Evaluating the Satele trade

Now that Samson Satele is searching for a home in the East Bay, it is time to take a look at what has been gained and lost in the trade that brought the Hawaiian center from South Beach to the Yay Area.

To begin, let’s examine the details of the trade.

The Raiders traded a sixth round pick and swapped picks in the fourth round with the Miami Dolphins for Satele. The Draft Value Chart reveals that the Raiders took a significant hit in swapping picks in the fourth round with Miami. The Raiders were to select 8th in round 4 which carries a value of 86, whereas the newly acquired pick from Miami, which is currently 26th in round 4, is valued at 50.

Of course, these values are relative to their position overall in the draft and could shift up or down in accordance with the addition of supplemental picks or the removal of picks from other franchises.

The loss of Oakland’s sixth round pick carries a value of 25. Not much lost there, however, the Raiders’ 5th round pick belongs to the Atlanta Falcons due to the DeAngelo Hall acquisition, meaning the Raider draft is now limited to picks in rounds 1-4 and 7.

While the value chart is utilized by teams for trade evaluation, it means little in regards to a team’s ability to evaluate talent and unearth gems in the later rounds.

The Raiders had a definite need at center and would have turned to the draft had this trade not transpired.

Alex Mack of Cal Berkeley and Max Unger of Oregon are considered the top two prospects at center. Mack is expected to be a late first round selection, meaning Unger could be an early second round choice.

However you slice it, the Raiders would have been gambling on either Mack or Unger being available in round two for them since using the #7 overall to select a center was out of the question.

Therefore, losing the 6th round pick and moving down in the 4th would seem a logical trade off in acquiring a center that was originally a second round pick in 2007 and has started in every game of his two year career.

As far as trade value goes, the Raiders did well for themselves in opening their second round options for the purpose of filling immediate needs such as wide receiver, safety and defensive line, all depending on what they do in round one.

Next, the question must be asked, how does Satele fit into the system?

By all indications, Samson is a perfect fit for the zone blocking scheme which values agility and athleticism over size and strength for the offensive line.

Satele is listed as 6-3, 300 lbs, but it is believed that his playing weight is closer to 295. Samson is a pure athlete who ran an impressive 5.24 in 40 yard dash, did 25 reps on bench press and recorded a 33″ vertical at the NFL Draft Combine in 2007.

In addition, the former Hawaii Warrior played both guard positions and left tackle in college and has seen some time at guard in the NFL. He adds versatility and depth to the line, which is always a plus as injuries mount throughout the rigorous NFL schedule.

Another plus is that Satele played in a Miami offense that ran plays out of the “Wildcat formation” which is sure to be included in the Raider playbook in 2009. Having a center with a familiarity to these sets is a big advantage in helping to integrate a new player at such a key position. 

All things being considered, he is ideal for the Raider philosophy and Samson will only continue to grow under the tutelage of Jim Michalczik.

Finally, let’s take a look at why the Miami Dolphins were willing to part with the young center.

It would seem almost too good to be true that the Dolphins would deal a young talent who anchored a line that helped the Miami franchise to the greatest turnaround in NFL history.

Of course, the obvious reason is that the Dolphins had committed nearly $30 million to former Raider center Jake Grove.

The popular belief is that Dolphin Executive VP of Football Operations, Bill Parcells, desired a stronger center to deal with the nose tackles of the AFC East. Thus, Satele became expendable.

Simply put, Samson did not fit the Dolphin scheme. One man’s loss is another’s gain. Satele is a perfect fit for the Raiders and looks to be a fixture for years to come.

Overall, this is a shrewd personnel move by the Raider brass and grades out very well.

One last issue of note is that Satele is rehabbing a shoulder after having had surgery to repair a torn labrum muscle. While the status of his shoulder may give Raider fans pause, the silver lining in this gray cloud is that he played through the regular and post season with the injury.

Bottom line is that Samson Satele is tough guy who is a great acquisition for Tom Cable’s Raiders.

Welcome to the Nation Samson!