down the stretch of the season. Some have called him immobile, neglecting the fact that he has rushed for well over 200 yards in each of the last three seasons and scored a rushing touchdown in each of those seasons. The bottom line is that the Raiders are expecting Campbell to take the next step in his career this year, which is to be a playoff quarterback. They are not going to shake his confidence with a wild card like Mallet when they could add to the talent around Campbell and help him become the player they think he can be.
The next guy I want to talk about is Dontay Moch. Yes, he is 248 pounds and ran a 4.40 forty at the combine — I get it. However, the Raiders are going to run mainly a 4-3 defense this year and they already have two of the three required linebackers in place. Moch may be a good prospect to be the third guy, but let’s not forget that the Raiders already have Trevor Scott, Quentin Groves, Ricky Brown, and Travis Goethel who could potentially fill that third spot for them.
On top of that, Moch is too much of a risk. It’s not like we’re talking about Rolando McClain here. Moch was not a national champion and — let’s face it — he didn’t play against the best teams in the country at Nevada. Al Davis will no doubt be intrigued by this kid, but that won’t lead to him becoming the first pick of the draft for the Raiders this year. If he is still floating out there when the Raiders draft in the third or fourth round, then we can talk about him more seriously.
Some people seem to think the Raiders will be in dire need of a cornerback pending the departure of Nnamdi Asomugha. Ras-I Dowling appears to be the hottest name amongst the CB candidates for the Raiders that I’ve heard thus far. But I just cannot see it happening. The Raiders just signed Stanford Routt to a contract that will pay him over $10 million per year, a clear indication that they think he is capable of being a number one guy for them.
The fact that they will not be bringing back Robert Gallery or Michael Huff gives the Raiders a little bit more cap space than some may have anticipated. I can see them paying Nnamdi a contract in the neighborhood of $12 million a year because they know that he absolutely is a number one guy without question. Certainly there is no plan in place where the Raiders are just going to let this guy walk without even taking a stab at him. However, if they can’t reach a deal with Aso, I also have to take into account that Chris Johnson is getting around $4 million this year. That is good money for a number two cornerback in this league, so the idea of the Raiders taking a cornerback who could potentially bust with the 48th pick when they are already dealing with these three guys is more of a reach than the DHB pick to me.
We’ll have to wait and see how everything shakes out before we can really determine who the Raiders will take with their first pick of the draft, but I can say right now that I’m 99 percent sure it will not be one of these guys. Consider your bubbles burst!
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