Cable defends Raider way of drafting

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) " Tom Cable dismissed the almost universal verdict from the television pundits on the quality Oakland Raiders' draft.

The criticism was that once again owner Al Davis reached for great athletes over proven football players and the team didn't do nearly enough to reverse six years of losing.

"We do things here I think in a certain way. I think there's a lot of fact to that," Cable said after the draft Sunday. "Whether you want to call it the Al Davis way, the Oakland Raider way, it's our way."

Cable vigorously defended that way, standing up for the controversial day one picks of receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and safety Mike Mitchell and raving about the team's second-day picks.

He said he just followed a lesson from Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh to take the players that fit your team no matter what anyone else thinks about it.

"I kind of live by that statement from Coach Walsh. When you find the one you want, go get it," he said. "Don't let anyone detract you and don't worry about what they say."

The Raiders selected more players on the draft's second day who had the speed to fit that bill. Oakland used its first pick in the fourth round on Florida receiver Louis Murphy, who ran a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and was a former track star in high school.

The Raiders also picked Wisconsin defensive end Matt Shaughnessy in the third round, Oregon State linebacker Slade Norris in the fourth, Missouri linebacker Stryker Sulak in the sixth and Iowa tight end Brandon Myers in the sixth.

Murphy crossed the Raiders off his list after the first round, when they drafted the speedy Heyward-Bey over more accomplished wideouts like Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin.

He figured they wouldn't take another receiver, only to get the call from the team Sunday. Now after getting overshadowed by first-round pick Percy Harvin and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow in college, Murphy is prepared for more of the same in the pros.

"That's my life story and there's nothing wrong with that," he said. "I'm cool with that. That's just the type of person I am. I'm happy for Heyward-Bey. I'm just ready to play ball. There's not going to be any animosity. I played with Percy and Tebow and we were best friends. I'm not a selfish guy at all."

Murphy had 38 catches for 655 yards and seven touchdowns for the Gators last season, saying he ran plenty of traditional routes as well as the spread with the Gators.

The Raiders have tried to address a glaring need at receiver during this year's draft, taking Heyward-Bey seventh overall on Saturday. They hope they have added two deep threats for JaMarcus Russell to add to young players Johnnie Lee Higgins and Chaz Schilens.

"We raised the bar at that position, dramatically," Cable said. "Now we've got great competition. Can we overcome some of the youthfulness and all that? Probably not, but I think that's the least of our worries right now, just in terms of getting more production there and better players there."

Higgins led all of Oakland's wideouts with 22 catches for 366 yards last season, and the team had just 82 receptions in all from the position. Javon Walker is the only veteran in the mix but he is recovering from an ankle injury that cost him the second half of last season.

The Raiders did not take a single offensive lineman, believing that offseason acquisitions Khalif Barnes, Erik Pears and Samson Satele will solidify that position.

They also did not draft a defensive tackle to upgrade the porous run defense, with Cable saying a change in coordinators and the addition of Mitchell at safety will help solve that.

Oakland did acquire help at defensive end, outside linebacker and tight end.

Shaughnessy was projected to go much later in the draft but the Raiders once again went against conventional wisdom and grabbed him Sunday with the 71st overall pick. He overcame a knee injury and broken leg in college, where he recorded 18.5 sacks in his career. He had 41.5 tackles for loss.

Norris arrived at Oregon State as a safety and eventually turned into a rush defensive end. He is projected as a linebacker in the NFL.

Sulak also played defensive end in college but will be used more at linebacker. He could also help bolster a pass rush that lost Kalimba Edwards, who tied for the team lead with five sacks last season, to free agency in the offseason.

Oakland traded up to get Myers, sending its seventh-round pick and a sixth-rounder next year to Carolina. He is more of a blocking tight end, providing a complement to Zach Miller, who led the team with 56 catches last season.


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