The Reggie McKenzie era is really just starting to get under way.
Remember what I’m about to tell you right now: the Raiders are going to have one of the top offensive lines in the NFL for the next half a decade at least. Watson is a curious pick to most who feel that drafting a guy who came from England to play basketball and has only played football for a couple of years is crazy talk. That’s understandable. But look at this kid. He’s a MONSTER. He’s got Michael Oher written all over him. Sometimes offensive line isn’t about the football (which can be taught); it’s about all the things this kid already has. He has all the physical tools, lots of smarts (you should listen to him speak, he’s a great kid) and as a soccer player, a basketball player and a boxer, brings a level of athleticism that is beyond just being big, strong and fast. Watch the video. He became a starter and an excellent one in no time at one of the top programs when it comes to offensive line, Florida State. Also, Raiders OL coach Tony Sparano is one of the elite lines coaches in the NFL even if he couldn’t hack it as a head coach; you better bet Watson will learn the position at an elite level. Along with Veldheer and Wiz, this line is shaping up to be a strength of the team moving forward. Very exciting.
Boy, I love this pick. This dude comes out of nowhere and is already talking smack about all the other linebackers in his draft class saying he’s easily the best one. That’s big talk but watch his video; he really is pretty good. Coming from UConn (underrated program as far as defensive players go but that’s another story) he doesn’t get much love but he was an absolute beast at the Senior bowl and was easily the most exciting player on the field, flying all over the place, exploding through the offensive line to find the QB and to chase guys in the backfield. As he puts it, he plays with “juice” and after having rostered lameduck linebackers like McClain and Curry, we’ve got a guy with energy who will likely come in and challenge for an outside position alongside Roach and Burnett. I love football players who play with a chip on their shoulder. This is more of what the Raiders need, not prima donnas expecting star status and treatment.
Understandably, most Raider fans were confused by drafting a QB after we just acquired Matt Flynn and while we’re still rostering Terrelle Pryor. But this move makes all the sense in the world. For one, let’s just be honest: we got a guy here who would have been 1st or 2nd round easily a year ago when many expected him to declare eligibility much like Matt Barkley. Sticking around an extra year and enduring the Petrino circus killed the Arkansas program as a whole and likewise his stock. This is a cheap fourth round pick for what is essentially first round talent. Secondly, Wilson is a tough motha (excuse la francais). He gets knocked around, bounces up and throws missiles. He has mechanics issues with his footwork and loses some oomph on the deep ball and while he is considered to be NFL ready, he isn’t brought in to start right away (Flynn is far more NFL ready). Let him learn, those things are fixable while what he already has isn’t. This is a win. And as far as having Flynn and Pryor around already? Let them all compete. Competition brings out the best in everyone. I have no doubt the best player at every position will emerge and earn the job.
We grabbed two tight ends in this draft and within a short while of each other. I was monitoring the twitter feeds and facebook and I caught a lot of Raider fans (and haters) questioning this. Let me set you all at ease: Kasa is one of the best blocking TE’s in the draft class and is absolutely critical if we are to have a strong running attack this season with the return to the power running scheme. He can catch too but he is primarily a block specialist and is a big, athletic body. The Raiders parted with Myers at the end of last season and are not sold on Gordon or Ausberry (who might be converted back to WR if he cannot compete with newcomers Kasa and Rivera). Either way, worst case scenario is that we have three TE’s instead of one. I like this pick… but not as much as I like the other guy we picked up further down the line 🙂
I cannot wait to watch this guy in silver and black. The great thing about studs from small insignificant programs is that a lot of times, nobody notices them and then you get all these fans who don’t know anything either and don’t really watch any college football to begin with all asking “who?” Well, meet Latavius Murray who is already shaping up to be the steal of this draft for the Raiders. Quick, strong, smart and high character. Able to reverse field. Can explode through to the second level and make safeties and corners miss on big runs even though he doesn’t have elite speed. But he does have above average speed even while being built like a tank. Hard to tackle. A great complement to McFadden. And once the Raiders start getting that power running scheme going again, the combination of McFadden, Murray and Reece will be electric. Trust me on this. This guy is probably my favorite pick of the whole draft.
Kentrell Harris, DE, Virginia Union
Lamar Mady, G, Youngstown State
Kyle Magnuson, OT, Wyoming
Dexter McColl, S, Tulsa
Sam McGuffie, RB, Rice
Kyle Padron, QB, Eastern Washington
Conner Vernon, WR, Duke
Deunta Williams, DB, Cal
Tim Wright, WR, Rutgers
There are a lot of guys that are on this list, all of which are unproven but enticing talents, but the one guy I’m most excited about is WR Connor Vernon out of Duke. I hate comparing guys to existing NFL guys but this is that Welker, Amendola type of WR, great motor, hands, toughness, energy level. The Raiders can certainly use that sort of guy in the offense to add versatility and big play ability. Obviously he’d need a lot of polish as there are some issues with his game but he stands out to me as a guy who can make the team and contribute as part of our young and promising receiver corps.