Saturday, April 29, 2006

Oakland Wanted A Quarterback In The First Round?

Ever since Oakland released Kerry Collins in the off-season, critics have linked the Raiders with an urge and/or need for a quarterback. There are many reasons for this. Lets recap: Oakland drafts quarterback Andrew Walter in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL Draft. The team enters the season with Kerry Collins at QB, Collins is pulled for backup (2001 2nd round draft pick) Marques Tuiasosopo, Tuiasosopo is pulled for Collins and season ends with Collins throwing 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions (ranked 6th in in NFL passing yards and ranked 10th in NFL touchdowns.) Collins is now a free agent and is contemplating retirement. Tui started 1 game and was tossed around like a rag doll (he did throw a touchdown) but remains with the team. In the off-season, Oakland signed former Saints starting quarterback Aaron Brooks to a 1 year deal.

A lot of the problems should fall on the shoulders of Oakland offensive line, which was pretty offensive. We'll start by saying that they need help at guard. They need to move Robert Gallery to his natural position. They have tried to plug the line holes with veterans but it hasn't helped. (Hint: Consider drafting a guard as early as the 4th round, guys.) Whatever quarterback they use, he'll need protection. Granted, a 1 year deal with a veteran usually means that he is there to groom someone for the position. Hence, the talking heads pushing the idea that Oakland would take a quarterback with the #7 pick in the draft. Many expected they would take Vince Young and others said Matt Leinart (Oakland likes California players.) It didn't happen (as of noon PST the team drafted Michael Huff a much needed defensive back.

Ahhh, why wouldn't the team want to draft a quarterback? That would be because the team and many fans view Andrew Walter as the team's quarterback of the future. I know, why didn't he get thrown into a game last year during a lousy season if he was that good? Great question. Walter had a great year in 2004 leading Arizona to an 8-3 record and became the Pac-10's all-time touchdown leader breaking a mark held by John Elway (recently broken again by Matt Leinart.) Why didn't Walter get drafted higher than 3rd round then? During the last game of the 2004 season, Walter suffered a 3rd degree shoulder separation which affected his draft status (originally expected to be a 1st round prospect.) Walter reportedly was injured during training camp and was held back for the remainder of 2005 to allow the shoulder and groin injuries to heal. Walter is expected to compete with Brooks and Tuiasosopo for the starting quarterback position. Teams usually carry 3 quarterbacks into a season. If Oakland drafted another, they would likely be cutting Tuiasosopo (which still can happen.)


Bar L. said...
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Ken said...

I hear ya Martin. The Bills drafted a Safety? The Bills traded up to get a Lineman that should have still been available?

Draft day can be exceeding frustrating, especially if your team doesn't do what it needs. Just ask Lloyd...Good thing we aren't Niners or Cowboys fans...

Fred said...

Isn't the GM of the Bills leaving shortly, too? That franchise is a mess.

The Bucs did so-so; we'll have to see how it pans out.

Martin said...

I still don't believe there is such a thing as a bad draft unless you release more than half the players before the season starts. Some are just projects that don't work out. I distinctly remember an NFL analyst going off on the horrible move the Colts made in 2002 drafting a guy named Dwight Freeney in the first round. Last year he only had 13 sacks, 9 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery to add to 3 seasons of double-digit sacks.

Ken: The Bills are notorious for ignoring problems with their offensive line. I'm actually shocked they addressed it somewhat with 2 offensive tackles and a guard on the second day. A lot of talk surrounds a change of scheme this year and a need for secondary talent that can play the "Tampa Two." They just happen to have a ton of DBs, a 15 year veteran converted to safety (Troy Vincent had a pretty good 2005) and a lot of safeties. Training camp competition should especially be entertaining in the secondary.

Fred: The Bucs got a lot of depth out of the draft but I expect Davin Joseph is a better prospect than graded. He's been knocked for using a 2-point stance most of his college career in Oklahoma's system which is a bit unfair as you do what you are coached. It doesn't mean he can't get into a 3-point stance. A lot of the picks definitely look like they are for depth, competition in camp and special teams. Then again, some players develop and others wind up with a newspaper clipping to remind others that they were drafted by an NFL team once. (Had a friend like that who signed to the 49ers for a day as a wide receiver during camp.)

Like the 49ers first round picks and actually understand the reasons for the others. Coach Nolan is slowly getting more of the type of players he needs for his type of defense. Safety is definitely a concern as Mike Rumph is their only free safety (9 corners and 5 safeties on roster.) The team also addressed off season departures at linebacke, defensive end and wide receiver. The wide receiver signings also show that they are looking for talent in the return game.