Draft outlook: Center

This is one story in a series looking ahead to the 2004 NFL draft and how each position pertains to the Oakland Raiders. Today, here's a look at center: <BR><BR>

What the Raiders have: When healthy, Barret Robbins is one of the best centers in the entire league. The question, however, is the 30-year old Robbins damaged goods? Oakland does not think so as it restructured his contract to keep him.

Last year at this time, Robbins was facing an uncertain future about his life and NFL career after his much publicized, and at the time, mysterious Super Bowl weekend episode. Robbins, however, has seemingly addressed his personal issues and was not the distraction last season that many people feared. While he did not play at a Pro Bowl level, he played well when healthy. Robbins' arthritic knee, however, caused him to miss the last quarter of the season and could be cause for raising a red flag.

Besides Robbins, the Raiders have long-snapper extraordinaire Adam Treu, who has always filled in capably for Robbins. The Raiders, however, have been reluctant to sacrifice Treu's long-snapping skills.

What the Raiders might do: Oakland would be banking heavily on a healthy Robbins if it did nothing about this position. The Raiders also lost Matt Stinchomb, who was capable of filling in at center, to free agency. Oakland has greater needs elsewhere so if it drafts a center, don't expect one until late on Day Two.

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