"Holy Toledo!"

April 27, 2009

A Painful Raiders Draft Day Experience

Filed under: NFL, Oakland Raiders — Bill @ 12:36 pm

It has often been said that NFL Draft Day is similar to Christmas Day for a football fan. You wait for that one day a year when you get to open up all those exciting presents and to see what new toys you get to play with. In the days before the draft you get to look at all the wrapped gifts under the tree, you shake some of the boxes trying to figure out what is in them. The night before you are eager with anticipation hoping you will get that beautiful new Wilson baseball glove you wanted. Or perhaps a polished wide receiver.

Once the presents start getting unwrapped you must wait anxiously for your turn. Finally Mom or Dad gives you the signal and the paper begins to fly. Before you get all the wrapping paper removed there is that instant when you are able to read the contents of the box and you know exactly what’s inside.

“Oh no!,” you think but don’t say out loud as you realize this present is not even close to what you had hoped for. “What were they thinking?” you ask yourself as you hold up your new glove for all to see. Inside your heart sinks as the disappointment rushes in “It’s not even made out of leather, it’s a baseball glove made out of plastic!”

Similar was my draft day experience of 2009. I watched and waited as 6 other teams unwrapped their new gift. When it was “our turn” the present I had hoped for, wide receiver Michael Crabtree, was still under the tree waiting to be picked. But like the poor little boy who got the plastic glove I too was disappointed.

“With the 7th pick the Raiders select Darius Heyward-Bey!” the commissioner said to a chorus of boos. Around Raider Nation hearts sank as the reality of the situation set in.

All offseason long we had gone to the wide receiver store and looked at the shiny new Crabtree. We held it in our hands and tried to imagine what it would be like seeing a silver & black Crabtree. Unfortunately many others wanted that very same Crabtree, so we didn’t even know if the Crabtree would be available when our turn came. Alas our turn did come and there still under the tree was the polished Crabtree we wanted so badly. Sadly it wasn’t meant to be, when we opened our gift it was a plastic baseball glove.

Is Darius Heyward-Bey a good football player? Yes, he was ranked 30th best by draft expert Mel Kiper and 25th best by his colleague Todd McShay. McShay said “Heyward-Bey is the 4th best receiver in this draft.” Unfortunately for us in Rader Nation the Raiders weren’t picking at #25 or #30, they were picking 7th. This also indicates that the Raiders could have traded down about 15 or so spots, still picked Heyward-Bey, AND picked up an additional 2nd round pick!

Just for fun let’s compare Crabtree and Heyward-Bey:

Crabtree was thought to be the 2nd or 3rd best player in the draft (easily the best wide receiver.

– Heyward-Bey was considered the 25th to 30th best player in the draft (4th or 5th best receiver).

Crabtree is a star football player who may not have the “measurables” such as a fast 40 time but when he puts on the pads he performs at an elite level.

Heyward-Bey is fast, really fast. He clocked the fastest 40 yd. time at the scouting combine. His hands are suspect and he has a tendency to disappear in games.

And perhaps the comparison that says it all…

Michael Crabtree was awarded the coveted Fred Biletnikoff Award (given to the nation’s top collegiate wide receiver) TWO YEARS IN A ROW!

Darius Heyward-Bey was given honorable mention as an All ACC performer (he wasn’t even among the top two receivers in his conference!).

So all the kids of Raider Nation went home with a plastic glove!

I won’t even bore you with the Raiders 2nd round pick Michael Mitchell, a safety out of Ohio U.. Many teams didn’t even have him listed on their draft board, he was considered to be perhaps an undrafted free agent. When he was selected with the 47th pick overall (15th pick in the 2nd round) one commentator on the NFL Network said, “I had him listed as a 7th rounder at best.” Draft guru Mel Kiper had Mitchell ranked as the 73rd best safety in the nation. Mitchell was so lightly regarded he was not even invited to the scouting combine or to any All Star bowl games.

The next day a Chicago newspaper reported that the Bears were set to pick Mitchell at #49, but the Raiders snagged him just two picks ahead of the Bears. Odd so many had such varying opinions about Michael Mitchell. Perhaps only time will tell.

It was obvious to a trained observer that these two picks were as a direct result of “the genius mind” of Al Davis. I seriously doubt he listened to his scouting staff led by Jon Kingdon & Mickey Marvin, if he had they would have told him to trade down in round one. Had they done this they might have been able to pick one of the nation’s top rated centers, a position where help is needed. Or better yet they might have convinced him to pick Michael Crabtree.

To make matters worse the 49ers selected Crabtree so we will get to see him play every Sunday as a painful reminder of what could have been on Draft Day 2009.

**Added note: Let’s hope this works out better than the famous 1985 Draft when the Raiders selected receiver Jessie Hester and the 49ers picked Jerry Rice!



  1. The children of the Raider Nation should keep in mind that even with a plastic baseball mitt you can still play catch.

    I had a childhood friend whose father was rather cheap – he bought his son a plastic coated ball glove. My friend had a habit of chewing on the back of his thumb, usually while he was beating his younger brother with his free fist. My friend was not much of a ball player and ended up in right field in Little League where he would chew on his plastic glove instead of the back of his thumb. Later in the summer I saw his glove up close and he’d chewed off the plastic covering the pinky and ring finger leaving the underlying cloth exposed. The ball would go right through this weakened area so he had to catch everything in the webbing to secure the ball in his glove. I actually think this my have improved his fielding on fly balls because any ball that goes right into the webbing is caught and easily retrieved.

    Since we lived in the Detroit area our teams were named after cars. He played on a crummy team called the Lancers, which was also a crummy car. I played for a cool team called the T-Birds, sponsored by the Motor City Warehouse. We went 20-0; I don’t think the Lancers won a single game.
    Late in the season I hit a long fly ball that was headed for my friend in right field. Running down the first baseline I noticed he had to take his glove out of his mouth and then it was too late – he’d been so focused on chewing his plastic glove that he got a late jump on the ball, which sailed over his head for a home run I had to run out with no fences in place.
    The moral of this story is; it’s not that you got a plastic glove for Christmas, it’s what you do with the plastic glove that counts – and for God’s sake don’t chew it during Raider games!

    Comment by Domeman — April 27, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

  2. hay bill i see mike vick is out he would be the kind of guy raiders will go after,

    Comment by UNCLE buck — May 20, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

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