Iíve received a lot of input from fans on the Raiders need at defensive tackle and whether theyíd pass on Darren McFadden if heís available when the Raiders select.
As of now, I know the Raiders want to retain Justin Fargas. And while he wonít command the salary of a LaDainian Tomlinson, Fargas wonít come cheap.
This is further complicated by the Raiders mistake of not getting Michael Bush on the field to see if he is a potential franchise running back.
So unless Fargas isnít resigned and Dominic Rhodes and LaMont Jordan are both released, I canít see the Raiders going running back right now.
They would appear to be in a good position to trade down if McFadden is available when they select and save a lot of money.
Whether the Raiders pursue McFadden is a good question. However, thereís no debating the team needs to look at adding receivers.
Question: Jason, first off I read your blog daily, keep up the good job. I wonít hate on you about the "Al" thing.
My Question is about WR, In my opinion Porter is not and never has been a viable option at the #1 slot, Curry is a good #2 and great number #3, and beyond those two I donít see anything good, So what are the Raiders to do? Draft one in the first two rounds, or pick up/trade for a proven Veteran? i.e. Chad Johnson or Roy Williams? I would love to see Williams in S&B (proven work ethic.) Thanks again
Jim, Mackinney, Tex.
Question: The only legitimate starting WR on our roster is Ronald Curry. How is it wide-receiver isn't the area of biggest need for the Raiders? We at least have some bodies on the defensive line.
Answer: Iíll address Chrisí question first. Iíd say the defensive line is a bigger need because itís the foundation of building a good defense, similar to an offense needing a good line.
And until the defensive line is addressed, the Raiders will continue to struggle stopping the run.
Now on to Jimís question.
The coaching staff expected a big year from Curry that didnít materialize. His 55 catches for 717 yards were both below his 2006 numbers.
Thatís not all on Curry. The Raiders started three different quarterbacks. So thatís a big reason the passing game struggled at times and ranked 31st in the NFL.
Curry did have a number of uncharacteristic drops and false starts this season, too. But heíll be the focus of the offense unless the Raiders acquire a player like Chad Johnson in a trade.
But if you believe Bengals coach Marvin Lewis Mr. Ocho Cinco isnít going anywhere.
Also, the problem with that is the Raiders are short on draft picks, having dealt this yearís third round pick (to draft Mario Henderson) and a fifth round pick (to acquire Gerard Warren).
Also trading for a big name receiver means taking on a big contract and Kiffin is big on having salary flexibility.
I agree with Jim's assessment of Roy Williams. Al Davis nearly drafted him in 2004 when he picked Robert Gallery.
Making a deal for Williams makes more sense than Johnson.
Williams will be entering the final year of his contract and the Lions have a lot of money invested in Calvin Johnson. So if the Raiders can trade for him and agree to a new contract, not inherit one, it would be a wise move.
Jerry Porter is likely gone in free agency. Kiffin (admirably, I think) took blame along with the coaching staff for the lack of development in Johnnie Lee Higgins.
I think the Raiders hurt themselves by giving time to Tim Dwight, an aging vet that isn't likely to return in 2008, that could have been used to develop Higgins during his rookie season.
I fully expect Chris McFoy, a receiver from USC that was promoted to the active roster late in the season to be given a chance to make the 2008 team. Kiffin likes big receivers and McFoy is a physical player.
The Raiders need an impact receiver, so much so, I think it trumps the offensive line in order of need for the offense.
As far as the draft, the mock drafts Iíve seen have Cal and former Long Beach Poly star DeSean Jackson as the top receiver, but the Raiders wouldnít take him at No. 3 or No. 4.
Others like Oklahomaís Malcolm Kelly, Michiganís Mario Manningham, Texasí Limas Sweed and LSUís Early Doucet are potential first-rounders if the Raiders trade down.
If one were to slip to the second round, they could step in and possibly start.
In free agency, Chicagoís Bernard Berrian, Jacksonvilleís Ernest Wilford and Arizonaís Bryant Johnson are realistic targets. Players like New Englandís Donteí Stallworth could become available if their teams opt not to pay them large bonuses this spring.
The biggest free agent will be a certain receiver from New England with ties to Oakland.
But donít look for Randy Moss to be back.