Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable spoke with the media aboput the upcoming 2010 NFL Draft. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Oakland Raiders Head Coach Tom Cable spoke with reporters in the press room of the team's Alameda, Calif., and discussed next week's NFL Draft. The 75th NFL Draft is set for April 22-24 with seven rounds. The Raiders currently hold eight elections, including the eighth overall pick.
This year, the first round will begin at 4:30 p.m. PT, with rounds 2 and 3 taking place Friday, and rounds 4-7 concluding the Draft Saturday.
Q: What effect do you see the change, one round one night, second round starts the next day? Now you have all this extra time to reassess, look at your board. Are you concerned at all about over-thinking that, or are you happy for the extra time? How are you approaching that?
Coach Cable: You know, really I think what it's going to do, the time you're talking about, it's going to create more evaluation of the board, how it's coming down. But what it may do is create more action, you know, in terms of teams working with each other, trading with each other, moving up, moving down, all those sort of things. When there's an opportunity and more time here, guys may tend to get a little bit fidgety. But on the good side of it, the time will allow you to really kind of adjust your board, reevaluate where you're at.
Q: Is it almost like a second first round?
Coach Cable: Yeah, I think we're all kind of feeling that way about it. You know, it gives you a chance to really get through day one and then you start again. You know, I think there's a lot of depth in this draft in the second, third, and fourth rounds even. It's a good thing.
Q: How would you classify needs heading into this?
Coach Cable: We have some line of scrimmage issues on both sides of the ball. You know, I think those are some areas of concern. Making sure we have the right people at linebacker, make sure we have the right people in the secondary.
Q: Do you see much value in the Wonderlic test scores?
Coach Cable: You know, I think first of all, what you have to know, when we go to the combine, we actually spend time with these guys. We interview them ourselves. We talk ball with them. We talk football. We get a feel for who they are, how they speak, how they can [be taught], actually put them on a board, those kinds of things. We spend a lot of time interviewing these kids.
Q: At eight, can you take a right tackle or does it have to be a guy you see as a left tackle?
Coach Cable: Well, I think if you're going to take him, he's going to come in and start for you. Whether on the right or left, that's not your issue. For example, there are some guys in there that are probably better rights than they are lefts and vice versa. So it just depends on who's available to you at that pick.
Q: Are you getting a lot of action from other teams?
Coach Cable: We get calls every day, which has just been really amazing to me and yet exciting to me. I've been here when we were one, then we were seven, then four, and then seven. And now, we're eight… It just amazes me that every one of those first 10 picks, you get incredible play on. If something was really perfect for us, that really enhanced the draft, that's something that you have to consider.
Q: Coach, are the draft boards complete for the Raiders at this point or is it still moving and shaking?
Coach Cable: We're still moving and adjusting it and tweaking it; that's what we're doing. As soon as I'm done here we go back upstairs and get back to it. It's just what you do this time of year. There's so much going on, for example does this Denver trade of Brandon Marshall to Miami affect us? Does it change maybe where some other people are at in the draft now? Those kinds of things, you have to think all of that through because you may target a couple guys and then neither one of them are there.
Q: How hard is it to find a fullback now?
Coach Cable: Depends. There are some guys you really like, the question is; are they going to be available to you when you want to take one? There are some free agent guys available that you like, but that's a special position so I would say probably as difficult position as there is to find, and when you do you're pretty fortunate to get it going.
Q: The way that colleges are running lots of spread offenses, can you even project them?
Coach Cable: Yes, there's a lot less of those guys. You're talking about the h-back, h-tight end type, the second move shift guy all the time that you see in the college game, he's becoming the fullback at this level. There are not too many I-formation fullbacks left in college football.
Q: All kinds of things can take place up until the draft actually starts, in the end what will be successfulfor you and your coaching staff, as a successful draft in the end?
Coach Cable: We have eight picks as of right now; if we can get eight guys that can make this football team, then that was a successful draft. As a organization, the most important thing to us is that we draft specifically where we feel a need for our football team. That's a good thing, before it was just get the best player you thought available at that spot. Now we have some real issues that I think we need to address, not so widespread on our football team.
Q: When you're evaluating guys, is production in college the biggest thing you look at, or projecting how they are going to be?
Coach Cable: You have to do a little bit of both; first of all they have to be productive. You have to be able to turn on the film and see what they're capable of and see them play against certain competition, maybe in big games, championship games, big bowl games. But then there's also a side of it, you have to be realistic, you have to say; where can this guy go from here. Can he still climb, is there still a lot left to this guy, or is he pretty much topped out on who and what he is? So, you have to be very smart, very educated I think to make that projection, because if they have leveled off, they are what they are and they're not going to get any better. In this league they have to get better.
Q: As an offensive line guy at heart, how much does it warm your heart to see that offensive tackles are now the new, sexy, trendy kind of thing that are out there, what does that mean to you?
Coach Cable: [Laughter] Well, you've got to have one or your quarterback gets killed, that's just the deal. And really, you have to have two. The thing is, and you guys probably know this yourselves, when you look at this league, there are not enough tackles to go around for 32 football teams. You've got a group of 12-14 that are really good players, and yet you need 64 guys we're talking about here. So everybody else is trying to hold it together and make it work. There is just not enough of that position to go around.
Q: What tipped that then, that you need to have offensive tackles to protect the quarterback, different schemes, better players at defensive end?
Coach Cable: Yes, the guy playing right end in the league now is a different guy then he's ever been. You're talking about maybe the best athlete on the field in terms of combination of speed, power, explosiveness, change of direction. It's like taking a cornerback basically and putting on 70-80 pounds, even 100 pounds on him sometimes, and yet he can do all those types of athletic movements. That player on defense is so good now, you have to find a way to match it.
Q: Whether it's accurate or not, the Raiders are perceived as being a pretty strict height, weight team in terms of having specific physical attributes that they insist on before they are going to draft a guy, particularly eye. Do you think that's true, and two, are you confident in that a guy that maybe a little below height, not quite as fast as you want, that sort of thing, but can play football, still has a place here?
Coach Cable: I can tell you this; we're very focused and very united on looking at and finding the most productive football players. That's the way we've been for a couple weeks now. We want them to be taller and run faster and all of those kinds of things, have longer arms, no question, everybody in football does. We're pretty united on the fact that we need to improve our football team with good football players, and try to find those guys that can run the fastest, jump the highest and all those things.
Q: Are there any core qualities and values that you look for in these players?
Coach Cable: Sure, you like to have the guys that played on championship teams, the guys who were team captains, guys who were really hard-nosed, tough practice players, really put it out there on game day, take care of business off the field. So yes, we look into all of that.
Q: How big of need is it to find people that can shore up the run defense?
Coach Cable: Yes, I think the move getting Kamerion Wimbley here is a big help in that direction. Desmond Bryant's development, Matt Shaughnessy's development probably has us very excited about what we can be there. With the guys coming back that are veteran types, but it's an area that we'll address at some point in the draft.
Q: The Raiders haven't been that active in the free agency yet, do you not see value there this year, or are you more interested in waiting for the draft first and seeing what you need after that?
Coach Cable: It's more let's do the draft first, let's rip it, let's be exact, let's get all eight picks on this on this football team, guys that can help us, impact us. That's really been the focus..
Q: What are your thoughts on the kick return game, do you see the solution in-house or in the draft?
Coach Cable: That will be something that will be addressed, both with a couple guys that we have signed in free agency, and also through the draft. It's definitely something that has to be addressed for this football team.