Notice that I did not simply say “Draft Preview.” There are doin’s afoot!
First of all, yes, we’re doing this again. Even had I not been however deKinjad last season, I was going to sit it out to read more than write. This season demands to be recorded for history.
We’ll get to the Raiders 2016 free agent haul later. But between that and the 2015 season, there is something different about the Oakland Raiders since I’ve written about them in the past- they are considered to be “good” now. I’ve seen them repeatedly referred to as “intelligently run.” They have no immediate needs in tomorrow’s draft. Soak those two last sentences up a bit. It’s happening.
Today, we’re just talking about tomorrow though. I have two ARMENIAN STEEL LOCKS of predictions for tomorrow;
1) The Cowboys are drafting Ezekiel Elliott
I can tell you this with total certainty because last week some dude rolled into the day-job in full OSU regalia. I asked him where he thought Elliott would end up, and he replied without a pause, “Dallas.”
“Reeeally? Even with their D-line issues, you don’t think they’d go Bosa instead?”
“Well yeah, but Jerry Jones is stupid.”
Ezekiel Elliott to Dallas
2) [Clubber Lang] PAIN [/Clubber Lang]
To be felt by you and I (or just I and I), the viewing audience. This shit is going to be looooooooooong. I’m inclined to say they’ve done a well enough job of speeding up the first round lately. But I remember at least once back in the early or mid-90's they cracked seven hours, and I would not be the least bit surprised if it happens again tomorrow.
This has already been the craziest draft in recent memory with the Titans and Browns each getting a butt-load of picks to swap out the top two spots with the Lambs and Iggles, who intend to draft QBs few people think are worth the prices they paid. Now there are all types of rumors about the Titans trading back up for a tackle or the Browns trading further down, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Everybody is supposedly interested in trading up or down. All these assholes are going to be milking that full fifteen minutes.
Once it goes past six hours, I will be drunkenly yelling at the TV, DEMANDING stupid trades. Actually that will probably start happening about six minutes in. The draft is tomorrow! Quite possibly the most overblown, awesomely dumb thing to get excited about ever. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR MY OAKLAND RAIDERS, you are undoubtedly asking yourself.
Nobody really knows this year. And it’s a beautiful thing.
If there were any safeties with first-round grades, it could have been said there was indeed a potential “need” pick to be made for the Raiders this year. Karl Joseph out of West Virginia was getting talked about as a mid-first pick before a knee injury last year. It had been considered a distinct possibility for him to be there for the Raiders in the second round, but the rumor mill over the past week is putting him back potentially in the first. A lot of people think there’s a lot of value in the second round, and with a lack of needs it would not be surprising at all to see Reggie McKenzie trade down in the first round. If he trades down past pick 25 or so, Joseph may well be the target. The second round is said to be loaded with quality safety talent, and I fully expect the Raiders to take one there if they leave Joseph alone earlier on, with Darian Thompson being a likely target.
If Reggie moves down a little less from the 14 spot, into the lower 20's, it could be for Alabama MLB Reggie Ragland. The Raiders were rumored to have had a strong interest in him at the very beginning of the 2016 draft process. He sounds like everything they supposedly coveted this time last year, a young field general at ILB. The odd thing about Ragland as I’ve been reading up on him is opinions vary wildly on his coverage skills, and given our issues with Curtis Lofton last year that’s going to be a priority when we look at LBs. As usual in the McKenzie era the Raiders haven’t been tipping their hand in the slightest. They never even talked to Khalil Mack or Amari Cooper before drafting them. So who knows what the fuck they’re going to do. There has even been some talk of trading up. I have a feeling that would have been for Jalen Ramsey when it kinda sorta sounded like he was slipping a little for a few days there, but I don’t see us trying to move into the top seven picks, and that’s what that would take. They worked out Myles Jack the other day among rumors his stock is slipping due to his knee. The Raiders trade up a handful of picks for some reason, I think he’d be why.
Odds are that the way the draft is shaping up with quite possibly even Paxton Lynch being taken before the Raiders are on the clock we’ll see a quality player drop to 14 if the Raiders stay there. Vernon Hargreaves would be wonderful, even if he doesn’t have the height we’re looking for in a CB. I have really warmed up to the idea of the Raiders taking Ezekiel Elliott lately, but it doesn’t sound like he’s going to be there. My best guess for our pick up until a week or so ago was that we’d draft the heir apparent to Donald Penn, which probably would have meant Jack Conklin, but he has supposedly been a big riser, likely into the top ten now. Sheldon Rankins at DT is a name I’m hearing a lot that makes sense. I do not think we’d mess with Nkemouttawindow right now, at least not at 14.
Outside of all that, I have about as much of a clue about what the Raiders will do as I do about college football- none.
If we don’t draft a RB by the sixth round... the Marshawn Lynch speculation officially begins, he he he.
Oh, and that other piece of business tomorrow- some group of somebodies in Las Vegas are holding what I believe is a preliminary, non-binding vote on a financing package for a new football stadium. And if that vote passes, word on the street is that Mark Davis will immediately announce his intention to move the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas.
That’s something else we’ll undoubtedly be discussing more later. But as of right now, it clearly ain’t gonna be Oakland, so if it’s gotta be somewhere else... I hope Mark calls a press conference and makes his announcement that he’s moving the team to Vegas with or without league approval at the precise moment the Lambs turn in their card tomorrow night.
Being a Raiders fan has been a long and crazy road, my brothers and sisters, but 2016 (and the early part of 2017?) is going to be some shit.