Raiders Team Report
(Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

Posted May 3, 2011


The Oakland Raiders kept it in the family with their first pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, selecting Stefen Wisniewski out of Penn State. Per usual, speed was the name of the game for the Raiders, as they pick up a number of speedsters.

HOT TOPIC

The Raiders had the longest wait of any team in the NFL, picking No. 48 in the NFL draft.

They in essence went all the way back to 2001, which is the last time when someone named Wisniewski wore a Raiders uniform.

Stefen Wisniewski, the nephew of Raiders assistant line coach and former Pro-Bowl guard Steve Wisniewski, was the not overly surprising pick of Oakland, the last team to select a player.

Oakland traded its first round pick to New England for Richard Seymour in 2009 and didn't trade up into the first round, the first time the Raiders haven't picked in Round 1 since 1989.

Although there were no deals to get into the first round, Oakland added an additional third-round pick at No. 92 to go along with their pick at No. 81. The additions were Miami cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, a long and lean corner who posted the fastest time at the NFL scouting combine, and Joseph Barksdale, who started 39 games on both the left and right side for Louisiana State.

Coach Hue Jackson was -- surprise – ecstacic.

"I think Stefan Wisnewski is going to be a special, special player for us," Jackson said. "We all know what Van Dyke can do – cover and run. And to get another big body who is tough, tenacious and loves to play the game, I'm very excited."

At one point, Jackson even proclaimed, "Merry Christmas to the Raiders."

Wisniewski will play center for Oakland after being mostly a guard at Penn State. The incumbent center, Samson Satele, is a four-year veteran and free agent who was given a second-round tender and awaiting a collective bargaining agreement to see if it is binding.

Left guard Robert Gallery has determined he will leave in free agency, with the Raiders' blessing. Tackles Khalif Barnes, Mario Henderson and Langston Walker are not under contract.

At cornerback, Van Dyke's selection comes as Oakland is bracing for the probability of losing Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency.

Day 1 of the draft ended up with the Raiders operating on hamster wheel in the draft room, with plenty of activity but nothing to their liking.

"There were a lot of opportunities but nothing that really fit for us," Jackson said. "Obviously the player has to be there when you want to trade with somebody, and there were several phone calls that were made. But they weren't right for us."

Jackson said he enjoyed the experience of working in a draft room with owner Al Davis, with the owner and the coach eliciting opinions and Davis having the final say.

Jackson said he spent much of the first day contacting players for the first time since the league imposed a lockout. A few arrived Friday and did little more than meet and greet with those in the building.

Players weren't working out, and tight end Brandon Myers said playbooks weren't to be issued until Monday, but that process halted when the lockout resumed late Friday night.

"There's not been one player that I talked to that even mentioned the lockout," Jackson said. "The players I talked to are excited and 'Coach, I am there. I'm all in. When do you want me to be there? When can I get there? What do I need to do? Who do I need to talk to? Let's schedule a flight, and get me there.' And I think that's what's most important. I think all of our players are very excited about where we're headed."

Everything changed on Day 2, when the lockout was reinstated with a temporary stay, putting all communications off limits with players.

--Hoping to build off their draft success of a year ago, the Raiders picked added muscle and speed with their class of 2011.

Stefen Wisniewski provides a new anchor for the middle of a rebuilding offensive line and was joined by Joseph Barksdale.

Fast cornerbacks who project to man-to-man corners arrived in the second (DeMarcus Van Dyke) and third (Chemdi Chekwa) rounds, although Miami cornerback Van Dyke possibly would have been available later than round three.

As they did when they acquired Richard Seymour, with New England getting its first-round pick this year, the Raiders sold out the future for the present.

Next season's second-round pick was sent to New England to add picks in the third and fourth rounds which turned out to be Barksdale and Chekwa.

Add a playmaking deep threat in Denarius Moore to a young receiving corps short on production and the class, while not having the kind of impact of a year ago, helped Oakland fortify problem areas and continue a base worthy of an eventual contender.

BEST PICK

Center Stefen Wisniewski: The Raiders' pick in the second round allows the Raiders to do what they did last year with top pick Rolando McClain on defense -- rebuild their offense from the middle with a heady, physical player who should start for a decade.

COULD SURPRISE

Wide receiver Denarius Moore: The fifth-round pick from Tennessee may have better natural receiving skills and adjust to balls in flight better than any of the young receivers currently on the roster -- including 2009 first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey.

A closer look at the Raiders' picks:

Round 2/48 - Stefen Wisniewski, C, 6-3, 313, Penn State

The rebuilding process on the offensive line began with the selection of Wisniewski, was immediately named the starting center by coach Hue Jackson. Wisniewski's toughness, intelligence and athleticism is expected to help against 3-4 defensive schemes.

Round 3/81 - DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, 6-1, 176, Miami Van Dyke has height, speed and a willingness to hit – all qualities the Raiders covet in corners since they play primarily man-to-man defense. Impressed defensive backs coach Rod Woodson when the coach worked him out in Miami.

Round 3/92 - Joseph Barksdale, OT, 6-5, 325, Louisiana State

Barksdale has experience at both left and right tackle in college as well as durability (39 straight starts) and will compete on the right side at either guard or tackle. Has the big body the Raiders covet as they transition to more power blocking schemes.

Round 4/113 - Chimdi Chekwa, CB, 6-0, 191, Ohio State

Chekwa's speed, tenaciousness and athleticism gives the Raiders a second rookie corner to put in the mix as they prepare for the expected departure of Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency.

Round 4/125 - Taiwan Jones, RB, 6-0, 194, Eastern Washington

The Raiders were interested observers when 27 teams attended Jones' pro day in Pittsburg, Ca., and his speed (timed between 4.28 and 4.35) opened their eyes even though they are well-stocked at running backs.

Round 5/148 - Denarius Moore, WR, 6-0, 194, Tennessee

Moore's big-play ability (he averaged 21 yards per catch and scored nine touchdowns) is appealing to a team looking to strike vertically. Had a pair of 200-yard receiving games as a senior.

Round 6/181 - Richard Gordon, TE, 6-4, 268, Miami

A project as an athlete who had shoulder injuries in college but has clocked as fast as a 4.66 in the 40-yard dash. Had 10 career receptions for 60 yards.

Round 7/241 - David Ausberry, WR 6-2, 241

Ausberry caught 64 career passes for 700 yards and seven touchdowns for his career and could also be looked at as a tight end or fullback.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

-- Second-round pick Stefen Wisniewski isn't daunted by the legacy of his uncle Steve Wisniewski in Oakland because he's already gone through it in college.

"That's exactly the kind of situation when I came to Penn State," Wisniewski said. "I was coming to a place where my father and uncle had left quite a legacy, and there's expectations behind that. To be honest, I like that.

"The bar was set high, and I made it my goal to exceed those expectations and be better than they were at Penn State."

-- Raiders coach Hue Jackson began Day 2 of the draft talking to a few players and eagerly getting the offseason underway, only to have a court ruling reinstate the lockout at least temporarily.

"You get excited one moment and you've got to back down the next moment," Jackson said. "We have to abide by the rules. It's unfortunate. I want our guys as fast as I can get 'em here, but there are rules in place and we have to abide by them."

-- Chemdi Chekwa, the first of two fourth-round draft picks, wasn't about to speculate regarding the possibility of being part of the solution to replace Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

"I'm not getting ahead of myself right now," Chekwa said. "Really, at this point I'm just trying to go out there and compete for a starting position, continue to work on my craft and be ready to play once I go there and it's time top lay in the NFL.''

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Jackson said the Raiders have been mulling personal groupings and alignments but with veterans not around, did not say what they were nor would he divulge them.

MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

FRANCHISE PLAYER:

--LB Kamerion Wimbley (re-signed).

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED:

--RB Michael Bennett: Potential UFA ; $865,000/1 yr.

--QB Kyle Boller: Potential UFA; $1.25M/1 yr.

--RB Rock Cartwright: Potential UFA; terms unknown.

--S Hiram Eugene: Potential RFA; $10.25M/4 yrs.

--OG Daniel Loper: Potential UFA; $3.9M/2 yrs.

--CB Stanford Routt: Potential UFA; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

--DT Richard Seymour: Potential UFA; $30M/2 yrs, $15M base guarantee 2011/$7.5M 2012 base guaranteed for injury/$7.5M RB 2012.

--LB Kamerion Wimbley: FFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: None.

PLAYERS LOST: None.



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 -by FightOnState.com  Apr 29, 2011
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 -by AZRedReport.com  Apr 12, 2011

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