And the Raiders select...DE Jihad Ward, following yesterday's selection of safety Karl Joseph.
His profile on NFL.com: "Considering that Jihad (pronounced juh-HODD) Ward went from receiver/safety to the defensive line during his time in junior college, the sky's the limit once he really knows what to do with his size and strength. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by league coaches (51 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, four fumble recoveries) in his first season with the Illini, playing inside and outside and using his huge wingspan to swallow ball carriers. Ward, who wears jersey number 17 because that was his mothers age when he was born, didnt have the same production as a senior (3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks) but still earned honorable mention notice due to his strong play."
Let's hope the similarities to Reggie's first full draft (an injured player in the first round, a potential project in the second) are purely superficial, and that we've got two up-and-coming studs to help build a stout defense.
Raider Take is back, without explanation or apology. Sometimes you just need a break after ten years of hitting your head against the proverbial blogging wall.
So here we are on draft night, and welcome to the Raider Nation, Karl Joseph, safety from West Virginia. Here's one analysis I came across: "An interesting pick for a team in need of secondary help. Reggie McKenzie has done a lot to put the Raiders back on track, and Joseph is a big hitter with some coverage ability. He'll replace Charles Woodson, which is a major thing to do. But at 5' 10" and 205 pounds, he's a little light for the position at the NFL level. Bob Sanders will be the ideal, but Sanders was an outlier, and he was also hurt a lot. Size debits combined with a physical style seems to be a recipe for danger, but Joseph is a true competitor."
Seems like a fair take. If the dude can raise his considerable game to the NFL level, then we're a lot better on the back-end to complement a front end that's becoming a force with Mack & Co.
And then there's this little wrinkle: "Tore his anterior cruciate ligament to end his senior season early and might not be able to participate early on in the team’s offseason program."
Best case scenario, he channels the spirit of one Jack Tatum and brings the nasty back into a secondary much in need of it. Thanks for indulging my absence, let me have it and let 'yer takes rip.