Taking a break from the draft value chart today, to look at how some recent player moves could affect the draft, and how this potentially sets up the Raiders.
There are two positions driving this year’s draft, and it should come as no surprise that they are QB and OT. The face of the franchise and the guy who protects his back, there is a reason that NFL teams place a premium on these two positions.
So how have the recent moves affected these two positions? Lets start with the QB.
IMO, the moves to date don’t affect the QB class. Sure there are some that think that the trade of Cutler to Chicago puts the Broncos in the running for a QB, but I don’t see it. Not with Orton being a great fit for McDaniel’s offense and the large contract given to Chris Sims. I see a late round pick at QB for the Broncos, and the Bears would have been set running with Orton had they not acquired Cutler.
The QB position will drive much of the draft, but the moves are yet to come. So what teams potentially could draft a QB in the 1st round? To me the list looks like this:
Detroit (1, 20)
San Francisco (10)
New York Jets (17)
Tampa Bay (19)
At first glance not a whole lot of teams desperate for a QB, and, IMO, you can take the Jets off this list, as they have 2 unproven youngsters on the roster already, I think they are far more likely to be in play for a veteran.
The intrigue here comes from the potential for a dark horse or three to jump into play. Some of the potential dark horses include:
Seattle (4) – are they sold on Hasselbeck being healthy enough to make another run, or the potential of Wallace to take the reigns if Hasselbeck can’t? Or does the new staff want to start fresh with their own franchise QB?
Cleveland (6)– Is Brady Quinn the future? Giving Anderson his roster bonus this season tells me they aren’t sold yet. Could Quinn be traded, resulting in the Browns taking another 1st round chance on a QB?
Washington (13) – I’m hesitant to throw them in this mix. Snyder is anything but patient, and QB’s take years to develop. Giving up on Campbell now signals that the team is looking at a couple rebuilding years on offense. This hardly matches what their off season moves thus far have indicated.
St. Louis (2) – See Seattle, but without a potential back-up plan in place. Back to back 2 win seasons, and a new coaching staff tells me that this could be a very likely landing spot for a QB.
Add these teams to the potential mix, and you see why there could very well be some movement in the top 10 to get into position for either Stafford or Sanchez, and why Freeman is looking like a top 15 pick, and not a 2nd rounder.
This also points to why things could get a bit complicated. Lets just say that Detroit is willing to send their 20 to Cleveland for Quinn. There is no guarantee that Sanchez or Stafford will still be there when Cleveland drafts at 6. So could the Lions select Sanchez #1, then trade him and the 20 to Cleveland for the 6 and Quinn, well not until the Browns are on the clock and the Lions can safely say that the OT they want is still on the board. In order to get a handle on that, you have to look at the OT class.
Much like the QB class, there are less premier tackles than there are teams that need one. The Bills trade of Peters just adds yet another team with a huge hole to the list. Those that stand out as needing an impact player here are:
Detroit (1, 20)
St. Louis (2)
San Francisco (10)
Buffalo (11, 28)
Then you add the following teams that may not need one today, but can’t wait much longer to address the position:
Seattle (4) – Walter Jones is nearing the end, the time is now to bring in his replacement.
Cincinnati (6) – Carson Palmer needs to stay upright if the offense is to get back to where they were three years ago.
Oakland (7) – Retreads and projects litter the line.
Jaguars (8) – IMO, the failing of this team last season started on the line, putting this unit back together has to be a priority. Signing Holt opens up the option to pass on a WR.
Green Bay (9) – Free agency has opened a hole here.
This should tell you something about the value of a LT, 10 of the top 15 drafting teams have a need here (sure Buffalo’s need is due to trade, but Peter’s play last season screamed need already). And with only 4 tackles having top 15 grades, demand is much higher than supply.
The top 2 picks are going to go a long way to shaping this draft, and what shape it takes hinges on when the QB’s and OT’s go. If Detroit selects a QB, there will be allot of jockeying to get into position to take the next two guys. However if they select an OT, chaos could result as teams try to jump up. St. Louis’s follow up to Detroit’s 1st pick will cement the start of either the run at OT, or the maneuvering for a QB.
So how does this all affect the Raiders?
As a Raider fan I have to give credit to Davis and Cable, the number of bodies they brought in at OT allows them the flexibility to either stay out of this fray, and select one of the players who could slip due to inordinate demand at other positions. Or to be a player should a team get desperate for that #7 pick as there could very well either be just one OT left or someone could be in love with Sanchez. Or, they could very well grab any one of the 4 OT’s who could be there, with the flexibility to play him at either LT or RT depending on how the others already on the roster shake out.
For once the Raiders have set themselves up very well in the 1st round.