Raider notes: Special teams winner

The Oakland Raiders may get a boost in an unexpected place from their selections - special teams could be an area that sees many of their rookies making an impact, as well as the defensive side of the field.

  • One of the beneficiaries of Oakland's first two picks will be special teams coach Ted Daisher.

    Safety Michael Huff had a knack for blocking kicks and returning them at Texas and Howard's size and speed make him a natural for special teams.

    "They're both good in that area," Shell said. "We've added a lot of speed to our defense and it's going to show up in special teams as well."

    And that does not take into consideration Darnell Bing whose hard hitting style plays perfectly into the role.

  • The way Huff sees it, Vince Young was the best quarterback, perhaps ever. Word is Oakland, ironically, would have taken him if he was available with the seventh overall pick and Huff would be playing elsewhere.

    Huff likely would have understood the move.

    "Vince is the best quarterback I've ever seen or ever watched. Seeing him every day for the last three years, seeing every game, four minutes down and down by six, there's nobody else you'd want out there because you know he's going to put up a win."

    With pressing needs on defense and the team not enamored with Matt Leinart, the decision was made easy.

    Both Young and Huff were rumored to be potential first-round picks of the Raiders, with each visiting the facility the same day in the days leading up to the draft.

    Not that they talked about a one-or-the-other scenario.

    "We tried not to talk about the draft too much," Huff said. "You never know what happens on draft day. We knew we could both go in the top 10 and we got our wish."

  • The father of Howard, a linebacker out of UTEP who was Oakland's second-round draft pick, once played for the Kansas City Chiefs at the same time Art Shell was playing for the Raiders.

    "I remember Mr. Howard," Shell said. "I asked Thomas, `How is your dad going to feel about you coming to the Raiders?' He said, `He has to accept it now. He has to become a Raiders fan.'"

    If Howard, 6-foot-3, 239 pounds, makes a rapid transition to the NFL, Mike Singletary -- an assistant with the cross-town rival 49ers -- will have played a role.

    "One thing he harped on was staying low," Howard said regarding playing for Singletary and the 49ers staff during the Senior Bowl. "He was a very intense coach, a player's coach."

  • Maine wide receiver Kevin McMahan was the third "Mr. Irrelevant" chosen by the Raiders in the last four years. The "Mr. Irrelevant" designation goes to the player selected with the final pick in the NFL draft and includes prizes and a ceremony in his honor in Newport Beach, Calif.

    "He was so excited we drafted him. He said, `Coach, I've had so many phone calls wanting to sign me as a free agent. We came in and took him, and he was excited about that," Shell said. "The opportunity to talk to (Hall of Famer and Raiders wide receivers coach) Fred Biletnikoff may have been even more exciting for him."

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