This is part five of an eight part series detailing players that have jumped out at me and made me say, "Man!! That guy would be a good Raider!"
You'd think that when most everyone who's not part of Raider Nation hates the Raiders, I'd hate all of the teams. The thing is, in order to hate your team they have to, 1) be good, and 2) have done something that has infuriated me, like beating the Raiders in some extraordinary way.
For the Patriots, as you probably know, it's the 'tuck.' I don't think I'll ever get over it. The Chargers are a different case all together, and I'll get into that when I go over the AFC West.
Before I start, here's what I've done so far and where I'll be going in the next few days:
First off, don't expect me to name guys like Teyo Johnson, Courtney Anderson, or Langston Walker to this list. Even though Walker was part of the best line the Bills have had since 1989, and they let up a minuscule 26 sacks, he was also part of one of the worst lines in the history of the NFL when he was a Raider. Not only that, anyone that is as ungrateful as he was when he left, can stay gone.
RB - Marshawn Lynch: Along with begging Mr. Davis to draft AP, I also begged him to draft this guy. Not in person of course, but from the comfort of my home with a a bag of cheetos in one hand and an ice cold pale ale in the other. I still begged though. He didn't disappoint as he rushed for over 1,100 yards in his first year. He's a finesse runner that puts his head down and bowls you over if you get in his way and he's not afraid to defend himself or his teammates a la Marcus Allen. When your running back doesn't take any crap, usually the rest of the team does the same.
OT - Jason Peters: This guy has the perfect story. Undrafted out of college, cut in 2004 but signed to the practice squad, then when signed to the team he plays special teams. Four years later, he's a Pro Bowl left tackle. That guy would be a good Raider!
OC - Melvin Fowler: Responsible for calling the protection schemes and being the cog for the running game, you've got to give this guy his props since Buffalo was successful at both last year. He's not the most talented center in the league, but if he were to join the Raiders it wouldn't be a bad thing because he's a hard worker and he's smart.
OG - Derrick Dockery: This guy is great in pass protection and can block for the run. You often hear that teams don't let great players leave, but I bet Washington missed him last year. He's everything you'd want from your guard.
S - Donte Whitner: Called a 'major reach' in 2006 when he was drafted behind Michael Huff by Mel Kuiper Jr., but I wonder if he'd like to take that back now. Whitner is one of those guys that's all over the place, and when he reaches his destination expect an explosive hit. That's Raider-like.
QB - Josh McCown: Yeah, Raider Nation, he's a good Raider. He took your abuse, a transitional team, and no future as the starter, but he kept his dignity and character and was often seen on the sideline helping his teammates. I wish him the best of luck.
Bill Parcells: If it weren't for the fact that he and Al Davis may be almost the same person, he probably would've already been the coach/GM of the Raiders at least once.
RB - Ronnie Brown: I know that his injury puts his status in doubt, but he's proven to be more versatile than the Caddy so far and nobody doubts his ability. Anyone that good who can take a backseat to someone like he did in college is usually who Al Davis goes for.
DE - Jason Taylor: His best friend is Zach Thomas. His wife is Zach Thomas' sister. To this day, I don't really know how to take that. Something in my stomach churns like it would if one of them went on Dancing...with...uhh...yeah, it just doesn't sit well with me. I can't deny the guy is a monster though. He hasn't missed a game since 1999 and last season amid all of the turmoil, he still racked up 11 sacks, 4 fumbles forced, and a pick.
OC - Samson Satele: This guy is quick, strong, and nasty. It really helps that he looks mean too. Even if I didn't like the way he played, I'd have to give him consideration just because of the name...yeah, that's a pretty cool name.
New York Jets
When looking at this roster, I'm actually shocked. I don't figure the Jets to be that good, but they have quite a few players that I like, and I'm not talking about Eric Barton. So that's where Darnell Bing landed...
QB - Marques Tuiasosopo: Just when I had finally learned how to say your full name without stuttering and then put pen to paper and spell it in one fell swoop, you were gone. Thanks for ruining your career and being a Raider.
OT & OC - D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold: Doesn't this sound like the lead actors of a porn movie? Maybe they would shorten their name to D'Brickashaw and Mangold. If for nothing else, it would be good fodder for Raider Nation at the games. They're young and unproven, but should be good for years to come.
RB - Tony Richardson: Bruising fullback that can catch the ball out of the backfield. Hard-nosed, tough, and never shies away from punishment. He's also an undrafted rookie who's found a way to stay in the league for 13 years. It seems like everyone he blocks for becomes a star; Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson, Chester Taylor, and Adrian Peterson. I'm just glad he's no longer a Chief.
OG - Alan Faneca: How can you not like this grizzled veteran? He's absolutely the 'take no crap' type of lineman that ALL teams want...especially at guard. I like him because he plays to the whistle, and sometimes a little past it, like a guard the Raiders used to have (the Wiz).
DT - Dewayne Robertson: Besides having a face only a mother could love, this guy is a disruptor on the line. He's able to stop the run and force the pass, which for a defensive tackle is what you want. Averaging over 50 tackles and nearly 3 sacks a season is good stuff for a nose tackle. He's good, and his looks don't hurt either...as long as your not looking.
New England Patriots
Never had ill feelings for this team until that January game in the snow. I'll always believe that was a fumble. It doesn't help that they went on to start a dynasty that season. Even after all of that, I probably could've let it go had it not been for BSPN focusing all of their Sports Center's on the Patriots ever since: "Tom Brady is leaving his girl friend for a super model," "Belichick is going to auction off the cut sleeves from his sweat shirts today," "Tom Brady couldn't find his keys this morning." Blah, blah, blah...national networks shouldn't focus locally.
Bill Belichick: I never thought he'd be a good coach after what he did with the Browns. I guess that just goes to show you what I know. Often ridiculed as a cheater now, and known for saying much about nothing, he would be the perfect coach for Al Davis. He just wins baby! He's good at secrets, security, and doesn't crave for the spotlight. There's a reason that the Raiders operate in a cloak of secrecy, the whole NFL 'cheats' so get over it. People jumping onto coattails about the video taping need to learn their football history. Being on a team where one of the catch phrases is, "If you're not cheating, you're not trying," would probably be a better fit for him.
OC - Dan Koppen: No matter who lines up with this guy, they always look good. You have to credit the guy in the middle for that. He's held the line together and called all of the protections, and minus the Super Bowl, Tom Brady has stayed really clean during games. Low key guy who was once a fifth round pick. Nothing like an underdog manning the line.
OT - Matt Light: Nothing like a big talented left tackle to keep your franchise quarterback healthy. This guy is just plain good. I don't think I've ever heard or seen a negative about this guy's game. He's been the starting left tackle throughout the dynasty, and that is really all that needs to be said.
QB - Tom Brady: Compare him to any great QB ever to play the game. He fumbled, but he didn't the other seasons they won the title.
RB - Laurence Maroney: Is there any fan out there that's not worried when this guy is playing against their team? He's intimidating, and that's the Raider way.
WR - Wes Welker: 5'9" 185 lbs and undrafted, signed as a free agent by the Chargers, then cut and signed by Miami. No chance right? Yeah, right. A handful to cover, he's proven to be one of the top possession receivers in the league, but he can also catch in traffic. And that can't be easy when a guy almost twice your size is about to crush you.
DL - Vince Wilfork and Richard Seymour: You can't argue productivity and that's what this tandem has been. They are both dominating against the run and disruptive in the pass. There aren't many pairs like this working together in the league and better yet, neither seeks the attention. They do their job, make a great play, and then go back to the huddle with little fan fare or adulation asked for.
LB - Tedy Bruschi: That saying, "Stats don't tell the whole story," applies to this guy. He's got a big motor, never quits on anything, very smart player, and lays a hit when it's called for. He's everything you want your inside linebacker to be, and then some.
LB/DE/TE/FB/RB - Mike Vrabel: Is there anywhere this guy hasn't lined up? That's why I like him, but then I watch him play. Nobody catches the ball out of the backfield too often when they play the Patriots. He's the biggest reason why. See the play, read the play, kill the play. That's Vrabel in a nutshell, plus he's not a bad receiver when he's playing on the offensive side of the ball.
That's a bunch of guys from the Patriots! Lucky for me, I didn't have to add that other receiver to the list, since he's already proven NOT to be a good Raider.
Did I miss anyone? Did I reach too much? Agree or disagree?
Any feedback you have is greatly appreciated. I want to thank the guys that have given their feedback so far, including 'sure Bert' who gave a very thoughtful analysis of me. If you think I got it wrong, let the world know by posting it.
Remember the only criteria to make my list, is that the player has had to have made an impression on me so significant that I would say to myself, "He'd be a good Raider," or "I wish he was a Raider."
Who's done that for you?