Question: Are LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell and Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson high on the Raiders' NFL Draft board? Can they draft both guys, especially now that Randy Moss will surely be traded this off-season?
What about Eric Steinbach and/or Leonard Davis? Would the Raiders be interested in acquiring them?
-- Alex Martinez, Manila, Phillipines
Answer: Russell and Johnson would both fill needs and are on the board because they are Top-5 picks.
It would be hard to draft both players for a few reasons. First being money. It would cost a lot to sign to high draft picks, especially when the Raiders have so much money tied into the offense.
It would also mean making a trade with a team for a high pick while still keeping the first pick in the draft. The Raiders don't have a player so valuable that Detroit, Tampa Bay, Cleveland or Arizona would give up for their first round choice. That would include Moss, who might not be traded. He is coming off his worst season as a pro and his questionable focus, work ethic and high salary aren't likely to draw a high pick in exchange for him.
Steinbach from Cincinnati and Davis from Arizona are bound to be two of the more highly sought after free agent offensive linemen. Davis is a player that never became the dominant left tackle most expected, considering he was the second overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.
Signing Davis would be a surprise since the Raiders already have an underachieving second overall pick at left tackle in Robert Gallery. Davis could come in as a right tackle if Langston Walker leaves via free agency or Gallery could move back to right tackle for Davis. Then again, Davis wouldn't come cheap.
Steinbach would be an instant upgrade at guard, but he will be the top guard in free agency and have his pick of teams. He will command a big salary and should have several suitors.
As far as interest, I think Steinbach would be a bigger priority. The Raiders finished last season with two rookies starting at guard. Steinbach is also a former college teammate of Gallery. Steinbach could aid Gallery's development.
The Raiders interest in Steinbach or Davis all depends on their desire to spend money in free agency.
-- Jason Jones