Well, that was fast. After just one minicamp, three blocks of OTA’s, and zero training camp, the Raiders have already released 2009 draft pick Stryker Sulak.
Sulak, a defensive end from Missouri, now has the embarrassing distinction of being the first 2009 draftee to be cut from the team that drafted him. The move was reported Monday by Pro Football Talk, and confirmed by a source to the Berryessa Sun.
Granted, the guy was just a sixth-round pick whom almost no one had ever heard of. But so were Derek Anderson and Antoine Bethea when they were rookies, and they both grew into Pro Bowl selections. The New York Giants are probably glad they gave a sixth-round receiver named David Tyree a chance to compete in camp. Stryker Sulak won’t be getting that opportunity with this team.
And it’s disappointing because he has a great name for an Oakland defensive end or linebacker. It indicates that he likes to whack people. “Stryker Sulak” is a good Raiders name in the same way that “Steroids McGillicutty” would be a good Chargers name, or “PleaseTradeMe Al-Shabazz” would be a good Broncos name.
One has to wonder why this guy was cut so quickly, practically a public admission of a blown draft pick. There were no documented off-field issues. But there may have been undocumented off-field issues. Maybe his agent picked the wrong day to play hardball. Maybe he made some sort of wisecrack about Coach Cable’s haircut or weight. It’s likely that we’re never going to know.
Or it could be that back on Day Two of the draft, Raiders brass were convinced that the Derrick Burgess trade would happen and the Greg Ellis signing would not. Fast forward to July, and the Raiders have capable vets in Burgess, Ellis, and others light years ahead on the depth chart at Sulak’s probable position. In that context, this was a mercy cut that allows Sulak to catch on elsewhere before training camps open leaguewide.
But Raider Nation has to hope that Sulak doesn’t turn into the next Tom Brady, or even the next Grady Jackson (sixth round pick, 1997). If Sulak ends up playing even one down of meaningful pro football, the critics will be howling like Erin Brockovich at an oil tanker wipeout.
It’s a move certain to set off another round of questions about the Raiders’ draft acumen, and sanity in general. But anyone who claims to know for sure in July which draft picks will or won’t pan out is probably the real crazy person.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is now furiously trying to trade Stryker Sulak from his fantasy team.