ALAMEDA, Calif. – The NFL invited Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree to New York in expectation of his being selected within the first handful of picks Saturday in the NFL draft.
There he sat, resplendent in a shiny silver suit, smiling, appearing certain his name was about to be called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Pick after pick passed without Crabtree being summoned.
The nation’s top receiver prospect was there for the taking when the Raiders picked at No. 7. Yet, the Raiders surprised many by going with Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
“This is the guy we wanted all along,” Raiders coach Tom Cable said only minutes after Heyward-Bey became the newest Raider. “As I said probably about a month ago, there’s one guy in the draft who makes our entire team better. … This was the choice that we thought we had to have to move this team to the next step.”
Crabtree said he wasn’t surprised when the Raiders passed on him at No. 7.
“No, not at all,” Crabtree said in a conference call. “They picked who they wanted, and the 49ers picked who they wanted.”
The Raiders added Ohio University safety Michael Mitchell with a second-round pick they acquired from the New England Patriots, along with two second-day picks, in exchange for their own second-round pick.