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Thursday, April 21, 2011
Hue Jackson talks draft and more

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

I was able to listen to new Oakland coach Hue Jackson’s pre-draft news conference Thursday. Here are some of the highlights:

Jackson didn’t give any hints where the Raiders will concentrate their picks. But he did say the team wants help on the offensive line. I could see Oakland taking at least two offensive linemen. Jackson said it is a strong class for offensive linemen.

He wouldn’t discuss the team’s free agents, headlined by cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Jackson did say that he’d like to have all the team’s free agents back. He praised Oakland owner Al Davis -- Jackson always calls him “Coach Davis” -- for re-signing several free agents prior to the lockout, which could be an indication the Raiders are not going to pursue Asomugha or their other free agents. He did also say the team’s young cornerbacks will have to step up if Asomugha is not back.

He said the Raiders could take a quarterback under the right circumstances and he’d like a young arm on the team. But Jackson said he doesn’t think it’s one of the team’s biggest needs. He continued to praise quarterback Jason Campbell. It seems Jackson is focused on Campbell for now.

He mentioned backup quarterback Kyle Boller. There wasn’t a mention of free agent Bruce Gradkowski in the news conference. At this point, don’t expect him back.

Jackson hasn’t had any trade talks, but he said that doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be.

Jackson said Davis gets input on the draft, but that Davis himself makes the picks. Jackson said it should be that way because Davis is the owner.

Jackson was asked a lot about the lockout. He preached patience and said he’ll be ready for the team when the lockout is over.

Jackson continued to preach that he wants to build a bully and he is looking for tough and mean players.

Jackson indicated the Raiders don’t have a ton of needs, which I agree with. That could be an indication the Raiders will trade up and address a few areas instead of keeping all seven of their choices.

Jackson said he likes the team’s schedule and welcomes any tough stretch. He asked the media if they were scared by the slate, “because I’m not.”

You have to love his enthusiasm.