Here are my random thoughts on the Raiders for June 26. Enjoy the rambling.
— The more I look at it, the more I like the Raiders draft. Rolando McClain is exactly what Oakland needs. He’s not only big and fast but McClain is a leader on the field. I think he’s going to be a stud from Day 1.
I was watching last year’s SEC Championship Game between Florida and Alabama. McClain was the spy on Tim Tebow for that game. He not only easily ran Tebow down all day, he tossed him around like a sack of potatoes. Anyone who watches college football knows Tebow is not easy to tackle but McClain did a tremendous job of it all game long. I can’t wait to see him on the field this year.
Lamarr Houston was the linchpin of a Texas defense that ranked in the Top 3 against the run the last two seasons. The addition of Houston and John Henderson upgrades the Raiders biggest weakness on defense from a year ago. They should be much better inside against the run in 2010.
The guy I really think has a chance to surprise is Walter McFadden. I saw Auburn play a lot the last couple of seasons and McFadden is a flat-out playmaker. The Raiders already have one of the best corner tandems in the NFL but keep an eye on McFadden. He is one of those guys that always seems to be around the football.
Overall, I think this is the deepest, most talented draft class the Raiders have had in quite some time.
— Michael Bush needs to be the lead dog in Oakland’s backfield. I still believe that Darren McFadden can be an explosive player for the Raiders but Bush has earned the right to be the starting running back.
I look at the Dallas Cowboys as a blueprint. Felix Jones is considered the Cowboys top back but one of the reasons for that is because he doesn’t get worn down throughout the season. I say you let Bush punish defenses and then bring McFadden in to add a spark. Once the defense is tired, McFadden can use his speed to create big plays as both a runner and receiver.
The Raiders have the makings of one of the top 1-2 punches in the NFL if they go about it the right way. In my opinion that means having Bush as the starter and McFadden as the change-of-pace back.
— Jason Campbell is an obvious upgrade over JaMarcus Russell but that’s not saying much. My sister would be an upgrade over Russell. While I think Campbell has potential, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking he was a top-flight NFL quarterback in Washington.
Campbell has shown flashes but other times he’s looked awful. The first order of business for Campbell is to stop putting the ball on the ground. The last thing the Raiders need is another quarterback that is going to turn the ball over at an alarming rate.
In my opinion, Oakland has the makings of a solid defense and a strong ground game. If Campbell can protect the ball and not make stupid mistakes, the Raiders will be in good shape this season.
However, that’s not a given, so Tom Cable would be wise to keep Bruce Gradkowski warm.
— The Raiders have been smart all offseason not signing team cancers like Terrell Owens. Let’s hope they continue that trend and pass on Albert Haynesworth. Guys like that don’t help teams win Super Bowls, they just cause headaches. Put the aspirin away and let some other team worry about that spoiled baby.