Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Draft Bias is Obvious

It is clear the so-called "draft experts" - especially ESPN - have a bias against the Raiders. Now that we've had a few days to absorb the draft picks, several things jump out at me as being unequal treatment...

Nobody slammed the Chiefs for reaching for DE Tyson Jackson, yet the "experts" universally slammed the Raiders for taking DHB.

If you look at all the pre-draft info out there, I challenge you to find anyone who had Tyson Jackson rated as the #3 overall player. Most sources had Brian Orakpo rated higher amongst DEs. Most sources had Tyson Jackson rated as a midround talent ~ around #15 or so.

This situation is similar to the Raiders reaching for DHB. Most sources had another WR rated higher than DHB and most had him as a midround talent too. Yet no one bagged on the Chiefs selection... why?

Several things come to mind:

First, everyone said what a great fit Jackson is for Chief's GM Scott Pioli and their 3-4 Defensive scheme. He was probably the best 3-4 DE in the draft. But this doesn't explain the difference in the way the picks were treated.

Darrius Heyward-Bey (DHB) is certainly a great fit for the Raiders' vertical game Offense. DHB is probably the best home run threat at WR. But the Raiders weren't congratulated as finding the player who best fits their scheme, the Chiefs were...

Second, everyone gave Scott Pioli the benefit of the doubt because he comes from the *Patriots organization. They also bashed Al Davis because he comes from the Raiders.

Having ties to Bill Belichick is great and all, but look at the "prodigies" that have come from Belichick's system: Charlie Weiss, offensive "genius" has blown monkey chunks at Notre Dame. Romeo Crenel has done nothing with the Browns - they don't even know if Charlie Weiss' QB is their starter. Eric Mangini already got fired in his first HC gig with the Jets and is now trying to mop up Crennel's mess.

If you look at it objectively, Bill Belichick looks like a genius, but his coaches and staff don't look like much on their own. They've failed. Why would Pioli be any different? Al Davis has been a scout, HC, GM, and owner in this league for 45 years. Wouldn't he deserve the benefit of the doubt over Pioli, who is running a draft without Belichick for the first time - a rookie?

Third, many of the experts had Tyson Jackson penciled in as the Chiefs pick (some had Aaron Curry). When Jackson was indeed picked, he made the "experts" look smart because they had predicted this outcome.

Few of the "experts" besides Lombardi had the Raiders taking DHB. When DHB was the pick, he made the experts look "stoopid" because they hadn't predicted this scenario.

We all know that ESPN is in Bristol, Connecticut and that they hype the local teams incessantly. The Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics all receive a lot more hype on that station than other teams.

But the truth is, if you rearrange things, and had Scott Pioli or Bill Belichick making the same picks the Raiders did, they would have treated the same picks differently.

Ask yourself, if the Raiders drafted all high-character players this time for a change, why aren't the "experts" applauding Tom Cable for changing the environment in Oakland and getting Al Davis to sign off on these types of players?

Ask yourself, if the Raiders traded back to get Mike Mitchell, scoring 4th and 6th round picks in the process, why all the hang ups about "value" for the pick?

With the 4th round pick, we got Louis Murphy. Murphy was a WR generally predicted to go somewhere in the 2nd-3rd round... With the 6th round pick, we got Stryker Sulak, a DE-OLB hybrid guy with character, the kind of player the *Patriots pick all the time as a LB. So if we got three picks for our #2, why all the negativity about "value"?

Ask yourself, if the *Patriots made our picks, how would they have been treated?

Some of the criticism is warranted. The Raiders haven't been good since the SB of '02 and many of our draft picks haven't turned out as expected. But the assumption that just because its the Raiders it has to be crazy, stoopid, insert derogatory comment here is just ridiculous.

People like Chris Carter turning DHB into the running joke of the day with his "honorable mention" comment over and over and over is just plain mean. DHB didn't pick himself. Why would it be acceptable for a TV analyst to insult the kid when it is the biggest day of his life being drafted?

The kid has never gotten into any trouble, yet when prompted, Chris Carter says the Raiders shoulda picked Percy Harvin over DHB because Harvin had college production and DHB didn't. You can't be serious! PERCY HARVIN? That's who Carter thinks shoulda been the Raiders pick? The player with reportedly the worst character in the draft? You thought DHB brought criticism, imagine if we actually HAD drafted Harvin...

It is what it is. The Haterade is flowing. I hope Mitchell and DHB light it up, so "experts" like Chris Carter and Mel Kiper are exposed for what they are, mediots