Cable: Perception on Raiders’ draft strategy not reality

INDIANAPOLIS — When Clemson’s Jacoby Ford tied the fastest 40-yard dash time by a receiver in NFL Scouting Combine history, some media members joked that he’s definitely bound for Oakland. That’s because the Raiders have the reputation for drafting the fastest, strongest and biggest players, regardless of their college production.

But Raiders coach Tom Cable insisted Sunday that isn’t his team’s approach, and he even laughed as a reporter questioned him about it.

“How about the best player? Let’s talk that way,” Cable said. “… We need to get better in some areas, and so at this thing (the combine), find who you think the best players are, whether they jump the highest or run the fastest. That shouldn’t make a damn difference. He has to be able to play football good enough for us to become a championship team.”

The Raiders haven’t experienced much luck in that regard. Their last six first-round draft picks — WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, RB Darren McFadden, QB JaMarcus Russell, SS Michael Huff, CB Fabian Washington and OT Robert Gallery — haven’t met expectations and might have contributed to the franchise’s seven consecutive seasons of double-digit losses.

Of course, the Raiders hit big-time on their 2003 first-round selection. Nnamdi Asomugha has made the Pro Bowl the last two seasons and is considered to be one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks.

— Justin Hathaway

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