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The Defensive Scheme Mystery

Tom Cable said in his day two press conference that Lamaar Houston would play "end" in the Raiders scheme.

What? A 305 pound end? Bigger than Desmond Bryant, Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly,

While it would be easy to pinpoint this as a clear 3-4 indicator, the Raiders would still be lacking the much needed Nose Tackle (Cam Thomas?) to run the 3-4 defense effectively.

That isn't to say they may not play the 3-4, but Cable's unwillingness to commit to even playing the 3-4 at all is the real twist.

Cable wants the media and fans to wait until mini-camp. Why he wants us to wait until then is a mystery. Is it like this year's version of the wildcat, but on defense? Why tip your hand so early if that is the case?

I remember Rich Gannon specifically mentioning how much "single high safety" the Raiders were playing in a game last year and I didn't think much about it until now. Gannon went on to talk about how rare that was for the NFL.

Single high safety is basically a 4-4 defensive alignment where the SS would join the linebackers in the box.

Both the 3-4, the 4-4 or 3-5-3 alignment could be the new wrinkle. I guess we have to wait and see.

I can't remember or more satisfying draft. The Raiders seemingly plugged major holes with quality players and this pattern may continue on Saturday.

Some draft pundits may criticize the 'need' based approach, but even the most shrewd best player available GMs are seeing how to manipulate the best player philosophy. If a player at another position is clearly better, trade back, maintain the value or even gain value in future years. Ozzie Newsome and Bill Belichick do it regularly and maybe the Raiders have caught on.

Cable indicated they moved back because there were two players they valued about the same available and they thought by moving back they could get one. I was a big fan of East Carolina's Linval Joseph who was selected two picks later. I am left wondering if Joseph was the other player.

Jared Veldheer is a small school prospect with major upside. He has almost limitless potential to develop and could factor in at either tackle spot. He dominated lower competition on tape and fared very well against better competition in the all-star games.

Look for the Raiders to continue to add depth on the offensive line. They are also looking for depth in the secondary and a return man.

Round 4-7 Potentials:
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, CB - Raw prospect, but would provide depth in the secondary and the return man the Raiders covet
Cam Thomas, DT - If the Raiders are going to switch to the 3-4 they need a nose tackle. Thomas is the best one left.
Perrish Cox, CB - Great return man and solid corner prospect.
Selvish Capers, OT - Need more depth and able bodies.
Tony Washington, OT - Another small school prospect with all the physical tools.
Bruce Campbell, OT - Physical tools, but horrible tape has killed him. Still might develop. Flyer at this point is possible.


  1. Last year when they mixed in the 3-4 they had warren and kelly playing nose tackle so hopefully we atleast get a big NT even if we run a 4-3 to take up space. I wonder if he wants to keep it from being and official 3-4 defense to keep teams from moving on possible players they want.

    Either way to be honest I'll be happy with whoever we get. I love the way we are operating this draft and I trust they know where the "needs" are can address them. 6,7th rounders usually end up being special teamers or practice squad so we will see the value of those trades. (possible Campbell or Henderson Trade?)


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