Season Review: After a surprisingly solid draft last year, Oakland put together an equally surprising season.  The first four weeks of the season were business as usual- they won one game, and looked altogether unimpressive.  Then in week six, they unloaded on San Diego, dropped a game against San Francisco, and then blew out Denver and Seattle in consecutive weeks.  After that,t hey reverted to their early season form, and finished 8-8 behind the Jason Campbell/Bruce Gradkowski QB carousel.  Tom Cable was fired as head coach by Al Davis because… well, no one knows why, probably including Al Davis.  So they start over with a new head coach… again.  Whether or not that coach continues last seasons momentum remains to be seen.

Ryan Mallett: Character questions, great talent. Sounds like a Raider to me.

Needs: For those of you just joining us in draft-land, the Raiders don’t have a first round pick, as it was shipped to New England for Richard Seymor, which, to date, has worked out ok for them.  Still, they have plenty of needs on both sides of the ball.  Quarterback tops the list, and even in the second round, there should be plenty of options available.  Ryan Mallett (Arkansas), with character questions will be there, as will (probably) Andy Dalton of TCU, and maybe even Jake Locker of Washington.  Defensively, they have shored up their linebacking corps and defensive line, but with Nnamdi Asomugha’s contract voiding at the end of last season, corner becomes a huge area of need, and safety already was.

What They Should Do: Guessing the first round is hard, and the second is near impossible, and ever guessing what Al Davis will do… forget about it (this is why I do ‘draft needs’, not mock drafts.  Much more productive.  I think).  Anyway, the aforementioned quarterbacks should be there, and honestly, Ryan Mallett is probably a steal, especially since there are some good receivers on this team and a solid running game for him to work with.  Davis has (obviously) never been swayed by character questions, and anything on Mallett is pretty much hearsay (again, if you’re just getting into the draft flow, the short version is: one arrest for drunkenness a couple years ago, rumors of drug abuse).  There have been worse picks at the top of the draft by the Raiders (see: Russel, JaMarcus), so this would be a good pick for them.  Also possibly available is Texas CB Curtis Brown (although given his Senior Bowl performance and combine workout, which should be pretty good, I expect him to jump to the first round), who also fits the Raider motif of great athlete/decent player.