Oakland Raiders fans have undergone an interesting evolution since last weekend's draft, by which I do not mean to imply that they've only just begun walking upright.
It seemed a majority of the Silver and Black's most ardent supporters were
Agrees Boon, "Only
As a result, Raiders fans have closed ranks around Big Al, like Spartans forming their "phalanx" in the movie
Their team having lost 72 of its 96 games since appearing in the '03 Super Bowl, Raider Nation can now safely be described as "long-suffering." Under the face paint and the foil-covered spikes and the metal-studded clothing, they have a pretty good idea of what they saw over the weekend: another subpar draft, courtesy of the guy who's presided over some of the
Defenders of Davis -- who will turn 80 in two months -- say he's crazy like a fox.
And that is true -- provided the fox is aging, compromised and semi-delusional. But give Davis this: The man is always entertaining -- in the same way it is entertaining to try to divine the intentions of other such unstable autocrats as
With the seventh overall pick, the Raiders selected
Heyward-Bey -- a terrific young man, by all accounts, who can't be blamed for the erratic behavior of the NFL's most dysfunctional franchise -- caught 42 passes for 609 yards and five touchdowns in Maryland's pro-style offense last season. He was named to the honorable mention All-ACC team, which sounds nice until you consider it means he finished behind four other receivers in the conference. Compare his bona fides to those of Texas Tech wideout
By opting for the potential of DHB over the production of Crabtree -- or, for that matter, Mizzou all-purpose threat
The problem being that the ex-Terrapin is still learning how to catch the football. As
By passing on Crabtree, Davis triggered a joyous bedlam on the other side of the Bay. Starved for the sort of game-changing, marquee receiver with which their franchise was once synonymous, the San Francisco 49ers jumped on Crab with the 10th overall pick. Within minutes, the team's chief operating officer,
Oakland's second pick was, by a degree of magnitude, a more outlandish reach than its first. Indeed, the selection of Ohio Bobcat free safety
Mitchell was, by all accounts, a fine safety in the MAC: a hard-hitting, heads-up ballhawk -- albeit one who wasn't even invited to the combine or any of the college all-star games. ESPN had no footage of him to air when Mitchell's name was called for the 47th pick. NFL Network draft expert
As the progenitor of bump and run coverage, Davis sees himself as a connoisseur of defensive backs. Sometimes he nails it, (
Regardless of how DHB and Mitchell pan out, we can be certain of this: if they succeed, Davis will bask in the credit. If they flop, and the team goes south again, he'll deflect blame until it's time to fire another coach, call another press conference and talk about how he was undermined. It will be painful for Raiders fans, but highly entertaining for the rest of us.