Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
DANA POINT, Calif. -- The Raider Nation came through big time for this week's "sound off" question.
The question was should the Raiders take a receiver or a tackle with the No. 7 pick in the April draft. I received hundreds of responses and there were terrific points made in both cases. If the Raiders' brass reads these responses I'm sure it will be unsettled as ever because such fine points were made for both sides.
Here we go:
Chris from San Diego: When it comes to my raiders #7 pick in the draft, I think they should go with a tackle! I dont care how good the receiver is, you cant get the ball to him without having time to throw it to him! We had one of the best receivers in football with randy moss and look where that got us. Higgins is a good player and I think Schilens will get better. If Russel has the time to throw...you can make those guys look like true receivers. Crabtree is a stud but we need to address the line, and im hoping we can get Jason or Andre Smith. Love ur stuff Bill!....RAIDERS WILL BE BACK!!!!!!!!
Gabriel M: With the 7th pick in the draft the raiders should get. Michael C, Tom Cable made the raiders horried line of 07 into one of the better run blocking linesof 08.
Joe from Oakland: They need a #1 receiver NOW! With the running game they have they need to keep defenses honest. If they have a true playmaker at receiver, play action will make this offense one to fear.
Jason Radar: With their first pick the Raiders should take a tackle. defensive tackle that is. The Raiders have addressed their offensive line with three key signings already. A capable if unspectacular starter in Barnes, another tackle with starting experience in Pears, and another instant starter at C with Satele. While WR is a sexy pick, the Raiders have had an atrocious run defense for 6 years now. The Raiders desperately need help along the defensive line in general and DT/NT in particular. A quality WR can be had in round 2. So the Raiders definitely need to go with a DT if Raji is still there. If not, then it's time to look at WR or see if anyone is interested in moving up for a QB.
Marcus from Redding: hey bill im a die hard raiders fan and i think we should get a reiciver.i think that we should get crabtree if hes avalble. many mock draft says well pass on him and get maclin because al davis loves speed. Larry Fitzgerald wasnt one of the fastest reicevers but has great hands like crabtree what do you think the raiders should do?
Mark: i think the raiders tackle situaton is far worse than receiver.higgins and schilens helped the offense improve a lot toward the end of the season and if walker or shields come on we will be set but outside of henderson tackle is a big question mark.i think we have to pick the best tackle available at no. 7.
Paul from Boulder: Sound Off: I hope the Raiders take OT Oher with pick 7. He's an athletic tackle that fits Cable's scheme (Smith and Monroe will be gone at 7). WRs are always projects - very rarely do they make an impact in their 1st year. Also our WRs will improve if JaMarcus actually has time to throw. Oher/Barnes this year, then Oher/Henderson next year. Would love to see Kenny Britt or DL in the 2nd.
Ryan from Richmond, VA: 1988 saw the last WR picked by Oakland at #1, Tim Brown, a future Hall of Fame member. Oakland's recent draft of a tackle at #1 yeilded Robert Gallery. While he has flirted with the "bust" tag, 2008 showed great strides. The obvious choice here for Oakland is a receiver. Cable has said there are a number of tackles in this field and will take one in the 2nd or 3rd rounds. Crabtree or Macklin fit nicely at the 1st round pick and will break the 11 year drought of 1st round recievers while take Oakland from playoff pretenders to playoff contenders!
Patrick from Orono, Maine: Hey bill, keep up the good work covering the AFC west. I personally think we should go for this trade in draft picks with Philly 21st and 28th if it is at all a possibility to begin with. As much as i hate not to pick a wide receiver, I say we draft a tackle and DT with those first two picks, add a veteran safety like Roy Williams who is more effective helping against the run than in actual coverage (which is not neccessarily an effective addition performance wise) but he most likely wouldn't be starting, for he is getting old. This doesn't mean he blows coverages because of his lack of knowledge for the game, it is simply his age and the ever increasing speed in the NFL catching up to him. Michael huff and tyvon branch however, have many years to go and the addition of a veteran safety who has played this position his whole career would make larger contributions off the field as a possible leader and even mentor for the younger DB's. Mabye he could even teach Huff how to tackle! and finally, to solve the receiver problem, I say we either immediately resign Drew Carter (who was hurt in preseason) and take our chances with him, Higgins, Schilens, Walker, Shields, and even possibly give lelie another chance. OR, we get rid of Lelie and carter and pick up a veteran receiver like Harrison or preferably Toomer who would be able to assist Walker in the locker room and on the field. Two veteran receivers would be a dream come true for Russel, The younger receivers, and they're offense overall....what you think?
Lewis from Minneapolis: That is the million dollar question. my choice would be neither. the raiders may not have top notch talent at tackle but they do have enough pieces to see what sticks, especially if you consider Gallery could be moved back to right tackle and grab a very good interior line men in the second round. The tackle can be addressed later in the draft or possibly another free agent after the draft. WR is kind of the same situation. With Mcfadden, bush, higgins, schillens, miller, and possibly a healthy walker there are enough potential playmakers on offense and WR has alot of depth in this years draft, by the way when was the last time Al Davis took a WR in the first round? What this team desperatly needs is a serious playmaker and difference maker in the defensive front seven. They need both a pass rusher and run stuffer. I think a nice fit would be a guy like Cushing in the first round. He can play DE in nickle and/or a versitille linebacker in a strict 4-3. However I would be on the phone with philly and try and pry them out of there two picks in the later 1st round
Dustin from Huntington Beach, CA: Bill, One word answer, tackle. Although a stud WR would be a welcome addition, my belief is that there is a much higher likelihood of turning around the silver and black with a franchise left tackle rather than a promising prospect at WR. Even though Gallery didn't work out as we had hoped being that guy, he is at least a serviceable guard and can be still be inserted into the lineup somewhere. WR's that have been major first round busts are usually out of the league within a few years, 2 obvious one's that come to mind hail from USC and Michigan St and were drafted by the lions not too far back. Also, you can look at recent history to suggest that very good WR's, even franchise WR's, are more likely to be found in the later rounds than a franchise left tackle. A few examples are Terrell Owens (3rd round) and Brandon Marshall (4th round). Rod Smith went undrafted and became a future hall of famer in my opinion. Just last year Eddie Royal and De'sean Jackson were drafted in the 2nd round and after great rookie campaigns they look to have very promising careers. A few other reasons are 1) If you draft a QB with the #1 pick to be the face of the franchise you might want to protect him, how is he gonna get the pass to your stud W
R if he doesn't have time? 2) One only needs to look at the past to see how Franchise left Tackles can turn around a struggling franchise, Orlando Pace was a huge key in turning around the Rams. Joe Thomas made CLE respectable his rookie season. As well as others. As great as Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, and Lee Evans are, none of their teams have made the playoffs since they came into the league.
Los Angeles: While my initial reaction is OOH! OOH! OOH! I want Crabtree! Crabtree's a stud! However I, like the Raiders, need to take a step back and really look at the facts. Over the past few years draft position of wide receivers has had almost no bearing on NFL success. Last year's stand outs, Eddie Royal and Desean Jackson were the 5th and 7th receivers selected, and neither was a 1st rounder. In 2007 Steve Breaston was nabbed in the 5th round, as the 20th receiver selected! Marques Colston was a 7th rounder, a compensatory pick 7th rounder at that. Meanwhile Miami spent there top pick last year on a tackle and went from worst team in the league to the cusp of the playoffs. In 2007 the browns picked up Joe Thomas and leaped up to a being a game away from the playoffs. The Cards picked up Levi Brown and this year were a breath away from being super bowl champions. As much as Crabtree is a sexy pick, I think we've got to play it smart here. If the top three Tackles are already gone, fine, consider the best available receiver, but if you have a chance to shore up your line for a decade to come, you have to make that play.
Tim from Bakersfield: The way I see it they should make a real effort to tab Crabtree, if he's not available then make a play for our other bookend tackle. I love what I have seen about Crabtree, I know a lot of questions about his speed have popped up but they said the same thing about Fitzgerald when he came out. The kid is just a gamer! If he is not available I say go for the best tackle available. I am just not sold on Maclin. I may be in the minority on that one but I am scared of speed recievers with upside it just has not worked out for us lately.
Matt Walker: Passing on Crabtree or Maclin to take a tackle will be a mistake. The last time we passed on a playmaking wide receiver for a tackle, we took Gallery over Larry Fitzgerald. While Gallery is now a pretty good guard, Fitzgerald is arguably the best receiver in the game. We need a playmaker, and Crabtree/Maclin both project to be that type of player. With a deep group of tackles in the draft, we can pick one up in the 2nd or 3rd round. But an explosive receiver that can make the game easier for RunDMC, Zach Miller, and JRuss isn't something we can get in later rounds as easily.
Rex from Provo: With respect to your Sound off question regarding the Raiders draft choice, I though you could explain something. Why not trade the No. 7 pick for a proven player like Boldin? The pay is going to be roughly equal $10 million a year. The rookie is going to be younger, but is unproven vs. Boldin who is older but is proven. Why is it better to draft (and pay) for potential when there is a proven player who fits your needs?
Stefan from Colorado Springs: I think the Raiders should definitely draft Crabtree. The kid can flat out play and he does what the Raiders receivers from the past few years couldn't: Score! There's no such thing as a can't miss but if Russell is going to continue to grow as a quarterback then the Raiders need to find him a reliable target.
Dan from Oakland: Receiver or a tackle for the Raiders? As a 40+ year Raider Fan, I say OT(if one of the top guys is there), or trade down with Philly for the 2 first rounders and take an OL and DL with those picks.
Rick from Menifee: The last thing the Raiders need to do is draft Crabtree or Maclin with the 7th pick in this year?s draft. They have a good group of young WR's on the roster that should be allowed to show what they can do when given the chance to play. That won't happen if Russell can't improve his accuracy and stay upright. If the Lions take Stafford # 1 overall, that could leave an offensive tackle for the Raiders with the 7th pick. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see them move up if Cable can convince Davis that either of the Smith's or Monroe would be the tackle that Gallery was supposed to be.
Jorge: There's no use for good protection if you don't have a playmaker to throw to. If Crabtree is available, to me it's him, no doubt, he sure looks like a winner. If he's already off the board, go tackle.
Mike from Bloomington, MN: Bill, I think the Raiders are going to trade down and pick up Alex Mack from Cal. I then believe their second pick will be Rod Brace from BC and then they'll grab a WR in Rd. 3, possibly the WR from San Jose State.