Will Al Davis draft with his head, his heart or his stopwatch?


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It is impossible to know who will become the next Peyton Manning and who will be the next Ryan Leaf. Sure, Mel Kiper loves to act like he knows, but in the end his guess is as good as mine. Kiper will toss out terms like “projecting” and “evaluating”.  In the end, all those fancy terms mean, in plain English, is “guess”.

This Thursday, the NFL Draft combine will open its doors to countless college football players who will strut their stuff in front of scouts, owners and general managers in hopes of landing their dream job. Bad interviews will dash dreams and fast 40 times will bring the visions of million dollar contracts into focus.

I don’t claim to know much about how to evaluate talent. I, like Mel Kiper, have had my hits and misses over the years. However, being a life long Raider fan, I do feel like I have a pulse on how Al Davis will evaluate and draft.

To me, all drafts involving Al Davis involve three unique factors: the head, the heart or the stopwatch.

Allow me to explain this theory by examining how Mr. Davis might use his #7 overall pick in the ensuing draft:

The Head – If Al Davis were to draft with his head, then he would realize that the only way to build a dynasty is to start in the trenches. Getting a mean defensive lineman is sure fire way to upgrade a run defense that ranked 31st in the NFL in 2008. Or he would also have to put some stock into getting a new offensive tackle to help protect the franchise QB, JaMarcus Russell.

Al’s head pickB.J. Raji, DT, Boston College or Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia 

The Heart – It is no secret that Al Davis has a love affair with his franchise unlike any other owner in the NFL. Therefore, he loves to select players who have some sort of connection to the Raider way of football. With the possible departure of Jake Grove, there would be a hole in the middle of the offensive line that needs to be filled. The hiring of Jim Michalczik to coach the O-Line helps the “Heart” pick to become clear.

Al’s heart pickAlex Mack, C, Cal: Mack is a Santa Barbara native who attended college in the Bay Area and he has a connection to the Raider franchise as he was coached by Michalzcik in college.

The stopwatch – It is no secret that Al Davis places a premium on speed. It is also no secret that the fastest men on the field play wide receiver or defensive back. If Nnamdi Asomugha’s future with the Raiders is uncertain beyond 2009, then it becomes another Al special: the selection of a DB in the first round.

However, the Raider receiving core was a mess last season and there is a definite need for a playmaker out wide.

Al’s stopwatch picksMalcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State or Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois; Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech or Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

In the end, all of this is just preliminary speculation. For now, feel free to leave a few comments of what you think Al’s choice will be and I’m sure we will have to revisit this all over again once the combine has concluded.

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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Alex Mack B.J. Raji Eugene Monroe Jake Grove JaMarcus Russell Jeremy Maclin Malcolm Jenkins Mel Kiper Michael Crabtree Nnamdi Asomugha Peyton Manning Ryan Leaf Vontae Davis