Heyward-Bey to the Bay: Raiders draft a receiver with seventh pick


Tom Cable wanted an Escalade. Al Davis bought him a CTS.

After looking over the prospects in the ’09 draft, Tom Cable referred to the top four left tackles as “Cadillacs”.

Most assumed Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, Andre Smith and Michael Oher were the Big Bodied vehicles coach Cable sought.

As it turns out, Al Davis had his eyes on a Cadillac as well, a sports car.

With Monroe and Oher on the board, not to mention another model of Cadillac named B.J. Raji available, and every single receiver in the 2009 draft up for grabs as well, the Oakland Raiders proclaimed Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey to be the best player available given the specific needs of the team.

Heyward-Bey had been on the Oakland radar after a private workout the staff attened more than a week ago. There was definite need to upgrade at  the receiver position.

Jeremy Maclin does not have Raider Speed. Michael Crabtree never worked out, but the consensus was that the Texas Tech prospect had 49er Speed. And so Crabtree went to the other side of the Bay on the first day of the 2009 draft.

Only one player made stop watches freeze at 4.30 seconds.

Darrius Heyward-Bey has Raider Speed. Johnnie Lee Higgins and Chaz Schilens do too.

Another guy who has Raider Speed is the newest safety in town, Ohio University strong safety Michael Mitchell.

Mitchell was not on a name that appeared on many mock drafts before last week, if at all. The man whom Cable described as a “the most ferocious hitter in the draft” was seen as a late round sleeper. The legend of Michael Mitchell had quietly grown during the post-combine workout process, culminating in hearing his name called with the 47th pick of the second round.

Cable actually described Mitchell as a “Ronnie Lott/Jack Tatum-type”. Talk about pressure.

The selections of both Heyward-Bey and Mitchell address some immediate needs for the Raider roster. However, other needs for team still must be met.

The 31st ranked run defense stood to improve with the selection of either Raji or his Boston College teammate Ron Brace. With regards to both defensive tackles, the Raiders passed and opted to pick a receiver in round one and trade down with the Patriots in round two. New England took Brace with the 40th pick they acquired from the Raiders, while Oakland took Mitchell and New England’s picks in the 4th and 6th rounds.

Tom Cable’s offense has everything it could need. That is the message that’s been sent through today’s draft picks.

Heyward-Bey has good size, but his 6’2″ is still looking up to Schilens at 6’4″. Heyward-Bey’s 4.30 40-yard dash is fast, but it’s still slower than Darren McFadden’s 4.27 second dash at the combine. Many question Heyward-Bey’s hands and consistency. Raider fans don’t have to worry about the hands and consistent effort of Zach Miller.

Tom Cable has every weapon he could possibly want and in addition all he’s done this off-season is sign offensive linemen.

Now is the time to address the defense.

Mitchell is a step in the right direction. But is it too late?

At least three years must pass before the value of a draft is shown, so it’s way too early to speculate. Still, one has to wonder if the remaining picks in the 2009 draft are enough to make this defense as potent as the offense.

The fact is that after the first day of the 2009 NFL draft, Tom Cable is driving home in a car and not an SUV like he wanted.

After watching Cable speak at the conclusion of day one, you get the feeling that the head coach likes the combo of power and speed that Mr. Davis bought him. He seems confident that he’ll get exactly what he needs with the five remaning picks he has at a cheaper price than what Heyward-Bey is going to cost Mr. Davis.

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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Andre Smith B.J. Raji Chaz Schilens Darren McFadden Darrius Heyward-Bey Eugene Monroe Jason Smith Jeremy Maclin Johnnie Lee Higgins Michael Crabtree Michael Mitchell Michael Oher Ron Brace Tom Cable Zach Miller

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