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Looking at the Black Hole

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By now everyone is aware of the situation in Oakland.

I'll spare you all the time by not going through it -- however the part I want to focus on deals with the players there and potentially acquiring some of them.

1) Michael Huff, SS.

Huff is likely to get cut - Oakland is clearing out some of its overpaid underachievers in order to give the money to their underpaid overachievers, that is if they will even consider resigning in Oakland. Regardless, I think Oakland has to basically start rebuilding its team over from scratch with the exception of the QB (for now), RB, and TE position. Huff has the physical tools and ability to actually be a very good Cover 2 SS. If we picked him up, we might not have to address the S position this year or for a while if he pans out like he hasn't in Oakland. For the record, he has had really good moments to go with really bad moments, but so has every Raiders....except for Nnamdi. What we lose: No draft picks lost here since he will most likely be cut, and his salary would not be much either.

2) Thomas Howard, WLB

Dear god would I love for TD to talk Al Davis into giving us Thomas Howard. I could see this happening only if TD was actually aggressive about it and literally talked Undead Al into the trade. Howard will be a free agent in 2010 and he won't resign with the Raiders - he is one of the better LBs in the NFL and he will be looking for a playoff contender to get a ring. The Raiders could use some draft picks to beef up their lines and even though Howard is a great player I think it would be beneficial to get a draft pick for a player you know you are going to lose in two years and you'll get no compensation. I wouldn't give up a first rounder for him - he is worth it though - but I would definitely give up a 2nd round pick for him. Howard runs a 4.42 40 yard dash, is 6'3 and 240 lbs, is a great tackler, and is THE BEST coverage LB in the NFL. Howard had 6 INTs last year. He is in his 3rd season right now and I can easily say that he is better than any LB that will be in the 2009 draft and is the best person we could possible bring in to replace Brooking and to play in the Cover 2. What we lose: A 2nd round pick and a large but not overly handsome contract.

3) Kirk Morrison, ILB

Morrison wouldn't be as great as getting Howard but this guy is just a player. I don't care that he runs a 4.7 40 yard dash - his game speed is just as fast any LB I've watched on Sundays. What I do care about is that he is a sure tackler with similar size to Howard that is also good in coverage, plus he's young as he is in only his 4th season. LT (Tomlinson) on Morrison: “He's a very smart linebacker,” LT says. “He can diagnose plays very quickly and he gets to the ball; he's physical when he gets there; he can take on blocks; he can cover. Kirk has really turned into a heck of a linebacker in this league. I can't say that I'm surprised. He's always studied the game and wanted to be good." Norv Turner on Morrison: “We had a little advantage with Kirk because we coached him at the Senior Bowl, so we were around him a lot,” Turner says. “He has a knack for being around the ball. He has a high energy level. He's just a good player and he really likes the game. He has great instincts and awareness. He started early in Oakland. He can read the quarterback really well.” Like I said, his measurables won't wow you, but his production will. He is also a stand up guy off the field making me believe he would fit right in with what TD wants in his players. He too is in the same contract deal Thomas Howard is so the Raiders would be wise to get some compensation for him instead of losing him for nothing. He had 120 tackles, 4 INTs, and 10 PBUs last year. What we lose: 2nd/3rd round pick and a large but less than Howard-sized contract. I wouldn't mind throwing them a 4th round pick and a guy like Stephen Nicholas who fits the 3-4 ILB position better than he does the Cover 2.

4) Zach Miller, TE

This is the least likely trade to happen, however Zach Miller is the perfect TE for our ball club. He is a great blocker, and that is said about too many TE but he is truly effective as a blocker, and he is a great receiver. He is only 22 and inked a 4 year deal in 2007, plus he is the Raiders' best receiving option and Russell needs Miller as his TE safety valve, which is what makes it as improbable as it is. And I quote, "Miller's blocking has been a big factor in Raiders' running game success, in which the team ranks 6th in the league in rushing yards a game." And again, "Miller also excelled blocking in the run game. As an every-down tight end with great hands, he's an elite TE option with a high ceiling." He is having a down year but that is solely because of the inept offense - however his down year makes me believe there is a shot we can get him in the offseason. I personally don't give much credit to Al Davis - he drafts based on measurables, when he tries to make a conventional pick (Robert Gallery, Mario Henderson) it busts, and he made Tommy Kelly the highest paid defensive linemen in the NFL. I think it's possible at the end of the season if a team called Al asking for Zach Miller for a 3rd they could get him - Miller is 6'5 and 255 lbs but since he doesn't run a 4.2 40 yard dash Al might not mind losing him. What we lose: 3rd round pick and a medium $$ contract.

5) Tyvon Branch, CB/SS/RS

I loved this guy for last year's draft and I still like him a lot. He is on the IR this year and I think it's possible he will get cut just because of that in the offseason - if not, I would be 100% willing to trade a late round pick for him. Al drafted him for his measurables: 6'0, 205 lbs, 4.30 40 yard dash, but again he put a talented player in the wrong system. Branch was never good at man coverage; where he excelled was zone since his speed allowed him to close on the play in front of him very quickly and he is very strong and physical. The Raiders DB staff realized this and moved him to SS where he never played before but he won't pan out there - at least I don't think so. He is an ideal fit for the Cover 2 CB position and his speed far better than what you would ask for, plus his size also brings the versatility of potentially moving him to safety. The best part is that he is a great return man and we desperately need someone fielding punts and kicks. We would be getting a young, fast, and physical prototype Cover 2 CB with great speed and a great return man. What we lose: Potentially nothing if he is cut in the offseason, or else a mid-late round pick and a small $$ contract.

Those are the 5 guys I would be interested in from Oakland (not placed in order). If I had to choose one guy from that list I would easily settle on Thomas Howard. Best young LB in the NFL in my opinion and his talents are going to waste on the POS Raiders. Morrison would make a very nice Cover 2 LB, and Miller is also a perfect fit for our offense - he is basically what people hope Brandon Pettigrew will be in the NFL.

We would be taking a chance on Huff, but if he gets cut I think it is worth it, the same way I think acquiring Tyvon Branch and putting him in the system he is supposed to be in is worth it.

I thought this would make an interesting topic for everyone to read, as it deals with potential ways of fixing needs by using draft picks in trades instead of the draft, or just by making some FA signings.

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I'd be happy to get hold of any of those guys. I'm not sure that any of it would happen, but it's a good idea.

Just to keep the conversation going, this is what I would be willing to trade for any of those players:

Huff - 4th (has the ability to be a very good player, maybe we could get him going)

Howard - 2nd (perfect C2 OLB)

Morrison - 4th (we've got Lofton, and I don't think he'd be a great C2 OLB, so I don't see where he fits in)

Miller - 3rd (agree, very underrated - might even give a 2nd)

Branch - 6th

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I really wasn't that impressed with Morrison when we played the Raiders when some people where saying he could take over from Brooking, I actually would be willing to take a risk on Huff coming out of college I thought he was going to be the next Ed Reed. I am sure alot of his problems are down to coaching, If you look at some of their first round picks it is amazing how many of them have failed. Gallery, Washington, Brayton, Harris, Gibson so many have just failed to make an impact I can't believe that all of them where going to be busts leaving college alot of it has to do with the coaching in that place.

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Crazy thought but only because I am bored.

Falcons offer:

1st round pick

Ben Hartsock, TE

Raiders offer

Thomas Howard, OLB

Zach Miller, TE

This way they can add a potential combo of Michael Oher/Jeremy Maclin or Michael Crabtree/Ciron Black, or they can replace Howard with a LB like Spikes or Mauluga.

We get two 1st round caliber players with 1 pick, they get a TE that fits what they want and get some compensation for Howard. I would rather do a 2nd+Stephen Nicholas instead of the 1st but that would be pushing it. I know this means that we wouldn't get Taylor Mays.. :blink: .. but adding these guys = immediate contributors at both positions and young players that we can have for years to come.

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