Question: Is there a chance of the Raiders drafting Joe Thomas? He's projected to go second right now. I know people say you cannot take an offensive lineman first in the draft, but why not? Is a big-play receiver going to help at this point?
-- Cole Pierce, Tucson, Ariz.
Answer: The main reason I don’t see the Raiders taking Thomas, the big tackle from Wisconsin, is Robert Gallery. Gallery was the second overall pick in 2004 and taking Thomas would be an admission Gallery is a bust after only one season at left tackle. And with Gallery’s confidence already an issue, drafting a player first in the draft that plays his position would only damage his psyche more. A big-play wide receiver like Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson would help, only if the Raiders solidify the offensive line and who is going to be the quarterback. With the mess that was the 2006 Raiders offense, the team could justify drafting a quarterback, wide receiver or offensive lineman.
-- Jason Jones
Question: What do you think the Raiders will do with the first overall pick in the draft coming up? Plenty of talk is going around that Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell are going to Oakland, but with Walter and Brooks making out with the grass, is that really a smart choice? I know that they passed on Leinart and Cutler, who had some success this season, but do you think the Raiders will finally draft a quality QB?
-- Ron Tolentino, Vacaville
Answer: I think the Raiders should draft a quarterback. They were 2-14 last season, so why not start rebuilding at the marquee position? But the Raiders don’t believe in rebuilding. The Raiders have passed on Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler in recent drafts, and all have shown promise at the position. Rivers was named to next month’s Pro Bowl and Roethlisberger won a Super Bowl.
I don’t believe the Raiders can pass on a chance at a potential franchise quarterback again. Sure, a quarterback might not help the team right away, but the Raiders need more than a quarterback to reverse their fortunes. So draft a guy like Russell and let him develop. We often forget Carson Palmer didn’t play at all his rookie year. Rivers played sparingly for two seasons while Cutler and Leinart didn’t begin the season as starters.
Whether the Raiders keep the pick or trade down, a quarterback should be the choice.
-- Jason Jones