Raiders surprise with competence, 'Hawks upgrade; more draft Snaps
• This is a little like using a muscle I didn't know I had -- it's painful at first -- but the Oakland Raiders really looked like they knew what they were doing in this draft.
And it's got to do with a lot more than their sending a 2012 fourth-round pick to Washington for quarterback
More on both the Campbell trade and what to do about Russell a little later, but there was lots to like about Oakland's work this weekend. Such as:
Taking Alabama middle linebacker
Shoot, we can't even blame them for giving away veteran middle linebacker
Lauding the Raiders for their draft acumen. This is going to take some getting used to. Maybe
• It's difficult not to see the 2010 Seattle Seahawks in a whole new light after this weekend. Starting off their picks with Oklahoma State offensive tackle
Seattle's quarterback situation still concerns plenty of folks, given
If Washington can fully recover from that compound leg fracture he suffered last season, he's one of the finest change-of-pace runners in the league, and in 2009 he was clearly New York's best offensive weapon before the injury. For a back whose cutting is a big part of his game, Washington's leg injury was no small development, but indications are he'll be ready to go for the regular season.
The Jets simply weren't going to pay him the big money he wanted as part of a long-term deal, and when New York traded up in the fourth round to take USC running back
As for White, maybe his being reunited with Carroll, his collegiate coach at USC, will entice him to lay off the doughnuts once and for all, and provide a jumpstart for his career as a power runner. He can be effective in short-yardage and goal line situations, as he proved in Tennessee, but
Maybe the story in the NFC West this season will center on more than just the showdown between Arizona and San Francisco after all. Seahawks fever. I might have just caught it.
• To get back to Campbell's departure from Washington after five seasons: Was there ever a moment since the Redskins took him 25th overall in the 2005 first round when the ground didn't seem to be shifting beneath the feet of the former Auburn quarterback? Change has been a near constant in the
Clearly there was no way for him to put the genie back into the bottle in Washington, and it was time to move on and start over elsewhere. But his failure to make it big with the Redskins isn't entirely his fault. The zig-zag approach of the Washington organization bears a healthy dose of the blame for Campbell's lack of development. While Oakland certainly hasn't been a bastion of stability or quarterback success recently, anywhere but D.C. has to be looking pretty good to Campbell.
• As part of the trade, the Raiders reportedly awarded Campbell a new contract that includes $3.14 million in salary this year, with a workout bonus of $100,000, and then calls for $4.5 million next season. And even if Oakland cuts Russell tomorrow, they're already on the hook for a guaranteed $3 million to him this season, which would up its total commitment to him to a staggering $39.4 million since they took him first overall in 2007. And for what?
That, my friends, is why whatever the NFL and its players eventually settle on regarding a rookie wage scale in the next CBA, it will have largely been inspired by the enormous disappointment that has been Russell's career.
Maybe Campbell's presence as the presumed starter in Oakland, combined with the arrival this year of new offensive coordinator
There are reports that Oakland intends to ask Russell to accept a pay cut, and that he's made it known he'll refuse the request. (I think the Raiders should ask him for some money back, not just a pay cut, but that's just me). The end game isn't hard to figure out. The Raiders releasing the guy who led off the draft just a scant three years ago is now a distinct possibility.
• Detroit did nothing in the draft to blunt the momentum that its strong work in free agency generated. The Lions got both defensive tackle
• One more team that impressed me with the top of their draft this weekend was Kansas City. Safety
• Living in Madison, Wis., these days, I got to three University of Wisconsin home games last fall, and the one player who consistently jumped out at me for the Badgers was senior defensive end
Schofield went to the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday in the fourth round, 130th overall. That's a steal, but everyone knows why. Schofield, who will be an outside linebacker in the NFL, blew out his knee on the first day of workouts at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, when he got tied up with Massachusetts offensive tackle
Schofield was thought to be a potential first-round pick before the late knee injury, and he might even need a redshirt season of sorts this year as a rookie before he's ready to fully contribute in Arizona. But once he's healthy, the Cardinals have themselves an impact player. Count on it. Or my name's not
• Things I did not understand one bit this weekend:
-- As badly as the Buffalo Bills seemed to need an offensive tackle (see 2009, offensive line play), they didn't draft one until the fifth round, taking
-- I know the Jaguars were last in the NFL in sacks last year with 14, but are they ever going to have enough defensive linemen for their taste? They signed end
-- Why would NFL teams question Florida State safety
• It won't make
McCoy has plenty of NFL-level talent, but he kind of failed the league's stupidity test when he tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine, an event that everyone knows includes a drug test. McCoy is seen as an underachiever, but maybe Carroll thinks the pro lifestyle will just fit him better. Then again, he did go to USC, so some would assume he turned pro years ago. (Paging
• You knew there were going to be some veterans moved today, because the demise of the salary cap and the resulting lack of cap acceleration has already made this the most trade-happy offseason in recent memory. Indeed, there was a flurry of players changing uniforms on Saturday.
It started with running back White and defensive tackle
In addition, the Jets did the expected and reportedly released veteran guard
• Some have wondered whether Faneca might be headed back to Pittsburgh, from whence he came. That move is all the rage this year. The Steelers seem to be putting the old gang back together again, re-acquiring receiver
There's no truth to the rumor, however, that
Don't just assume. Green Bay took both Louisville's
• I saw
Good for the commish. Say what you will about him on topics like player discipline, but he gets it on most fronts. He's fan-friendly in a way that his predecessor,
Four years into his gig, Goodell continues to grow into his job. And that's a good thing for the NFL and its fans.
• The NFL, never failing to make a big event into something bigger, had some nice innovations this year, not the least of which was having ex-NFL stars, celebrities and even one longtime veteran NFL writer (way to go,
I was just glad they didn't let him sing the national anthem.