Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

September 2, 2007
Draft was more like draft-and-follow

ALAMEDA - I hate grading drafts. I gave the Raiders an "A" based on their picks, but they wouldn't get that grade based on how things have progressed:

• The first overall pick in the draft, quarterback JaMarcus Russell still isn't signed.

• One third-round pick, defensive end Quentin Moses, didn't make the team.

• A fourth-rounder still is on the physically unable to perform list (running back Michael Bush).

• A fifth-round pick didn't make the team (safety Eric Frampton).

• A seventh-round pick was hurt in minicamp and is on injured reserve (receiver Johnathan Holland).

The Raiders drafted 11 players in April. Tight end Zach Miller (second round) and receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins (third round) figure to help from the start, while fullback Oren O'Neal (sixth round) could be a contributor, as should defensive end Jay Richardson (fifth round).

Injuries happen and note every pick will make the team. But by not getting Russell into camp, his season already is a waste. If and when he shows up, there will be no way for him to get any better since practice time won't be spent catching him up with games to play.

And with no exhibition games left, Russell might not play until 2009 if he signs and the Raiders treat next year like his rookie season.

If the Raiders weren't going to get him in, couldn't they have dealt for Daunte Culpepper (the third-round pick wasted on Moses would have been more than enough) and drafted Calvin Johnson? Moses was the first pick of the third round.

But enough what-ifs and back to what's happening right now.

Tackle Mario Henderson is a third-rounder the team would admit is a project. Bush was taken in the fourth round but might not play until next year.

Cornerback John Bowie came in the fourth round with the pick from the Randy Moss trade. He's buried on the depth chart after missing a lot of time with an Achilles' tendon injury.

I still like the Bush pick, but there's no reason a team should ever draft a player who can't make the team in the third round.

Moses was the first pick of the third round. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said the Raiders "stole" by taking him that low in the draft.

Head coach Lane Kiffin said the Raiders couldn't block him in training camp.

In the end, they didn't even want him.

Great teams build through the draft. Kiffin's first draft in the end might be determined by how two players who probably won't play this season (Bush and Russell) eventually perform.

You've got to give the Raiders an incomplete right now.

- Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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