I'm about to defend Al Davis. Maybe in a strange roundabout way I feel like I'm defending KC's pick of Jackson at 3... or maybe I just believe that nobody really has a right to criticize a draft until we see what comes of it. In any case I was compelled to do so and have gone too far to turn back now.
This started as a comment on another post and got out of hand... hope you brought your reading glasses and some patience... and perhaps a caffeinated beverage.
As for Heyward-Bey, consider our situation with Jackson. We took him at 3 and probably could have traded down and taken him a little later... if there were takers.
JT The Brick (who is a huge Raiders homer mind you) said the Raiders were very high on DHB and weren't interested in Crabtree... actually never were. They were in love with Heyward-Bey. They knew the Giants were interested in grabbing him in the late 1st, and even heard that they considered moving up to 18 (Denver through the Cutler trade) to take him. Whether that is true or not is up for debate. Could the Raiders have traded down and got him? Probably. But maybe there weren't any trade takers (like with us). The only teams that traded in to the top 18 were the Jets to get Sanchez, and the Bucs who took Freeman. Everyone else stood. The Trade to grab Sanchez was over with and nobody else really needed or wanted that #7 pick Oakland had. With Sanchez off the board the leverage was gone. If the Raiders slept on him he would have been gone before next round anyway. Heyward-Bey was not worth a #7 pick to you and me, but to the Raiders he was. The consensus was the guy was 1st round talent, just not top 10 talent. Four words - eye of the beholder. To many, Jackson was not worth a #3 but we took him because he fit our system and I don't hear anybody bitching about that.
As for their 2nd round pick (47 overall), it was rumored (again through The Brick) that the Bears had designs on Mike Mitchell with the 49th pick until the Raiders snagged him at 47. If the Bears had snatched him at 49, I bet we would be looking at that pick differently - because the Bears supposedly know good D when they see it (and have a track record to prove it). Notice also that the Bears traded that 49th pick to Seattle for a 3rd and 4th round pick after Mitchell was taken. Did they do this because the Raiders took him at 47? Beats the piss out of me, and that's aims at another point. I have no idea what any other team thought about this guy or where they had him on the board. The media doesn't know who's where on what board, if they did then they would have known that this douche was on the Raiders board in the 2nd round and maybe he would have had some pre-draft attention. We only know what we're allowed to know - and for some reason I love that about football, but that's for another discussion.
Just to lobby once more for the suggestion that Al Davis isn't totally batshit (just mostly) - McShay threw a bone to Davis pointing out that he wanted to take Marques Colston in the 3rd round in '06 but didn't get his way... it can be caught at the end of McShay's AFC breakdown here. If he took Colston in the 3rd people would have popped him for that too.
So the draft guru's didn't have these guys slotted where they went, but what the hell do they know? The most accurate mock draft of the big name gurus was Mayock's, and he hit 10 of 32... whoopty doo!
Listen, I hope both of these guys are huge busts. I think the picks were stupid. I will always root against anything and everything Raiders related. I have no love for the Raiders. But we really don't know... and won't know how stupid these picks are for a while. Anything is possible in this league - think of all the late round and UDFA players that end up becoming stars - if someone had reached and picked them on day 1 they would have been criticized too.