- Scott Engel, ESPN Fantasy Games
On the verge of NFL draft day, published reports are indicating that JaMarcus Russell rates a slight edge over Calvin Johnson as Oakland's projected No. 1 overall pick, based on the fact that choosing Russell fills a major need. While Oakland officials remain enamored with Johnson, Inside Bay Area's Web site has shed some interesting perspectives on the situation.
The site reported that during last year's exit interview with coach Art Shell, Al Davis reportedly expressed displeasure with Shell for convincing him to pass on Matt Leinart in last year's draft. According to Shell's agent, Davis told the former coach that he "set the franchise back 10 years. Now I have to fix it."
The Raiders took safety Michael Huff instead of Leinart or Jay Cutler, and a year later they still have a big hole at the most important position on offense. New head coach Lane Kiffin told Inside Bay Area he considers Johnson "basically perfect," but if the Raiders take the receiver first, there is still a major question of who is going to get him the ball. If Oakland takes a quarterback in the second round, players like Drew Stanton and Trent Edwards likely won't be ready to make an impact as soon as Russell or Brady Quinn. Acquiring Josh McCown or Daunte Culpepper are also highly risky moves.
Scott Engel offers some final news and notes before the NFL draft.