Raiders working the phones in second round of NFL Draft

Florida Atlantic v Texas
AUSTIN, TX – AUGUST 30: Lamarr Houston #33 of the Texas Longhorns gets ready at the line during the game against the Florida Atlantic Owls on August 30, 2007 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. Texas won 52-10. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
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The Oakland Raiders are doing all of the things that many claim they never do in the 2010 NFL Draft — mainly draft good football players that fit their most dire needs and not just athletes.

The Raiders traded down twice in the second round and still got the guy they needed to help improve their tragic run defense of the last few years. Lamarr Houston, defensive tackle from Texas, quickly upgrades a defensive front and is capable of playing defensive end or defensive tackle at the professional level.

At nearly 6’3″ and 305 pounds, Houston has the bulk to lock up interior lineman on running plays and agile enough to rush the quarterback on passing plays. Sometimes, Houston can be caught guessing snap counts and be drawn offsides, but overall he has the abilities to be quick enough off the snap to make quarterbacks worry about him.

Houston will have a homecoming of sorts by coming to Oakland. He was born in San Francisco and also lived in Sacramento until he was nine years old. His cousin, Stan Gil, played tailback for Stanford in 1985.

The new Raiders defensive tackle manned the middle for a Texas team that ranked first against the rush (62.2 ypg), third in total defense (251.1 ypg), and eighth in scoring defense (15.2 ppg). Houston accounted for 60 tackles (40 solo), 19 tackles for loss, seven sacks, four passes defensed, and 10 quarterback hurries as a senior in 2009.

Oakland first traded their original second round pick (#39) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 42nd pick of the draft and a fifth round selection (#153). The Bucc’s took wide receiver Arrelious Benn (Illinois) with that pick. The Raiders then turned that pick into two more selections by trading it away to the New England Patriots for the 44th pick and their sixth round selection (#190). The Patriots selected tight end Rob Gronkowski from Arizona.

Those trades will give the Raiders nine total draft picks in the draft.