The Raiders' Draft Dilemma

The combine is in the bag and everyone’s mock draft has been shook up like a snow globe.

Suddenly, the chance of two of the best prospects in the draft falling to the Oakland Raiders at pick #7 has become a very real possibility. I’m talking about Texas Teach wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Alabama left tackle Andre Smith. Both have seen their stock take a hit and now the free fall could begin.

My question is simple. Are we looking at a gift or could these two be a couple of strobelite honeys?

Michael Crabtree was listed at a Larry Fitzgerald-like 6’3″ at Texas Tech, but at the combine he measured up more like an Antonio Bryant-like 6’1″. Don’t get me wrong, Bryant can ball, but for a #7 pick I was expecting a franchise crabscaliber wide out and not a guy who only looks great in a contract year.

My other issue with Crabtree is the spread offense. Sorry to go Ken Whisenhunt on this one, but it bothers me too. Yes, Crabtree does show some good ball skills and is a dynamo in the open field, but that offense just did him no favors with regards to running NFL routes. Sure, Crabtree put up some sick numbers at Teach but even Raja Bell was dropping 15 a night in Mike D’Antoni’s pick up game style of offense. Thanks for nothing Mike Leach! You and your 5 wide receiver sets did nothing for prepping this guy for being jammed at the line by Champ Bailey.

The other issue is that foot injury. A lot of you have told me that it’s “no big deal”. That it’s a “minor surgery” and “he’ll be fine”. Well, I want to know how he could not know about this until it came time for the biggest interview of his life. I mean, c’mon Texas Teach! You guys let the Ferrari make it all the way to the big car show in Indianapolis and it took the show’s curator to notice there was a flat tire. Maybe the injury itself is no big deal, but to not take action on this until the combine is just in poor taste.

As for Andre Smith…well…I’m not sure where to begin.

Just two weeks ago he was the guy that everybody wanted. Some said he was the best offensive lineman in the draft andrewhile others went as far as to say he was the best prospect regardless of position. His stock was soaring like Google but after his performance (or lack there of) at the combine it’s tanking like General Motors.

Let’s go all the way back to December of 2008 when Andre was suspended for the Sugar Bowl. I don’t even care why he was suspended, that’s not the issue. The issue is that this was his chance to do his thing on the big stage. It was supposed to be a savory appetizer meant to wet the appetites of NFL scouts who now doubt would be salivating for his appearance at the combine.  Instead, he invited a high society crowd to his party and served chicken fingers and warm beer when they expected veal and chilled wine.

So the fact of the matter is that this guy hasn’t suited up since the SEC championship game on December 6th. This could go a long way in explaining why Smith showed up at the combine with a few extra pounds hanging around that soon-to-be million dollar waste line. Not only was Smith out of shape, but he was out of the loop. The guy was MIA when his number was called to run the 40. That’s right; Smith busted a Bobby Petrino and bailed in the middle of the night. At least Petrino left a note. Smith hopped on a 6am flight and was back home watching the combine on NFL Network before anybody realized he was gone.

Andre Smith didn’t work out at the combine because he was not prepared to. How is this possible? How did he not know that he was going to have to get a little prepared for the combine? This would be like getting an interview with Donald Trump for a multi-million dollar job offer and showing up late with a McDonald’s bag in hand instead of a resume!

Oh, by the way, Andre, there are a couple of other guys out there who interviewed with “The Donald” named rosieofatEugene Monroe and Jason Smith. Let’s just say “The Donald” seems to think they’re now finalists for The Apprentice and you’re now Rosie O’Donnell.

So to sum it all up, we’ve got quite a dilemma Raider Nation. We might (or might not) see Crabtree workout before draft day and Andre Smith has between now and his pro day to do a complete 180 and convince Al Davis that he’s worth a million dollar investment.

For what it’s worth, I say stay way from both these guys.

Yes, Crabtree might have the skill, but if Crabtree, his agent and the Texas Tech medical staff had no clue he needed surgery, then all I can say is the NFL needs a “lemon law”.

As for Andre Smith, well, I don’t feel like I need to make much of a case, but here it goes. If this guy had no motivation to get in shape with millions of dollars on the line, then what makes you think he’s going to be pumped up to play against the Houston Texans once he already has his millions in his pocket?

For my money I’ll take Hakeem Nicks over Michael Crabtree and Jason Smith over Andre Smith. Well, I’ll take Kwame Harris back over Andre Smith at this point, but that is another topic for another day.

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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Andre Smith Antonio Bryant Bobby Petrino Champ Bailey Donald Trump Eugene Monroe Hakeem Nicks Jason Smith Ken Whisenhunt Kwame Harris Larry Fitzgerald Michael Crabtree Mike D'Antoni Mike Leach Raja Bell Rosie O'Donnell

  • Al X

    I agree with you on Andre Smith. Hopefully one of the two other tackles falls to us, preferably Jason Smith. I heard he has a nasty streak to him & we could defintely use that on our O-line.  I think we should use the #7 pick on either of the lines. I missed the D-line coverage. Did anyone from the D-line jump impress you?

    I don’t think wide receiver is as big a need @ #7. We still don’t know what Arman Shields can do. He was a higher draft selection than Schillens and he came on at the end of the year I thought.

    Harvin, Macklin & Heyward -Bay all had good combines. Any chance one of them could fall to us in the 2nd round?

  • Chris Shellcroft

    Thanks for the comment, Al!

    I’m big on Jason Smith. I honestly think he’s the best player in the draft. I’d love for him to fall to us, but if not I’ll take Monroe too.

    Raji is, to me, the only guy worth taking in the top 10 as far as D-line goes. I did watch him and the other DTs at the combine and I don’t feel like you can tell much in those workouts for that position.

    Harvin, Maclin and Heyward-Bey look to be first round locks. I’m cool with Higgins and Schilens for now, but if we go receiver in round two I’m thinking Kenny Britt, Brian Robiskie or Ramses Barden.

  • Nate

    Holy shit man, stop with the weak similes and learn some grammar

  • The Dirty Bird

    This should be the year the Raiders take a safe pick in the first round and start to turn this thing around already. The division is weak enough to allow the Raiders to be playoff contenders in a year if JaMarcus Russell can stay on his feet. Go offensive line and allow the QB some time and the running backs some lanes.  



  • Jim

    I agree with bulk of your rant on Smith, but he was not “overweight”. Most teams have his playing weight at 340. He was playing most of 2008-09 somewhere between 350-360.
    Go check the combine numbers. He weighed in at 330. Sounds like his weight was not the problem. You can be at the right weight (your playing weight) and not be ready to workout in front of scouts.

    This is an area of urban myth that has started to irritate me. Jamarcus Russell’s annual report of being 3 bills should surface soon. JMarc has never weighed 3 bills but it will not stop some enterprising columnist to report it.

  • Richard Bentley

    Al should (but will not, as he never drafts linebackers high) draft the best middle linebacker available at #7 and move Morrison to the outside. Then hope everything else falls into place (or at least begins to).  Everything else discussed here or elsewhere is a reach.  He really needs someone to close up the middle on run plays.