Question: Greetings from Raider Nation, Mr. Jones. Given the current developments in free agency and where the Raiders are at this point in time, what do think is needed to bring the Raiders back to prominence in the AFC West? What would you do, who would you draft? Is a new quarterback the answer or is wide receiver Calvin Johnson "the man?" Play head coach for a moment and let's see how you would approach the draft and preseason.
- William Morris, Modesto
Answer: This should be fun. Just be warned, I am younger than Lane Kiffin, so I'd go the video game route and go to the create-a-player mode and create some players with 99 ratings.
But once I turn off the PlayStation, I'd draft JaMarcus Russell. Having passed on Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers in recent drafts, it's time the Raiders addressed the position.
I think Calvin Johnson is great. But with the first overall pick, with the amount of money invested at the spot, I think you have to take a quarterback when one like Russell is available. The hard thing for the Raiders is it's almost impossible to tell exactly how good Andrew Walter could be because the offense was so bad at so many levels last season. And no one player is "the answer" for what ailed the offense in 2006, which is why I wouldn't be surprised if the Raiders went with Johnson, figuring giving Walter another weapon would make him look a lot better.
Don't forget, last season was Walter's first on the field. It would be ideal to trade down to get Johnson, but teams trading up likely would eye him, so the best way to get him would be taking him first.
But I guess I haven't really answered the question. I'd draft Russell. Good thing I'm not in charge because I'm sure I'd mess this up.
- Jason Jones