After a couple of days of fast-paced action, the BTSC 2009 Community Mock Draft took a backseat to some other things. Onward we go though with the seventh pick submitted by BallsOfSteel on behalf of the Oakland Raiders. BOS was kind enough to keep me informed of his hectic situation, so follow that example if something arises in your own more pressing itenerary as we progress through the mock draft. Thanks to him for the thoughful pick and writeup. Will Al Davis follow suit and choose wisely himself? Doubtful but picking at #7 ain't a bad place to be. Next up? The Jacksonville Jaguars, represented by tdp992. -Blitz-
The Selection - B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
Forecasting the decision making of the mentally deranged is not a task to be undertaken lightly, but I knew when I volunteered to tackle the Oakland Raider's pick it was going to be a factor. To some, Al Davis is a historic influence on football, to others a crackpot and crook who has continually brutalized the lives of those unlucky enough to become a Raider. Today, he is mostly known as the self destructive owner whose madcap personnel hijinks and rampant narcissism led his franchise to the worst winning record of any NFL team from 2004-2008.
Davis' cavalier free agency spending and wild trading left the Raiders with 5 picks in 2008 and gaping holes in both lines and at receiver. Barring Davis having a Janikowski moment his needs this draft should be WR, O-line, DT, DE, LB. Seeing how the two top rated receivers are already off the board, along with the top two OTs, I see Raji being the right pick here as he fills the weakest roster link for the Raiders with a big playmaker who can come in and make a difference on day one.
Having shored up the O-line somewhat with a bevy of signings in the offseason, along with the chance of Hakeem Nicks or Darius Hayward-Bey being available at the 40th pick, combined with the shallow depth at Defensive Tackle in this draft will make it very difficult for the Oakland front office to pass up Raji if he does fall to them. Oakland was 31st in Rush Defense last season, allowing opposing teams to run an average of 159.7 yards per game over the course of the year. Teams abused the front seven of Oakland's Defense, taking advantage of their weak line play and sidestepping the far more formidable Oakland secondary.
B.J. Raji offers a dominating up front presence that could work toward anchoring the interior of the line or shooting the gaps as a 4-3 DE. He is a powerful mass up front, often bowling over his opponents and pushing them into the backfield. Raji has shown ability to stick to his assignments while blowing up his man, often breaking up plays that allow teammates to come in and finish. He is a stout run stuffer, demanding double teams due to the unique leverage he gains from a 6-11/2 337lbs frame. Despite his largeness he is quick and althletic on his feet, using his terrific push to get in and chase down a play.
Despite this BJ is not perfect. He does not always play with consistent technique, which causes his leverage to suffer at times. He is not a very effective pass rusher, despite his quickness and size. His maturity has been called into question at times and there are rumors circulating about past academic issues and intellegence. In light of those matters, the pros far outweigh the cons here, and the Raiders walk away with a solid pick at #7 who will anchor their line for years to come.
There's video highlights after the jump.
B.J. Rahi 2008 Highlights
Rahi uses helpless ND player to help make a play
#1) Detroit Lions - Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
#2) St. Louis Rams - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
#3) Kansas City Chiefs - Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
#4) Seattle Seahawks - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
#5) Cleveland Browns - Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas
#6) Cincinnati Bengals - Jeremy Maclin, WR/KR, Missouri