Bridgewater’s fall signifies value of QB class

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Draft Day is finally here! As informed fans we have been hearing the same talk over the past few months.

Who’s falling, who’s rising, and who faired well at the Pro-day.

One of those players who heard that talk was Teddy Bridgewater. During the season, Bridgewater was the consensus top quarterback in the college football. He only threw four interceptions, and helped lead his team to a bowl game.

Fast forward to the pre-draft process, and guys are talking about him going in the second round. It is a pretty steep fall considering Bridgewater has not played a single down of football since people considered him a candidate for the top pick.

They have said he has small hands, his football knowledge is not impressive, he can not lead a franchise, he is not accurant, his arm strength is unimpressive, he can not read defenses, and his frame is too small.

All of this has knocked down Bridgewater’s stock from Mike Mayock to Mel Kiper. However, could Bridgewaters tumble down draft boards be a sign of this entire draft class rather than him as a player.

Many have called this draft one of the deepest in years, especially at the skill positions. There are all kind of playmakers in this draft. Hence, it should be no suprise if the value of quarterback as a whole goes down. The defensive side of the ball is not as deep, so I expect teams to pick those players up early and often well waiting to later rounds for offensive skill players.

While this class does have talented skill players, quarterbacks are the position with the most question marks. From Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr, and Blake Bortes to the quarterbacks expected to go in later rounds, each one has their different risks at the next level.

Bridgewater was once thought to have the least amount of risk, but that seems to not be the case. Hence, it would not suprise me if this entire quarterback class slipped to later rounds. Last draft, E.J. Mannuel was the only quarterback selected in the first round, and that was considered a reach by the Bills. Geno Smith felt the same type of fall Bridgewater is facing, as he stumbled to the second round.

My other point is this, maybe Bridgewater and this quarterback class was never that high to begin. It was media who built Bridgewater up, and it is media who is knocking him down. As more and more underclassmen declare for the draft each year, media face an even bigger learner curve trying to catch up to teams with dedicated scouting units. Hence maybe Bridgewater’s draft stock hasn’t fallen, because it was never that high to begin with. Maybe media is only now putting him and quarterback classmates right where they finally belong, in the second round.

In closing, it would not suprise me if Bridgewater falls to the second round, neither would it suprise me if he is selected in the top ten. The same could be said about each of the quarterbacks in this draft. However, the team which grabs Bridgewater in the second round, will be getting a pro-ready, leader and draft day still. I am just finally glad to see what happens, because its draft day…. and we get that much closer to Footbal!!!!

Full Mock Draft

Everyone is coming out with a Mock Draft, as the Draft is tomorrow. However, I have worked on this mock for a while. Unlike most people I let a lot of the talk finish, let free agency happen, and let pro-days happen. Might get some flack for this, but let me know what you think.

 

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1    1    1    Houston    Jadaveon Clowney, Defensive End, South Carolina

Clowney is combination of speed and explosiveness which only comes around once a decade.. Pairing him with J.J. Watt gives Houston a juggernaut pass rush.

1    2    2    St. Louis    Greg Robinson, Tackle, Auburn

Jake Long is coming off of an injury, and protecting Sam Bradford is a priority. The last time they selected a Tackle, No. 2 it turned out horrible, but Robinson is one the best players in the entire draft.

1    3    3    Jacksonville    Khalil Mack, Linebacker, Buffalo

Gus Bradley has won his players and many people in the media. Bradley is building something in Jacksonville, so there is no need to reach for a quarterback here. Mack is a dominant pass rusher to utilize against the division rival Colts who have Andrew Luck.

1    4    4    Cleveland    Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, Louisville

Bridgewater has taken a lot of heat in this pre-draft process. However, his game tape shows him as the best quarterback available. The Browns need a quarterback and should grab the best one rather then wait for the end of the first like they did when they selected Brandan Weeden and Brady Quinn.

1    5    5    Oakland    Sammy Watkins, Receiver, Clemson

Watkins is the most pro-ready receiver in a deep class. The Raiders desperately need playmakers, so why not get the best? He complements the rest of the receiving corps and gives Schaub plenty of throwing options

1    6    6    Atlanta                Jake Matthews, Tackle, Texas A&M

No pass rushers fall to Atlanta, so they grab the best player available. Protecting Matt Ryan is critical, and Matthews has  a lot of potential.

1    7    7    Tampa Bay    Mike Evans, Receiver, Texas A&M

Why not pair two large and dominate recievers, with Vincent Jackson and Evans. Evans can do everything with his size and speed, so he is the best player available.

1    8    8    Minnesota    Derek Carr, Quarterback, Fresno St.

This might be high for Carr, but he has one of the biggest arms out of all the quarterbacks. The Vikings need a quarterback, and Carr will benefit from a season learning with Matt Cassell.

1    9    9    Buffalo                Eric Ebron, Tight End, North Carolina

Ebron is freak at tight end. E.J Manuel needs as many weapons as possible. May be too high for Ebron, but the best receivers are already taken

1    10    10    Detroit                Taylor Lewan,  Tackle, Michigan

The local kid, and best player available. Lewan is nasty and should fit nicely for the lions.

1    11    11    Tennessee    Justin Gilbert, Corner, Oklahoma St.

They lost Alterraun Verner who was their pro-bowl cornerback. Gilbert is the consensus top corner and if he is available the Titans should not think twice.

1    12    12    New York Giants Aaron Donald, Defensive Tackle, Pittsburg   

Giants get an achor for their defensive line after losing Justin Tuck and Linvai Joseph to free agency. This makes sense for the Giants and for Donald

1    13    13    St. Louis     Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville

The Rams need help in the secondary, and Pryor has the highest ceiling of the top Safeties. HaHa Clinton may be the most pro-ready safety, but Pryor could wind up with the better career.

1    14    14    Chicago     C.J. Mosley, Linebacker, Alabama

The Bears’ defense is transitioning into a new era, so Mosley can be the face for years to come.He is a smart and physical linebacker, which is something the Bears have always coveted.

1    15    15    Pittsburgh     Anthony Barr, Linebacker, UC Los Angeles

Pittsburgh loves pass rushers, and landing one with as much upside as Barr is too much to pass up. He would be a nice scheme fit, and an immediate pass rushing threat.

1    16    16    Dallas                 HaHa Clinton, Safety, Alabama

The Cowboys have needed a safety the past few season. Clinton in the mid round is solid value, and he has enough experience to contribute from day one.

1    17    17    Baltimore     Zach Martin, Tackle, Notre Dame

Baltimore is a tough selection. Having lost Michael Ohr in free agency, Martin is a pro ready right tackle or guard for a team that needs help opening lanes in the running game.

1    18    18    New York Jets     Odell Beckham Jr. Receiver, Louisiana State

Beckham does a lot on the field for an offense and special teams. Whoever is quarterback needs more weapons. Beckham adds some much needed explosion to the Jets offense.

1    19    19    Miami                 Timmy Jernigan, Defensive Tackle Florida State

From their own backyard, they snag a big and athletic nose tackle. This may be high for the Jernigan, but he is coming off a dominate year and national championship.

1    20    20    Arizona    Blake Bortes, QB, Arizona

Great news for Arizona. A big body and big arm quarterback falls into their lap. Bortes is a raw prospect, but the Cardinals can give him a year or two to learn the ropes of the NFL.

1    21    21    Green Bay     Ra’ Shede Hageamon, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota

Green Bay desperately needs athletes on defense, and he is a monster. Hagemon’s value falls all over the place, but his potential is too much for Green Bay to pass up, here.

1    22    22    Philadelphia     Brandin Cooks, Receiver, Oklahoma State

The Eagles need a receiver, since they let go of Desean Jackson, Chip Kelly loves speed and Cooks is a speedster who can plays anywhere on the field. Eagles go out and get a guy who can make an immediate impact, despite the depth at receiver in the class.

1    23    23    Kansas City     Marqis Lee, Receiver, Southern California

The Knock on Marqis Lee is he does not dominate any one aspect of the game. His hands may be shakey at times, but he can make plays on special teams and on offense. Lee will thrive in the number two role across from Dwayne Bowe.

1    24    24    Cincinnati     Kyle Fuller, Corner Back, Virginia Tech,

Fuller has the most potential of the corners remaining. The Bengals need some youth in their secondary, and Fuller should have time to learn.

1    25    25    San Diego     Brandon Roby, Corner Back, Ohio State

Roby comes with some off-field issues, but has flashed dominance at times. San Diego desperately needs a corner and Robys potential is too much to pass.

1    26    26    Cleveland     Darqueze Dennard, Corner Back, Michigan State

Dennard is knocked for not having a high ceiling at the next level. Combined with limited athletic abilities, there are questions about him relying too much on physical play. In this spot though he can be Joe Hayden’s counterpart.

1    27    27    New Orleans     Dee Ford, Defensive End, Auburn

If Dee Ford can do any one thing it is rush the quarterback. New Orleans needs a pass rusher, even if there are questions about Ford’s size.

1    28    28    Carolina     Morgan Moses, Offensive Tackle, Virginia Tech

Carolina’s most noted subtraction is Steve Smith, but they also lost their pro bowl left tackle. Moses has the skills to be a dominant offensive linemen, and Cam Newton could use the help.

1    29    29    New England     Louis Nixx III

30    San Francisco     Jason Verrett, Cornerback, Texas Christian

Verrett may be undersized but his game tape doesn’t tell that. He is a value for the nickel corner, and the niners needed a corner after Carlos Rodgers left. Despite his under six foot frame, Verrett competes and the niners will like that.

1    31    31    Denver                 Ryan Shazier, Linebacker, Ohio State

Shakier had a highly decorated career in college. His run instincts would be a great addition to defense poised for a playoff run.

1    32    32    Seattle                 Kony Ealy, Defensive End, Missouri

Seattle lost many components of their pass-rush to free agency. It should be their top priority, and they should be happy to grab Ealy who is a well-rounded football player.

2    1    33    Houston    Johnny Manziel, Quarterback, Texas A&M

Everyone talks about Manziel being the next Drew Brees or Russell Wilson. Yet, those guys were not drafted in the top of the draft. Manziel shouldn’t be either, so the top of the second round is great value.

2    2    34    Washington    Jimmy Ward Safety, Northern Illinois

2    3    35    Cleveland    Davonte Adams, Reciever, Fresno State

2    4    36    Oakland    Kyle Van Noy, linebacker, BIrmingham Young

2    5    37    Atlanta                Demarcus Lawrence, Linebacker, Boise State

2    6    38    Tampa Bay    Jawuan James, Tackle, Tennessee

2    7    39    Jacksonville    Zach Metternberger, Quarterback, Louisiana State

2    8    40    Minnesota    Xavier Su’a Fila, Offensive Guard, UC Los Angeles

2    9    41    Buffalo                Cyrus Kouandijio, Tackle, Alabama

2    10    42    Tennessee    Jeremy Hill, Running Back, Louisiana State

2    11    43    N.Y. Giants    Allen Robinson, Reciever, Penn State

2    12    44    St. Louis    Kelvin Benjamin, Wide Reciever, Florida State

2    13    45    Detroit                Jace Amaro, Tight End, Texas A&M

2    14    46    Pittsburgh    Donte Moncrief, Reciever, Ole Miss

2    15    47    Dallas                Scott Chrinton, Defensive End, Oregen State

2    16    48    Baltimore    Cody Latimor, Reciever, Indiana

2    17    49    N.Y. Jets    Joel Bitinio, Guard, Nevada

2    18    50    Miami                Jack Mewhort, Tackle, Ohio State

2    19    51    Chicago    Phillip Gaines, Cornerback, Rice

2    20    52    Arizona    Deone Buchanon, Safety, Washington State

2    21    53    Green Bay     Austin Sefred Jenkins,Tight end, Washington

2    22    54    Philadelphia    Stephon Tuitt, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame

2    23    55    Cincinnati    Cameron Flemming, Offensive Tackle, Stanford

2    24    56    San Francisco    from K.c. Dominique Easley, Defensive Tackle, Flordida

2    25    57    San Diego    Jeremiah Attaochu, Linebacker, Georgia Tech

2    26    58    New Orleans    Weston Richburg, Center, Colorado State

2    27    59    Indianapolis    Carl Bradford, Linebacker, Arizona State

2    28    60    Carolina    Martavis Murphy, Reciever, Clemson

2    29    61    San Francisco    Marcus Martin, Center, USC

2    30    62    New England    Jordan Matthews, Wide Reciever, Vanderbilt

    31    63    Denver                Charles Simms, Running Back, West Virginia

2    32    64    Seattle                Marcus Smith, Defensive End, Louisville

3    1    65    Houston    Tre Mason, Running Back, Auburn

3    2    66    Washington    Chris Smith, Defensive End, Arkansas

3    3    67    Oakland    Will Sutton, Defensive Tackle, Arizona State

3    4    68    Atlanta                Troy Niklas, tight end, Notre Dame

3    5    69    Tampa Bay    Gabe Jackson, Guard, Mississippi State

3    6    70    Jacksonville    Bishop Sankey, Running Back, Washington

3    7    71    Cleveland    Kareem Martin, Defensive End, North Carolina

3    8    72    Minnesota    Vereen Brock, Safety, Minnesota

3    9    73    Buffalo                Jarvis Landry, Reciever, Louisiana State

3    10    74    N.Y. Giants    Carlos Hyde, Running. Back, Ohio State

3    11    75    St. Louis    A.J Mccarron, Quarterback, Alabama

3    12    76    Detroit                Keith McGill, Cornerback, Utah

3    13    77    San Francisco    from Tennessee Stanley-Jean Baptiste, Corner, Nebraska

3    14    78    Dallas               Paul Richardson,Reciever, Colorado

3    15    79    Baltimore    Terrence Brooks, Safety, Florida State

3    16    80    N.Y. Jets    Dion Bailey, Safety, Southern California

3    17    81    Miami               Ego Ferguson, Defensive Tackle, Louisiana State

3    18    82    Chicago    George Uko, Defensive Tackle, Southern California

3    19    83    Cleveland    from Pittsburgh Chris Boreland, linebacker, Wisconsin

3    20    84    Arizona    Bruce Ellington, Receiver, South Carolina

3    21    85    Green Bay    Jared Abbredis, Receiver, Wisconsin

3    22    86    Philadelphia    Christian Kirskey,  Linebacker, Missouri

3    23    87    Kansas City    Dakota Dozier, Guard, Furman

3    24    88    Cincinnati    Trent Murphy, Defensive End, Stanford

3    25    89    San Diego    DaQuan Jones, Defensive Tackle, Penn State

3    26    90    Indianapolis    Brandon Coleman, Receiver, Louisville

3    27    91    New Orleans    Marcus Roberson, CornerBack, Florida

3    28    92    Carolina    Jaylen Watkins, Cornerback, Florida

3    29    93    New England    Travis Swanson, center, Arkansas

3    30    94    San Francisco    Telvin Smith,  Linebacker, Safety, Southern California

3    31    95    Denver               David Yankey, Guard Stanford

3    32    96    Minnesota    from Seattle Bashaud Breeland, cornerback, Clemson

3    33    97    Pittsburgh    compensatory pick Pierre Desir, cornerback, Lidenwood

3    34    98    Green Bay    compensatory pick Craig. Loston Safety, Louisiana

3    35    99    Baltimore    compensatory pick Lashead Seastrunk, running back, Baylor

3    36    100    San Francisco    compensatory pick Jimmy Garoppolo,

Terrelle Pryor trade makes sense

Here is a column I wrote for my school paper.

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Original post- http://sundial.csun.edu/2014/04/seahawks-make-smart-move-with-low-cost-aquisition-of-raiders-pryor/

 

NFL teams began their quest for Super Bowl XLIX Tuesday with the beginning of offseason training activities (OTA). OTAs are teams’ first opportunity to welcome new players and assimilate them with team culture.

The defending champion Seattle Seahawks added one more new addition, by exchanging a seventh round pick in this year’s draft to the Oakland Raiders for quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Oakland’s short-lived Pryor saga comes to an official end, despite Pryor’s show of promise as playcaller.

His departure signifies the end of an era, as Pryor was the last player ever selected by Al Davis, Raiders’ legendary owner and figurehead. Davis selected Pryor in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft, after Pryor was suspended for a well known violation of NCAA rules.

Davis died later that season and would never see Pryor play a down of football. Neither would Davis be able to develop Pryor into the running and passing threat Davis envisioned when he selected him.

In fact, The Oakland Raiders never did Pryor any real justice as the developmental quarterback of the future.

The same year as Pryor’s selection, the team acquired Cincinnati Bengals “retired” quarterback Carson Palmer for an attempt at a playoff run. Exchanging a first and second round pick for Palmer sealed the team’s fate to the former Bengals’ quarterback for a season and half, while Pryor mainly sat on the bench.

Last off season, the Raiders said goodbye to Palmer, and added Seattle’s then back-up quarterback Matt Flynn. Then the team drafted a quarterback in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, and signed undrafted free agent Matt McGloin. However, Pryor successfully won the starting position, despite coaches handing Flynn the job initially.

Even after winning the job and almost upsetting the Indianapolis Colts in week 1 with a record-setting performance, Pryor was benched in favor of McGloin, after a knee injury and struggles with defenses’ adjustments to his running ability.

This off season, the Raiders traded for veteran Matt Schaub to be their starter. Combined with the Raiders interest in quarterback prospects in the draft and their fascination with McGloin, the Pryor trade was a foreseen conclusion.

The Oakland Raiders are lucky to have even gotten a seventh round pick for Pryor. The media and NFL knew Pryor had requested for a trade. It was not a secret that Pryor and Raiders’ head coach Dennis Allen did not mesh well. Pryor’s preference to improvise with running plays always seemed to throw Allen’s game plan for a loop.

Whether or not Pryor succeeds in the league, it was time for the Raiders to move on from Pryor. The team believes in Schaub and McGloin enough that Pryor’s play making ability would have wasted on the bench.

It is a shame the Raiders bid the 24-year-old goodbye, because he showed promise in his first few starts.  Sure Pryor struggled in his first season starting, but the Raiders never gave the raw prospect a real chance at growth from the experience the same way other current Pro Bowlers have been given early in their career. The Raiders need offensive play makers, but they effectively traded away one of their best.

As for the Seahawks, they added a play maker for a bargain price. Having coached at USC when Pryor was dominating high School and college football, Carroll is familiar with the type of person Pryor is. Seeing an inevitable release from the Raiders, the Seahawks would not have given the Raiders a draft pick for Pryor if they didn’t think he added something to their team.

Until the  Raiders, Pryor never had anyone work on his quarterback mechanics. Having relied on his athletic ability throughout his playing career, Pryor had a substantial learning curve. Yet Pryor’s god-given talent and size makes his ceiling unlimited.

Even with the turmoil in Oakland, Pryor never complained or made excuses. He showed his skin as a true competitor and deserves to be in a situation where he can develop as a quarterback.

Pryor joins a unique Seahawks’ culture which inspires competition, at every level. No, Pryor will not end up as the starter, because that is young phenom Russell Wilson’s job. Yet, Pryor could easily unseed Tarvaris Jackson as the back-up, and excel if Wilson were ever to go down with an injury.

Added, Pryor’s unique skill set gives the Seahawks another running option in scoring situations. Plus, his size and ability resembles a quarterback the Seahawks play twice a year in San Francisco 49er’s Colin Kaepernick. The Seahawks can use Pryor’s dual-threat skills to prepare for their division rivals, the 49ers.

Seattle offers a scenario for Pryor that he never had in Oakland. Pryor finally has an opportunity to develop. Not only does the Seahawk’s offense suit Pryor’s ability, but he can learn from Carroll and Wilson without pressure to produce. Either Way, Pryor’s opportunity in Seattle may be his last chance to live up to the hype generated from his playing days at Ohio State.

Even if Pryor does not fit with the Seahawks, and they are unable to utilize his potential then they can simply cut him. The Pryor trade offers Seattle a high-reward playmaker at a low-risk price.

Five Available Free Agents Raiders Should Consider

The marquee names and signings have already been sucked out of the Free Agency Market. Yet, the Raiders were a team desperate for depth last season, combined with raised expectations from management and fans, the Raiders could do well to continue looking at the Free Agent Market. Most of the players available are young players looking for one more chance to disprove the bust label or veterans looking for one last pay day. There are plenty of guys with injury or off-field concerns, but could be low risk-high reward additions. Considering they still have some of the most money available to spend, here are five of the best free agents who could fufill a need.

1. Anthony Spencer DE/OLB Cowboys

Two seasons ago, Spencer racked double digit sacks playing across from Demarcus Wate. His career in Dallas rewarded him with consecutive franchise tags, but that ended once he suffered a season ending knee injury. Something must not be right healthwise, for Spencer to still be available. However, Spencer maintains value as a pass rusher. Evident by the Raiders attempt to lure Jared Allen, they are not afraid to stack pass rushers. Spencer fits the 30 year-old, something to prove veteran player build Reggie McKenzie has acquired all free agency. He possess value as a right end behind Justin Tuck, a LEO behind Woodley, or even a Sam LB behind Sio Moore. Spencer’s versatility could be had for a bargain price now, as he continues to heal up. Jason Tarver could do well having SPencer at his disposal for any of the mentioned relief roles. Could also push those guys for playing time, either way the Raiders can not have enough Depth up-front.

2. Kevin Williams DT Vikings

Kevin Williams has spent his entire career stuffing the run, racking up pro-bowls, and being a constant professional for the Minnesota Vikings. Williams has not turned his cheek on the Vikings, but seeing their acquisitions paints the picture on the wall. The Raiders did well, re-upping with run stuffer Pat Simms, but he has nowhere near the decorated career Williams holds. As mentioned before, the Raiders need bodies up-front, and Kevin Williams is still a big and capable one technique. Having him rotate with simms should give the Raiders no excuse for not dominating against the run. Williams may still have enough to bounce into the 3 technique and really scare some interior linemen.

3. Pat Agerer ILB Colts

The former second round pick of the colts has struggled to stay on the field. Signing him would mean the Raiders are banking on his health, but even if he gets hurt again, the Raiders could simply cut him. Adding Agerer would keep Nick Roach honest by having competition. Depending on where you fall on the spectrum, you either love or hate Roach, but having Agerer as an alternate would improve the Raiders Defense. If Agerer pans out the two could be used in combination as inside backers in 3-4 fronts, or Roach could move back to his natural position, Weakside Backer.

4. Terrance Cody NT Ravens

Cody has not been the dominate nose tackle he was suppossed to be since being drafted from Alabama. He is still a huge presence (literally) and only 27 years old. Maybe he can finally become motivated to be the player her was suppossed to be. Adding him as a true Nose Tackle will insure blocks will be eaten up(not literally), which is good considering our linebackers are not the best at taking up blocks. Cody will probably never be a great pass rusher, considering he has never registered a sack, but his size could mean freeing up other blockers for runs at the QB in Tarvers scheme.

5. Thomas DeCoud Safety Falcons

There are a lot of starts still available in the Safety Market. However, their is also a lot of age as well. DeCloud sticks out because he is only 29 years old and has a pro-bowl to his name. Last season was a downer in Atlanta, but he should be able to compete with Usama Young for Charles Woodson’s relief and Special Teams play. Why make a move for another safety? Woodson is not getting any younger, and Usama Young suffered a long injury last season. Young could do well with a little competition from DeCloud.

Disclaimer: I left out guys like Erin Henderson and Fred Davis because even though they have talent, McKenzie’s track record shows he is not a fan of off-field baggage. Added Santonio Holmes, Kellen Winslow were left off for their big heads not fitting the culture of the Raiders. Jermichael Finley has to be cleared before I consider him if I am the Raiders. Darryn Colledge was the next name to not make this list. Colledge is familar with McKenzie from Green Bay, but the Raiders have already added so much OLine, I am not sure if more help is on the way.

Other notables: Adrian Wilson, Yeremiah Bell, Terrell Thomas, Miles Austin, Sidney Rice,Quintin mikell Davin Joseph, Harvey Dahl, Uche Nwaheri, Daryn Colledge.

All in all, I think the Raiders will probably wait until the draft before adding more free agents. I am sure they want to see how the draft pans out before adding more depth acquisitions

A Raiders Fun Friday

Jones-Drew signs with Raiders earlier today, via Raiders.com

Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie did not waste any time on his Friday, and cleared his to-do list by signing two more veteran defensive linemen and running back.

I took some time to address a potential Free Agency signing for the Raiders, with Desean Jackson, but the Raiders already brought someone home to the bay-area.

Former Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew signed with Oakland for a 3 year deal, after spending his high school years in the bay and college years at UCLA.

MJD has shown some decline over the past seasons with injury, and he has a lot of miles of him. However, the undersized back is still capable of taking the ball to the house when he touches it. He has capable hands and is not afraid to pass block, which gives him value on third down.

I expect him to compete with Darren McFadden for time in the backfield. I think the result will be the two having split series. They have a similar skill set with down-hill running ability and versatility. At worse, Jones is a great insurance policy for McFadden’s reoccuring injuries. At Best it gives the Raiders two dynamic playmakers to hand the ball to. It is clear McKenzie is building a team that can pound the rock with the signing of the two RBS and offensive linemen.

McKenzie continued his trend of building a physical team by signing two more defensive linemen for depth. Pat Simms returns after probably being undervalued in the Free Agency market.

Last Year, Simms was a run stopper for the Raiders, but I think he is better in a reserve role. The Raiders have enough pass rushing options with Smith and McGee on the inside that Simms should play less 3rd downs and focus on gasing it in run situations. His big body gives the Raiders defense resatility for 4-3 or 3-4 fronts, but he can also eat blockers and allow the linebackers to make plays.

CJ Wilson, a defensive end who spent his career with the Packers, was also signed today. Wilson has some starting experience, but does not have a lot of sacks. That is normal for an end in a 3-4 defense so it should not be alarming. Luckily, is only 26 years old so he still has some potential. His signing is so Reggie McKenzie, but it is probably a result of the Raiders missing out on Alex Carrington early in the week.

Wilson is probably another add for depth. He has some versatility and will probably back up Antonio smith as a 3 technique or end in running situations.

Overall, Friday was a great day to be a Raider Fan, hopefully McKenzie can build on today headed into the week by signing Desean Jackson.

The Matt Schaub Situation

Raiders new starting QB Schaub address the media via Google images.

Last week, The Oakland Raiders acquired their starting Quarterback, Matt Schaub, from the Houston Texans for a draft-pick in the sixth round.

Matt Schaub was once the promising back-up for the Atlanta Falcons in the glory days of the Mike Vick Era. He was then traded to the Texans some seasons ago to become their starter.

In Houston, Schaub was a two-time pro bowler and had a QB rating in the top ten (Schaub Supporters won’t let you forget it). For the most part, Schaub was not an elite QB, but definitely above average as he lead the Texans to a few playoff births with the help of JJ Watt, Brain Cushing, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, and other key Texans’ Players. 

Many of us do not remember those days as vividly as we remember Schaub getting booed by him home crowd after an aparent injury. In a league based on ‘What have you done for me lately,’ I remember Schaub’s consecutive pick-six interceptions in four games last season, before being benched for a late-round rookie. 

In my eyes, even Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman are better options. Freeman was a one time pro-bowler, and Sanchez has an extensive playoff resume. Both are farther from 30 then Schaub (and Schaub is over 30). Even though both fell out of favor with their previous regimes due to off-field issues and on-field performance, under the age of 28, both guys have more potential for growth then Schaub.

The last capable starter the Raiders had was a young Jason Campbell who fell out of favor with the previous regime, and I think Sanchez or Freeman could have had a similar effect. Even after all Schaub and Freeman had been through, I am not sure either lost as much confidence as Matt Schaub did after fans booed him. Maybe they did not fit the scheme as well, or were not worth the hassle, but who the Raiders did not get is an entirely separate issue.

My problem is not with Schaub as a Quarterback. I understand he is the big, strong-armed quarterback capable of managing games and getting the ball to his play makers. I understand the familiarity with Gregg Knapp’s offense in Oakland, and I understand he is a more reliable option for managing defensive games, while being more predictable for the coaches to predict. 

Added, Schaub has been relatively successful in the league, possessing pro-bowls, playoff births, and a high QBR. However this is the Not For Long(NFL). Yes, there were not many viable options for a starting QB in Free Agency or the Draft, however that does not mean you give the job to the first semi-capable one that becomes available. 

The Raiders and Head Coach Dennis Allen have already gone on record as saying Schaub is their starter for this year and possibly years to come. I understand the Allen, Mckenzie, and Owner Davis have urgency for results this season, but their is no telling if Schaub is even capable of being the quarterback he once was.

Do we remember the last Matt the Raiders banked on, Matt Flynn? He was handed the starter job only to lose it in camp, despite being Reggie’s guy and having the highest salary of the other QBs on the Roster. I know Flynn and Schaub are not even close to the same player, but Schaub spent his own time as a back-up, and was only above average/solid/good for a few seasons with the Texans(that seems so long ago).

Schaub lost his job in Houston for good reason, so how can we simply hand this guy the job. Yes it is important for a QB a to handle adversity, but Schaub’s confidence seemed deteriorated after poor results and criticism from fans last season. If he struggles this season, even a little bit, the black hole is going to be even less forgiving, especially considering he is more pricey then any of the guys mentioned earlier.

My thinking is, why wouldn’t you want Schaub to come in and compete for the job? If he is truly capable of being our starter then let him go out and prove it to fans and , more importantly, his own confidence. Handing him the job is not going to do anything for his development. The Truth is Schaub has not seen much development over his past seasons. This last season we seen a huge digression which could have been a product of his team or it could have been the other way around.

Terrelle Pryor has asked for a trade, and I do not blame him. Many say the writing has been on the wall, and this was already a conclusion in process since Pryor fell out of favor with the regime. But why not let Pryor compete with Schaub? Even the undersized McGloin could give Schaub a run for his money, so why acquire Schaub to be your starter?

If Schaub was really the best guy and If he really wanted to be a Raider, why not wait for him to be released? The truth is, Schaub probably would have opted for Kyle Shanahan and the Cleveland Browns, but I don’t think they would have even named him the automatic starter.

Like I said, I do not blame Pryor for wanting out. it is hard to take hits and a beating for a team over a season and then hear they handed your job to someone who has not even beaten you or proven more capable then you. Does anyone remember how we beat Schaub at home a few seasons ago?

Whatever the case is, Allen and Mckenzie are banking a lot on Schaub this season. He may have been the best option for a starting QB out there, but that does not mean he is the best one for the Raiders. Schaub does not have much more potential. No one is even sure if he is the QB we saw last season or the ones from the previous few seasons. Either way, The Raiders will do well to invest in a young QB who can actually compete with Schaub and push him in training camp. Otherwise we may be looking at an uncontested mediocre quarterback with no future at the helm of our Raiders.

If Schaub fails then the Raiders, as a whole will fail. Losing Pryor takes away any other capable experienced option the Raiders have. Sure McGloin is a compeitor and a solid back-up but he is not the playmaker or gamechanger that Pryor is.

Hence, the Raiders are gambling on Schaub, and if he does not succeed then he, Allen, and McKenzie will probably all be looking for jobs next season. The Raiders will then be in exactly the same position they have been the past few seasons, looking for their QB of now and of the future.

Pro-Days not Everything

Blake Bortles performs at combine, and built on that performance with a great pro-day via USA Today
A lot of hype surrounds NFL pro-days. For good reason too, as NFL teams have scouted the top prospects for months, and look forward to an oppurtunity to see them perform live.

For QBs especially, Pro-days are a huge deal because many of the top prospects elect not to throw at the combine. Additionally teams want to see players perform at their best in their own controlled and simulated environment.

Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr all held their pro-days this week. Allen visited the first two’s and is scheduled to check out Manziel’s. Mckenzie has attended Derek Carr and David Fales pro-day.

With That said, the hype has been around Bridgewater and Bortles. Bortles recieved a 10 out of 10 from ESPN’s Ron Jaworski, and many other scouts have sky rocketed him up to the top of the draft boards even as far as the no. 1 pick.

Bridgewater on the other hand, was overwhelming. Mike Mayock said his pro-day was average and did not do anything to his draft stock. Other opinions in the media did add more questions to Bridgewater’s potential after the poor pro-day.

The Reality of the situation tells a different story. Bridgewater attempted throwing without his usual gloves and claimed that had to do with some of his inaccuricies. Bortles smelled blood and absolutely killed his pro-day.

Neither’s performance should really effect their draft status. The fact of the matter is you want to draft a QB because you are in love with him. Once you love a QB you can build your team around him and give him every chance to succeed. If he is your guy then one good or bad outing should not change your opinion of the guy.

Both guys have a compilation of film over the past years which indicate what they are capable of doing in pads, not a tee shirt. What did people expect from the pro-days? Of Course, Bortles is going to impress with his rocket arm, size and mobility. However you can not really answer questions about his ability to make decisions or read defenses until he goes against a live Defense, not on air.

Same thing with Bridgewater. Bridgewater has not been the consensus number one QB because he has the biggest arm. Scouts have liked his decision making and leadership skills. Combined with solid athletecism and a solid arm, many feel like he is the most pro-ready quarterback. One bad day should not change that perception because his game tape indicates otherwise. Not to mention, Bridgewater took negative opinion in stride and has illustrated the bounceback characteristic you want with a QB.

Added, Jamarcus Russell had one of the best Pro-Days ever. There will always forever be guys who look great in tee-shirts and shorts at every level of football. That should not takeaway from what a player does on gameday in a live situation

Either way, Pro-days should not change the Raiders perspective on either of these QB’s. Both have enough gametape to prove they belong in the NFL. The Raiders should not fall out of love with Bridgewater cause of a bad day nor should they love Bortles because of one great day.

The pre-draft process is exactly that, a process. The Raiders need to take the compilation of pro-days. combine performances, interviews, and game tape before gambling on a QB at the top of the draft. Regardless, the Raiders will have an oppurtunity to set up private workouts for either or both of these guys.

For more on my take about the Top Qbs Pro-days, listen to my podcast.

Raiders Keep one of their own

Reports indicate the Raiders boost their D-Block (Defensive Backs0 and are bringing back safety Charles Woodson on a one year deal.

Twitter reacted with Every Raider fan going nuts about the signing. For good reason too. Charles Woodson came in and made an impact for a defense desperate for playmakers and leadership. Woodson also represents a piece from the glory days of the Raiders and having him on the roster makes fans very happy. He embodies what it means to be a Raider, rough and tough.

From a football perspective, Woodson is the versatile Defensive Back Allen and Tarver utilize. He can line-up in the slot or at either safety position. He is not necessarily the kind of threat in coverage he once was, but he still has the range and speed to play safety. His tackling ability is up and down, but they have Tyvon Branch complimenting him at safety to cover those deficiencies.

Leadership wise, we understand what Woodson brings to the table. Reggie McKenzie’s trend is signing football players with Superbowl rings and Charles Woodson has one of his own. A strong Leadership presence will be on each level of Tarver’s defense. The Raiders look to be one of the smartest and versatile defenses in the entire league.

Additionally the Raiders made the re-signing of Usama Young, fellow safety. Young’s two year deal makes him an inexpensive back-up for Charles Woodson. Young started for the Cleveland Browns the year before serving as Woodson’s Back-up. He played well before injury took him out of  the line-up. Young is pretty good on Special Teams as well.

Young is a capable back up for Charles Woodson who should also offer some spot up duty. He recorded an interception and sack providing the kind of versatility to play all over the secondary. Preserving Charles Woodson is important and Young is more then capable of playing in his place.

The move indicates the Raiders are perserving 3 of their four starters from last season and a key back-up in Young. They also add a more season Brandon Ross and Chidekwai. FA Tarrell Brown is an unrated addition and they may even add a rookie to the mix. Dennis Allen specializes in Defensive Backs, so I have high expectations for them. They have the veteran leadership and continuity to be one of the strongest positions for the Raiders and i hope they produce

Raiders End 1st Week of FA with BIG signing

The Raiders capped off the first week of Free Agency by adding some weight named Donald Penn to an Offensive line in need of some help at the left tackle position.

Donald Penn is a former undrafted free agent whom has spent the last few seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Penn chose the Oakland Raiders over the Redskins because he wanted an opportunity to play at left Tackle. Penn has started at left tackle the past few seasons for the Tampa Buccaneers. He has struggled with his weight but he was a pro-bowl alternate a few years ago.

PFF focus has a higher rating on Penn then Veldheer but Penn is aged 31. The move is a low risk one for the Raiders as it is a 2 year deal with less then 3 million a season guaranteed.

Football wise, Penn is a monster. He has a chance to compete with Manelik Watson for the starting position at Left Tackle. With Watson’s history of injury, I am glad to hear the Raiders have a back plan in case Watson gets injured or is unready to be a fulltime starter.

The past couple of seasons the Raiders have wanted establish an imposing bully on the Offensive line. Boothe, Howard, and now Penn are all quality veterans with a lot of experience and even more LBS. The Raiders should finally have the bully to open holes for McFadden, so he can get down hill and take runs the distance.

Best part of Penn’s deal is there are no big cap implications if he is cut after the season. Otherwise, Penn has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove after being cut by the Buccaneers. The Raiders should be able to get Penn’s best football in the twilight of his career.

Donald Penn celebrates after catching touchdown pass in 2012, and adds versatility to Raiders line via google images

Mckenzie builds momentum with Jones signing.

RAIDERS sign former Giant Boothe

Jones joins Mckenzie with Raiders via Raiders.com

The Raiders added another couple of Superbowl rings and versatile weapons to their team in the second week of Free Agency, only this time it was offense.

GM Reggie McKenzie brought in one of his favorite players from his former employee named James Jones. At 29, the former Packer wide-out signed a two year deal worth up to $3.8 million a year. Considering their was not much rumored interest in one of the top wide receivers in Free Agency, McKenzie got himself another steal.

Jones passed up an opportunity to play for  The Panthers in favor of returning to Northern California as he is from neighboring San Jose. Football wise, Jones is a versatile competitor. He is capable of lining up in the slot or in the outside position. He has racked up almost 800 yards the past two seasons catching balls from Aaron Rodgers.

I love this deal because it is another bargain price for someone who is a big time competitor. The cap implications are not the bad, but I hope they do not expect Jones to be a true #1 receiver. Jones’ sure hands make him a reliable target but he is best suited in a complimentary role. 

I hate this deal because of it’s implications for the draft. I would hate to see the Raiders pass up the Clemson Phenom Sammy Watkins because of their depth at the receiver position. With Streater, Holmes, and Moore already there, plus Jones the Raiders have four capable play-makers in the receiving game. Either way, their is so much talent in this draft class when it comes to receiver that I would hate to see the Raiders pass up value in the mid rounds because the position is field.

Therefore, it would not surprise me to see Denarius Moore traded before the season ends. Moore was expected to be the go to guy, and made some big plays while struggling with consistency. Overall he is an Al Davis guy and has concerns with his work ethic which could make him a viable candidate for the trading block. He should have some value as a relatively young receiver who has made big plays in the league. The Patriots or Panthers could do worse then adding him to their receiving corps.

McKenzie was not done with adding Superbowl rings on Monday, as he signed a familiar face. Kevin Boothe was originally drafted by the Raiders in 2006 before being cut for schematic reasons the next season. Boothe went on to start lots of games for the Giants including two SuperBowl rings.

Boothe adds another big body capable of starting in the offensive-line. He is versatile as a center or guard. The veteran will be able to compete at either of the guards positions, while being insurance due to injury.

Boothe is not a Pro-bowler or anything spectacular. He is not a slouch neither, and is a welcomed addition to an offensive-line in transition.

Both of the signings are continue Reggie McKenzie’s trend of signing Veterans who know how to compete and win. He is not signing the most talented players but players who change the losing dynamic of the franchise. Boothe and Jones added to the core of players signed last week are the type of Leaders who can reverse the culture of losing.

I have been critical of McKenzie in the past, but I give him props for sticking to his guns. He is signing quality stop-gap players at a bargain rates in hopes that his draft picks can develop. For my beloved Raiders sake and for his own, I hope McKenzie’s plan works.

He will continue his plan and carry the momentum through the rest of Free Agency. He still has plenty of cap space.

Some Guys on my list who should be on his:

Mike Jenkins

Kevin Williams

Terrance Cody

Erin Henderson,

Henry Melton

Carlos Rodgers

Antonio Cromartie

Donald Penn