The ’09 draft is in the bag and as expected Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are still taking any moment of camera time they can get to lampoon the moves the Oakland Raiders made over the weekend.
While I was not happy with the Darrius Heyward-Bey selection, it had nothing to do with Michael Crabtree at all. In fact, I couldn’t have been happier that the Raiders passed on the Texas Teach receiver. My disappointment stemmed from the fact that B.J. Raji was available and Al Davis passed on him. Just how is that run defense going to improve?
Whatever your opinion is, the facts are that DHB is a Raider and his name was just the first of seven new names to appear in Silver and Black. Here is a rundown of the Class of 2009.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland (Round 1, Pick 7) - Most folks expected the unexpected for the ’09 draft, leave it to Al Davis to deliver it. By picking the fastest receiver in the draft, most felt that Mr. Davis chose his stopwatch over Michael Crabtree’s highlights. Whatever the case, Heyward-Bey is a Raider and Crabtree is a 49er. We’ll debate this for years to come. If there is one fact that went unnoticed by the crack staff of Disney that covered the draft, it was the fact that Al Davis has not drafted a wide receiver in round one since picking a guy from Notre Dame named Tim Brown with the 6th pick back in 1988. Maybe Al knows something Mel Kiper doesn’t.
Michael Mitchell, S, Ohio University, (Roun 2, Pick 47) - As shocking as DHB’s selection was in round one, Mitchell’s name being called in round two was equally befuddling to the Disney commentators. Little was known of the Ohio safety who was not invited to the draft combine and his announcement sent Chris Berman into a fit as he couldn’t find Mitchell’s name in the nice and neat program some production assistant handed to him during a commercial break. Again, Mel Kiper took this pick to task and said he had no business being selected as high as he was. I’m not a draft expert, but since when was it blasphemous to not do what the Mighty Mel says you should? The only complaint with this pick was that the Raiders once again traded with the New England Patriots as they swapped 2nd round picks and the Raiders added another 4th and 6th round pick as well. (If you’ve never seen Mitchell, click on his name above for a great reel)
Matt Shaughnessy , DE , Wisconsin (Round 3, Pick 71) - Shaughnessy is described as being versatile enough to play both end positions and tackle in a three-technique. He’s known to be a hard worker and his biggest question marks might be his lack of great NFL speed on the edges (4.91 40-yard dash) and his injuries during his career in the Big 10. Despite having some serious injuries (broken fibula 2008, ACL tear 2006) Shaughnessy missed very little time.
Louis Murphy, WR, Florida (Round 4, Pick 124) - Murphy might be the best “pro-ready” receiver on a Florida team that included Percy Harvin who was a first round pick of the Minnesota Vikings. As you might expect, Murphy has a track background and ran a 4.43 second 40-yard dash at the combine. In addition, Murphy has great size (6’2″, 203 lbs) and could be a threat to any number of receivers currently on the Raider roster. While picking another receiver might not have been the best bet, Murphy could be a real steal.
Slade Norris, OLB, Oregon State (Round 4, Pick 126) - This is an interesting pick as Norris began his college career as a safety. The Beaver coaching staff was at a loss for what to do with Norris and used him as a pass rusher until making the Oregon native a full time starter at OLB as a senior. Norris looks like he’ll be a special teams contributor initially, but he could push Ricky Brown and Sam Williams for time on the field as well.
Stryker Sulak, DE, Missouri (Round 6, Pick 199) – Sulak is sure to be a member of the NFL’s all-name team if he makes the roster. Stryker is a pure athlete who put up some impressive numbers at the combine including a 4.7 second 40-yard dash, 22 reps of 225 lbs and a 31″ vertical. Not bad for a 6’5″, 250 lbs lineman. Sulak recorded 10.5 sacks as a senior at Missouri and led the NCAA in 2008 with six forced fumbles.
Brandon Myers, TE, Iowa (Round 6, Pick 202) – Myers could fill the need for a blocking tight end to compliment Zach Miller when the Raiders use a double TE set. Not known as a pass catcher, Myers caught the attention of the Iowa coaching staff after scoring 5 TDs on just 21 receptions as a junior. Brandon finished his senior year as the co-leaderof the Iowa Hawkeyes with 4 receiving touchdowns and was an All-Big 10 selection in 2008. Myers was also part of an o-line that opened some massive holes for New York Jets third round selection, running back Shonn Greene.
Go ahead and throw these names into the time capsule. We’ll revisit this class in three years. For now, the biggest question is will these players alone be enough to help round out the roster? More moves are sure to come, as it stands this is Tom Cable’s first taste of the draft and depending on how they perform, it could be his most important.
Topics: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured, B.J. Raji, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, Matt Shaughnessy, Michael Crabtree, Michael Mitchell, Percy Harvin, Ricky Borwn, Sam Williams, Shonn Greene, Slade Norris, Stryker Sulak, Tim Brown, Tom Cable, Zach Miller