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Raiders all set at offensive tackle

If you are looking for news that does not pertain to the lockout, then you’ve certainly come to the right place today! I want to have a discussion about something that came up on the Jay Rich Report. Richardson called Bruce Campbell an “actual freak of nature” and then proceeded to ask him if the rumor that Campbell was making a move back to offensive tackle was true, to which Campbell replied, “Yeah.”

“Really, I don’t mind too much,” said Campbell. “Guard led me to realize a few things like I can run block, which I never knew at Maryland because being a left tackle you didn’t do much run blocking. It was always cutoff blocks or you just had to get in front of a man, you know? So I really don’t mind it. I have a little more confidence at tackle and now even more because of me playing guard. So I’m going to feel alright with it, I just got to see what happens.”

Campbell’s open admission to the positional change and his efforts to play tackle at the team’s offseason activities session in Atlanta back in May suggest that Campbell was told by the higher ups that he will be making the switch almost immediately following last season. It is highly unlikely that he will be moving to left tackle, the spot currently occupied by fellow 2010 rookie Jared Veldheer, and much more probable that the former Terrapin will be making a new home at right tackle.

Reportedly, Al Davis was angered with former Head Coach Tom Cable when Campbell never made it into a starting role on the offensive side of the ball over the last month or so of the regular season. It stands to reason that if Cable was the great offensive line coach that he was cracked up to be, he could have had Bruce Campbell ready to play towards the end of the season.

I was listening to Herm Edwards on Mike & Mike in the Morning and he said that the best way to get valuable learning in this league is to play in the games. He said getting game experience for a rookie is priceless because you can go back and watch the film of yourself and say, ‘Okay, I need to work on that,’ or ‘Okay, I did that very well.’ Last year, we saw Veldheer get his chance from the very first game of the season, meanwhile Campbell hardly saw any field time at all.

“I’m ready to accept that challenge. I got drafted into the NFL for a reason,” Campbell told Richardson. “I knew I wasn’t going to have anything given to me. I’m ready to accept the challenge.”

And it’s going to be a challenge for Campbell, there is no question about it. But his size, power, physical makeup, and long arms will go a long way toward making his dream of starting into a reality.

The positional change also changes the way the Raiders will attack free agency. Presumably now, they appear to be locked in on developing Veldheer and Campbell into their bookend offensive linemen during the course of this season. Bringing in rookie center Stefen Wisniewski gives them potentially three out of the five starters they need on the offensive line.

Also, as pointed out by my colleague, L. Dizzle, Hue Jackson has hinted at the idea of moving Samson Satele from center to guard. Throw Daniel Loper into that mix at left guard and you could be looking at the opening day offensive line. But let’s not count out LSU rookie Joseph Barksdale either. There are also rumors floating that the team will re-sign Khalif Barnes and release Cooper Carlisle when they are able to do so.

My opinion is that if they are moving Bruce Campbell to right tackle, then they will most likely look at Barksdale on the interior of the offensive line at one of the vacant guard spots. Barksdale has the power to be an effective interior power-style guard for the Raiders. Meanwhile, Khalif Barnes provides veteran leadership and a solid back-up option for the two tackle positions – plus he’s an emergency third tight end.

I know some of you, perhaps most of you, are going to read this list of names and say that it just won’t do. However, convincing Al Davis of that is an altogether impossible task compared with convincing me. But truth be told I like it.

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