The 2011 NFL Draft kicks off within 24 hours and albeit it’s highly unlikely the Oakland Raiders will move up the board to the first round, there’s no shortage of excitement and speculation for the team’s second round pick (48th overall) and the direction that Al Davis and head coach Hue Jackson will take this weekend.
Last week Jackson stated in a press conference that while there is more than one voice when it comes to the draft process, Al Davis has the final say at the end of the day. “A lot of people think it’s a one-man show,” Jackson said. “He makes the pick and he should. He’s the owner of the team.”
The new man in office joined the organization as the offensive coordinator for Tom Cable, but this is Jackson’s ship this season and so far he’s put together a very good staff around him. Let’s hope the team pillars Mr. Davis to make some wise decisions. But if that doesn’t work, they can always tie him up to a chair, blindfolded and stranded during the event, until he’s able to return by the fourth round in time to select another speedster like Jacoby Ford.
Round 2, Pick 48 Stefen Wisniewski, G, Penn State
Oakland has held several private workouts for high-caliber prospects like the “Transformer” Colin Kaepernick of Nevada and Colorado’s cornerback Jimmy Smith. It’s uncertain whether either of these prospects will still be around at No. 48, but placing bets on that happening isn’t exactly all the rage in Las Vegas.
I can’t see the Raiders passing on either of them if they’re available, but there are a few areas that must be addressed on defense, especially for depth. Moreover, in order to maintain the level that was implanted on the offensive side of the football last season, the most sensable direction with this selection is the offensive line.
Robert Gallery is a free agent, so the center/guard position must taken seriously and upgraded early. Oakland invited Stefen Wisniewski last Thursday for a private workout and the coaching staff left happy, with their socks blown clean off from an extremely impressive performance. Wisniewski has blood ties with his uncle, who’s currently the team’s assistant offensive line coach. If he’s not still on the board, expect Marcus Cannon to be the pick. The versatile TCU offensive lineman can play tackle, both guard positions, and with his great strength, he would be an excellent fit for a team that loves to pound the football on the ground.
Round 3, Pick 17 Shane Vereen, RB, California
Well, here comes a shocker, at least on the surface. But with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush’s past injuries on a contract year, it’s only fitting to introduce a young talent to emerge and add insurmountable depth. CBSSports.com is reporting Shane Vereen spoke with the Raiders running backs coach Kelly Skipper. Vereen chalked up 4,069 all-purpose yards in his collegiate career, despite leaving early as a junior for the 2011 NFL Draft. The California star has terrific burst to evade holes and cut lanes at the second level and this is the icing on the cake that makes Davis feel all warm and fuzzy about his decision.
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