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ssmitty 04-20-2006 08:03 AM

news on raiders
Raiders may be seeking higher pick
By Steve Corkran
Knight Ridder

AP Photo/Ric Francis
Southern California's Matt Leinart is scheduled to make a visit to Oakland, meaning the Raiders may be looking to trade up in the draft.
Deion Sanders checking front-office opportunities
Hints about the Raiders' draft intentions are starting to emerge.

Quarterbacks Vince Young and Matt Leinart and defensive back Michael Huff are scheduled to meet with Raiders officials today, Thursday and Friday. Young and Huff are due in today and Leinart on Thursday, their agents said.

The NFL draft is April 29-30.

The Raiders own the No. 7 pick in the first round, but a person in the team's front office indicated that Oakland is looking at the possibility of trading up as high as the No. 2 spot. That's because the likelihood is that Leinart -- and perhaps Young and another quarterback, Jay Cutler -- will be selected before the Raiders are on the clock.

Leinart is widely considered the top-rated quarterback. However, Young bolstered his stock by guiding Texas to a come-from-behind victory over Leinart and USC in the Rose Bowl in January. And Vanderbilt's Cutler has drawn raves from scouts who have watched his pre-draft workouts.

Chuck Price, one of Leinart's agents, confirmed the Raiders' interest. Leinart is scheduled to meet with the New Orleans Saints, who own the No. 2 pick, today.

``They called and asked if Matt was available after he finished in New Orleans,'' Price said. ``I'm going to assume from that that they might have some interest in trading up for Matt.''

The Saints appear the most likely trade partner, given their signing of free-agent quarterback Drew Brees last month. Further, Raiders owner Al Davis has a long history of trading up in the first round.

Then again, the decision to bring in Young, Leinart, Huff and Jackson State tackle Albert Stinson could be intended to throw other teams off the Raiders' trail.

Teams are permitted to bring in as many as 30 prospects before the draft. It isn't uncommon for teams to bring in players they have no intention of drafting, to obscure their true intentions.

In this case, however, selecting a quarterback makes sense for the Raiders. They jettisoned Kerry Collins after last season and signed Aaron Brooks to what amounts to a one-year contract; the second year of his deal calls for a $5 million roster bonus.

Having Brooks around would enable a rookie to learn for a season before taking over in 2007.

xan 04-20-2006 09:17 AM

RE: news on raiders
Wow, whodathunk that Brooks might be a placeholder. Doubtful that the Raiders would pull a Ditka and give up their entire draft this year to get one player. There's so many holes on that team bums have started seeking shelter there.

BrooksMustGo 04-20-2006 09:38 AM

RE: news on raiders
I'm reminded of ABs interview with Pete Prisco during his big holdout several years ago. "To be compared to some journeyman quarterback is insulting."

It is poetic.

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