Raiders stay quiet, keep Young in mind


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Jan 22, 2006
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Raiders stay quiet, keep Young in mind
- Nancy Gay, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, April 23, 2006

There has been no big splash in the free-agency pool, no blockbuster deal to land a franchise player. The Raiders, usually one of the NFL's flashiest teams in the offseason, have been unusually quiet this spring.

You have to wonder what is really up with the league's most mysterious club.

How about this: a real shot at a franchise rookie, either with that No. 7 overall pick in next weekend's NFL Draft or a trade that plants the Raiders even higher in the order to ensure they will land a specific impact player.

For those teams picking from the No. 1 spot, held by the Texans and being flaunted like a fat portfolio of Google stock, to the No. 10 position, property of the always rebuilding Cardinals, there are plenty of standout players in the Top 10 to go around.

Already, there have been phone calls and jockeying among the teams with these picks, offers and maneuvers designed to grab the desired player, be it running back Reggie Bush, quarterback Matt Leinart, defensive end Mario Williams or offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

And the lack of headline-making activity in Alameda, a year after the Raiders traded for Randy Moss and signed free agent Lamont Jordan, could indicate Oakland is hoarding its salary-cap dollars.

As it stands, the Raiders have one pick in each of the first four rounds (Nos. 7, 38, 69, 101 overall), a pick in the sixth round (No. 176 overall) and two in the seventh round (Nos. 214 and 255).

Raiders czar Al Davis has been known to swap high draft picks to gain additional selections. But there is little chance the team will surrender a valuable No. 7 selection -- especially if Texas quarterback Vince Young is still on the board.

Forget the myriad needs of a franchise that has won only nine games over the past two seasons: at outside linebacker; in the secondary; at defensive end and tackle; on the offensive line, particularly guard.

There was a reason the Raiders were the first team at the NFL Combine to talk to Young, the dynamic playmaker who carried the Longhorns to a national championship victory over USC in the Rose Bowl.

Although Davis did not attend the workouts in Indianapolis, he made certain his people got to Young as soon as teams were permitted to interview the quarterback.

Though Young's draft stock has ebbed slightly, depending on how many autograph shows he attends, how many cars he buys or how well he tackles written tests, the Texas quarterback is exactly the kind of athlete Davis covets.


In 2005, Davis picked Fabian Washington from Nebraska because the cornerback ran an unprecedented 4.25 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. The Raiders now want Young because he is the most gifted athlete in the draft.

Young made a quiet visit to the Raiders' facility Wednesday, and you have to bet the scrambling quarterback received assurances that the presence of veteran Aaron Brooks, whom the team signed in free agency, does not mean he will sit for several years.

But he might sit awhile.

During a Chronicle interview last month, Raiders coach Art Shell was asked about his philosophy for bringing along a young quarterback.

"How young?" Shell asked.

Vince Young-kind of young.

"I think if you've got your veteran quarterback, then you sit that guy,'' Shell said. "I think what Cincinnati did with Carson Palmer was excellent. I think what Tennessee did with (Steve) McNair, when he came out and they sat him down, I think it was excellent. Because it gives these guys a chance to see what was going on, and to learn.

"And if you bring a young guy in and you throw him to the wolves, that's hard. You can break him. Some guys can be broken that way. And I think if you give a guy an opportunity to learn from a veteran quarterback that's willing to work with the young kid and teach him, he'll be better for it down the road.''

The Raiders might not want to wait to get started with young players at other positions. They are woefully thin at guard. And the departure of Charles Woodson, however injury-prone he was, leaves the secondary lacking playmakers and depth. The Raiders' defense recorded only five interceptions in 2005, lowest in the NFL.

Shell, who doesn't want to mess around with Rob Ryan's 4-3 defensive scheme, also needs linebacker help. Things are better on the defensive line, where he has young players such as Tommy Kelly, Terdell Sands and Sam Williams mixing with free-agent addition Lance Johnstone, along with Warren Sapp and Bobby Hamilton.

If Young is gone, Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk would be a terrific option. So would Texas safety Michael Huff, considered the hardest hitting defensive back in this draft.

"We want to add linebackers to our staff. We really do,'' Shell said. "So it's a need and it's something we'd like to add to our group. We'd like to add some more linebackers but again, we just want to add talent to our roster. We want talent. We want speed.''

They want Young at No. 7. Or wherever they have to go to get him.

First-round picks
2000: Sebastian Janikowski (17th overall)

2001: Derrick Gibson (28)

2002: Phillip Buchanon (17); Napoleon Harris (23)

2003: Nnamdi Asomugha (31); Tyler Brayton (32)

2004: Robert Gallery (2)

2005: Fabian Washington (23)
I am sorry i do not want young..

I wish they would choose vernon davis instead
Plunkett16 said:
I am sorry i do not want young..

I wish they would choose vernon davis instead
I've heard the Niners really want Davis if he's still there at no. 6......too bad you didn't win that coin toss. :)
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