Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

April 30, 2011
Day 3 is done

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA - Some quick hits to wrap-up the NFL Draft.

*The Raiders needed offensive line and secondary help and used four of their picks on those areas with two offensive linemen (Stefen Wisniewski, Joe Barksdale) and two cornerbacks (DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa).

*Barksdale said he first met Wisniewski in high school and that they'd already discussed getting back in town whenever they were allowed to so they could begin learning the offense.

*I really like the Taiwan Jones pick. He wouldn't be the kind of complement Michael Bush was to Darren McFadden, but the Raiders could probably get by using Marcel Reece in that role if needed.

*Coach Hue Jackson said WR David Ausberry could get up to 260 pounds and become a good tight end. Right now he'll be a wide receiver.

*The media didn't speak with TE Richard Gordon today but his teammate at Miami, Van Dyke was in town. Gordon only caught 10 passes in his career, but has great speed.

Van Dyke likened Gordon (6-4, 265) to San Diego Pro Bowler Antonio Gates. Gates was undrafted out of Kent State after playing basketball instead of football for the school.

"We do one-on-ones, the safeties can't go against him cause they can't guard him, so the corners go against him," Van Dyke said. "So he's a great guy, he's a good athlete and hard working, so I'm glad he's on our team."

April 30, 2011
USC WR-TE is final pick for the Raiders

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders used their final draft pick (241st overall) on USC wide receiver-tight end David Ausberry.

Ausberry (6-4, 235) was one of the most highly touted wide receivers out of Lemoore High School. He was moved to tight end last spring. Ausberry caught 20 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns for the Trojans.

Ausberry is the second player Oakland had drafted that played for former coach Lane Kiffin. Tennessee receiver Denarius Moore spent the 2009 season with Kiffin.

Now we wait for Hue Jackson's final meeting with the media today, where he'll talk about the players drafted today and can explain what position Ausberry might play for the Raiders.

April 30, 2011
Speedy tight end is the latest pick

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA - The Raiders aren't necessarily concerned with statistics if a player fits what they like, and that appears to be the case with sixth-round draft pick, Miami tight end Richard Gordon.

Gordon (6-4, 265) had 10 career catches, but has reportedly been timed at 4.66 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That's the stat the Raiders care about, right?

Gordon was a fifth-year senior in 2010 after an injury ended his 2009 season after one game.

April 30, 2011
WR Moore is the newest Raider

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA - The Raiders added a wide receiver in the fifth round with Tennessee's Denarius Moore.

And yes, Moore can run fast.

Moore (6-0, 194) led the Volunteers with 981 receiving yards and nine touchdown catches. Moore, who ran his 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds at the NFL Combine, averaged 20.9 yards per catch. Moore has been timed as low as 4.39 seconds in the 40.

He had two games with more than 200 receiving yards last season with a best of 228 yards against South Carolina, the second-best total in Tennessee history.

Moore played for former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin during the 2009 season.

April 30, 2011
Raiders find speed on offense

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders selected Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones. Jones was timed between 4.27 and 4.35 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day two weeks ago.

Jones was the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year. He's from the Bay Area, listing his hometown as Antioch.

Jones ran for 1,742 yards and 14 touchdowns before breaking his foot during the FCS playoffs.

April 30, 2011
Raiders add more speed

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA - The Raiders added more size and speed to their secondary in the fourth round with Ohio State cornerback Chimdi Chekwa.

Chekwa (6-0, 191) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds at the NFL Combine, tied or third among defensive backs.

The Raiders have selected two cornerbacks, both of whom were among the fastest at the Combine in the 40-yard dash. DeMarcus Van Dyke was a third round pick and ran the fastest time at the combine (4.28 seconds).

April 29, 2011
Day 2 wrap-up

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA - Here are some quotes from the second day of the NFL Draft.

Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State
On moving back to center after playing guard this season at Penn State:

"I'm comfortable with that. I mean, I had a whole year there and I felt good playing the position. I moved back to guard for this year, because our team needed that, but I feel good at center, I've been working on it a lot lately, too. Not too rusty. I think I'll be fine there."

On playing for his uncle Steve, who is an assistant offensive line coach with the Raiders:

"Oh, he's not going to go easy on me, that's for sure. I'm glad, because he knows what it took. He knows what it takes to be a great offensive lineman in the NFL and he's going to do everything in his power to make sure I become a great one and that's what I'm looking forward to."

Joseph Barksdale, OL, LSU

On any impressions of former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell:

"I wish JaMarcus well. We actually never did play together, but I have spoken with him a couple times and he's a good guy, and I think he'll be successful in his future endeavors."

On what he knows about the Raiders:

"My dad actually told me a lot about the Raiders when I first started playing football, about how you guys have an overall winning tradition but hard-hitting defense and a fast-paced offense. I know a lot about the offensive line tradition as well. I know Oakland has a pretty good track record when It comes to developing offensive line talent."

On why he switched to offense at LSU after being an All-American defensive tackle coming out of Cass Technical High School in Detroit:

"When I first got there, the defensive tackle position was pretty deep ... I went to coach (Les) Miles early and told him I wanted to help make an impact on the team, and he told me - he knew I would be a pretty good defensive tackle, but he said I could be a pretty good offensive tackle as well and suggested moving to offensive tackle because we were pretty thin at the time. So it was pretty much to help the team out."

Coach Hue Jackson

On third-round pick DeMarcus Van Dyke losing his starting job at Miami as a senior:

"Here's the thing, and that's the fun part about this, if you check a lot of these guys, some of these guys have lost their jobs. When you evaluate a player, you evaluate everything. And as we do, just as you do, we do our homework. We go through it all. Obviously, he did lose his job at some point. He also was a starter and played some tremendous football. Sometimes things happen for different reasons. We found those reasons out, so we're very, very comfortable about what happened there at the University of Miami . And we feel very fortunate that this young man is on our football team."

On what happened to Van Dyke's playing time at Miami:

"Well, I'll let him speak to you about that. That's not my job. My job is to make sure that when he gets here that we coach him and coach him great and have him be the best player that he can be for us."

On the excitement he had Thursday about players coming to the facility only to have that change with a court ruling today that put the lockout back in place:

"It's kind of like, you get excited one moment and you've got to go back down the next moment. Yeah, I was excited about getting our players back, and obviously there's been a different ruling and again, one thing we're going to do is always abide by the rules, and there's now a stay in place. The injunction is back in place, and you have to abide by that too. It's unfortunate, I mean, obviously I want our guys as fast as I can get 'em here. And we want to coach 'em. We want to get 'em out there and do what we do, is teach these young men, and drive 'em and push 'em where we think we need to go. But again, there's rules in place. We always have to abide by it. There's 31 other teams that have to go by the guidelines and we will do that accordingly."

*Wisniewski, Van Dyke and Barksdale will be at team headquarters for a press conference Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The only player that wasn't available for a conference call today was Van Dyke.

April 29, 2011
Raiders go offensive line with Barksdale

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA -- Just got from Hue Jackson's final press conference of the day. It also included a conference call with the latest Raider draft pick, LSU offensive lineman Joseph Barksdale.

Barksdale was the second third-round selection by the Raiders, 92nd overall. The Raiders used the pick acquired from New England to draft Barksdale.

Barksdale (6-5, 325) played tackle at LSU but could play guard or tackle for the Raiders. Jackson said Barksdale would begin by playing on the right side at either spot.

DeMarcus Van Dyke was unavailable tonight for a conference call.

April 29, 2011
Raiders go with speed with Van Dyke

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders used their third-round pick on Miami defensive back Demarcus Van Dyke.

Van Dyke (6-1, 176) is also ran track for the Hurricanes and was timed in 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Most pundits seem to see Van Dyke as a project that had a chance to get drafted because of his athletic ability more than what he did on the field.

Van Dyke started three games as a senior with two interceptions.

The Raiders also made a trade, acquiring the 92nd pick overall and the 125th pick from the New England Patriots for Oakland's second-round pick next season.

April 29, 2011
Wisniewski is the pick

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders have selected Penn State offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski with their first pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, 48th overall.

The last time the Raiders didn't have a first-round pick, their first player acquired in the 1989 Draft was Steve Wisniewski, Stefan's uncle, who was selected to eight Pro Bowls with the Raiders.

Steve is an assistant offensive line coach with the Raiders.

Stefan (6-3, 313) was announced as a center but can also play guard. The Raiders need help on the offensive line with left guardRobert Gallery gone and aging Cooper Carlisle returning as the starting right guard.

April 29, 2011
Day 2: Will the Raiders make a trade?

ALAMEDA -- Twitter is "overcapacity" right now so no tweets at the moment. But the buzz on television is the Raiders looking to trade up to select Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Do the Raiders need a quarterback? Not more than an offensive lineman. But this time of the year I have no idea what to believe.

The Raiders have the 48th overall selection, the 16th pick in the second round.

April 28, 2011
Day 1 Wrap-up

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA - Hue Jackson was in a very good mood for a coach with no first-round draft picks.

A lot of that had to do with knowing players will be allowed back into team headquarters for football-related activities including actually speaking to their coaches and picking up new playbooks starting today.

Jackson would like to see every player at some point next week. The official offseason program begins Monday.

"When they get here they'll start getting acclimated to our offseason program," Jackson said. "Getting acclimated to our coaches, just get back into football, just being back in the building and us getting to know them, them getting to know us and starting this process on our journey toward our goal."

As for the draft, Jackson said there were a lot of phone calls and chances to trade into the first round but nothing worked out to the Raiders' liking.

"There was so much phone-calling going on in that room like you wouldn't believe," Jackson said. "There were a lot of opportunities but nothing that really fit for us, for exactly what we wanted to accomplish. Obviously the player has to be there when you want to trade with somebody, and there were several phone calls made but it just didn't fit for us at this time."

The Raiders' first selection is the 16th of the second round, 48th overall. The Raiders also own the 17th pick of the third round, 81st overall.

April 28, 2011
Monitoring the AFC West

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA - The rest of the AFC West has had a chance to select. Kansas City just traded the 20th pick to Cleveland. San Diego selected Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget with the 18th pick. Denver used the second overall selection on Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller.

If the Broncos have a healthy Elvis Dumervil to go with Miller and the Chargers continue to bolster their front, offensive line has to remain a priority for the Raiders.

Seems like I was writing the same thing the last draft I covered back in 2009.

April 28, 2011
Jake Locker?

ALAMEDA -- The biggest surprise of the day came with the Tennessee Titans selecting Washington quarterback Jake Locker.

As a Pac-10 alum (Go Bears) I've always liked Locker. Possibly because I've seen Locker beat Cal twice, but also because I liked what he did with subpar talent around him when compared to his conference rivals.

Oddly enough, Locker's scouting report sounds a lot like the soon-to-be-traded or cut Vince Young. Great on the move, struggles with accuracy.

April 28, 2011
NFL Draft, Day 1

By Jason Jones

ALAMEDA - Did anyone miss me?

I'm back for three days of NFL Draft coverage from my old beat, the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders don't own a first-round pick, but Al Davis loves to be active on draft day. Have to wonder if he's looking to package some future picks to move into the first round.

No surprises through the first four picks, but things are about to get interesting at No. 5. Blaine Gabbert? A trade? We'll find out soon.

I'll be checking in during the evening as the draft progresses, but odds are I won't be busy until tomorrow.

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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