Raiders later picks outperform top picks

Through the years the Raiders first round picks have had Al Davis written all over them. Unfortunately though, for quite a while those picks have been dreadfull. The funny thing is though that once this team gets into the 2nd and 3rd round, it is an entirely different story. This has been the case since the 97 draft. In nearly every draft in the ten year span from 97 to 06, the first round pick has been either a disappointment or an outright bust while the 2nd and 3rd round (and some lower as well) have been outstanding. Let’s take a closer look at those drafts.

2006

1. Michael Huff, S, Texas
2. Thomas Howard, LB, Texas-El Paso
3. Paul McQuistan, OL, Weber State

While I would never call Huff a bust, he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations thus far. He has been so-so and is about to be moved to Free Safety to try and improve his play.

Meanwhile you look at Thomas Howard who could be considered a steal in the 2nd round with how great he has been for this team at Linebacker.

Also Paul McQuistan was starting at RT last year and played well enough that he should retain the starting spot. At a position as valuable as Offensive Tackle is in this league, finding a quality guy in the 3rd round is a huge deal.

2005
1. Fabian Washington, CB, Nebraska
2. Stanford Routt, CB, Houston
3a. Andrew Walter, QB, Arizona State
3b. Kirk Morrison, LB, San Diego State

Yet again “Bust” may be a harsh word in regards to Fabian Washington but 1st rounders are supposed to be good enough to at least start. Especially considering Al thought enough of him (again with the speed) to trade up to get him. And all he got us in trade was a mid 4th rounder. 1st for 4th is not a good deal.

Then we have the 2nd round pick the beat out the first rounder from the same draft in Routt. Just as fast but considered to be a raw project coming out of college took just one year to steal the starting spot from Fabs.

Then in the 3rd round Walter showed a lot of poise early in his career but unfortunately was behind a horrendous Oline and had his confidence beaten out of him. He could do well on another team if given a legitimate shot.

Morrison is an outright robbery as the 2nd pick in the 3rd round here. He is a probowl calibre middle linebacker with all the tools to be great; Speed, hands, instincts and smarts. Not to mention is a great locker room and community guy. And he is local. Win, win, win, win, win, win….

2004

1. Robert Gallery, OT, Iowa
2. Jake Grove, C, Virginia Tech
3. Stuart Schweigert, S, Purdue

I would call Gallery a bust at LT. He was drafted at #2 when the Raiders could have had Larry Fitzgerald. Gallery has been salvaged to be a good Guard but he wasn’t drafted to play guard and he was part of the reason our Oline was the worst in league history in 06.

Grove was not the guy we wanted but Indy jumped up and got Bob Sanders so we went for need and got the best center prospect in the draft. He has been serviceable at either center or guard and with an oline in disarray it is nice to have a guy like him around.

While Stu has not been stellar, he started almost immediately over a previous bust who will get his name called soon and he has started ever since. Raider fans are really hard on him but it is not his fault that the Raiders haven’t had any better options. And before you mention Jarrod Cooper let me say that we see things a lot differently from the outside. Jarrod is a hard hitter and is this teams special teams mvp every year but there is a reason he is always playing special teams.

2003

1a. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, California
1b. Tyler Brayton, DE, Colorado
2. Teyo Johnson, TE, Stanford
3a. Sam Williams, DE, Fresno State
3b. Justin Fargas, RB, USC

FINALLY we got it right. Although Aso is nearly a 2nd rounder (31st overall) he is a first rounder and has been awesome of late for the Raiders.

But then again Tyler Brayton was one pick later (32nd) and was a complete bust.

Teyo Johnson never quite got there but he was a project from the beginning having played WR at Stanford. The Raiders tried to convert him to TE because of his size and it didn’t work. Plus he had some attitude problems. As a side note: I remember reading the story about him saving a stray dog that ran out in front of his car. And that scored him a lot of points in my book.

Hard to say if Sam Williams would have done anything, he was hurt nearly his entire career with the team.

Justin Fargas has been the ultimate team player and finally showed up big time for this team and was rewarded for it last year. Nice pick for nearly being a 2nd day pick.

2002
1a. Phillip Buchanon, CB, Miami, Fla
1b. Napoleon Harris, LB, Northwestern
2a. Langston Walker, OL, California
2b. Doug Jolley, TE, BYU
**7. Ronald Curry, QB, North Carolina

Phillip Buchanon nearly defined the term bust. He was baby’s butt soft, couldn’t tackle, and gave up so many big plays you wondered if he was out there half the time. At least he got us a good draft pick in trade with the Texans a couple years later.

Napoleon Harris was never really noteworthy as a Raider and was shipped off along with the #7 pick for the receiver that will not be mentioned.

Langston Walker was a pretty decent Olineman for the Raiders and he started quite a few games for the team.

Doug Jolley’s biggest contribution is that we shipped him off to the Jets to jump up into the first round for a lesser disappointment in Fabian Washington.

**As a side note we drafted Ronald Curry in the 7th round which more than makes up for this being an otherwise awfull draft.

2001
1. Derrick Gibson, S, Florida State
2. Marques Tuiasosopo, QB Washington
3. DeLawrence Grant, DE, Oregon State

Derrick Gibson was so terrible that he couldn’t keep Anthony Dorsett off the field and then Stuart Schweigert beat him out for the starting spot.

Tui always showed promise and he held down the #2 QB spot for a few years. Only problem was in his few chances he had he quickly got hurt and was lost for the season.

DeLawrence Grant was a high motor guy that was really good at times but showed that he just didn’t have the football smarts to take it to the next level.

2000

1. Sebastian Janikowski, K, Florida State
2. Jerry Porter, WR, West Virginia
4. Junior Ioane, DT, Arizona State
5. Shane Lechler, P, Texas A&M

While Seabass has been this teams kicker every season except when he had cellulitus for a season and was replaced by Joe Nedney (who was actually more reliable), he has not been the great reliable kicker that wowed Al Davis enough to take him in the first round.

Jerry Porter left Oakland on a sour note after he let his bad attitude get in the way of his play but there is no denying that he was a good receiver who consistently put up decent numbers. It took him a couple of seasons to get up to speed but when I think of how the Chiefs staff said they “stood up and cheered” when the Raiders didn’t draft Sylvester Morris (who?) in the 1st round because they had their eye one him it makes me chuckle.

Then there is Shane Lechler who is a perenial Pro Bowler and All Pro and looks like he could be the best punter since Ray Guy.

1999

1. Matt Stinchcomb, T, Georgia
2. Tony Bryant, DE, Florida State
4. Dameane Douglas, WR, California
5a. Eric Barton, LB, Maryland
5b. Roderick Coleman, LB, East Carolina

BUST! Is all caps is Matt STENCHcomb. He never blocked anything. And he was hurt the rest of the time.

This draft doesn’t get good until the 5th when we get two really nice finds in Eric Barton and Roderick Coleman. Both of whom were good with the Raiders and have been good with other teams since.

1998
1a. Charles Woodson, CB, Michigan
1b. Mo Collins, T, Florida
2. Leon Bender, DT, Washington St.
3. Jon Ritchie, RB, Stanford

Ok Charles Woodson was a good one. But being the first Heisman Trophy winner by a primarily defensive player in God knows how long takes a bit of the guess work out of this pick especially knowing how Al loves his Dbs.

Mo Collins showed flashes of being worth the pick as he started at Tackle for his first two seasons. Then he was moved to Guard in his third season and couldn’t stay healthy. He played a total of six seasons for the NFL and the Raiders starting 64 of 71 games. Very respectable.

Leon Bender died of unknown causes before he could play a game in the NFL. God rest his soul.

Jon Ritchie was a great one in his few seasons in Oakland. He had the fans going nuts about a fullback for the first time in a while. And the fact that his helmet would make his forehead bleed nearly every game just made him look that much more menacing. He ended up following Gruden to Tampa Bay with the promise of seeing more passes out of the backfield. That never materialized.

1997
1. Darrell Russell, DT, USC
3a. Adam Treu, G, Nebraska

Darrell Russell looked pretty good at times and even made the ProBowl in his 2nd year. Then he couldn’t stop smoking the wacky tobackee and it didn’t really matter how good he was because he wasn’t on the field. Damn you to hell St Louis for taking Orlando Pace. And now you took Chris Long. You are officially on the “dead to me” list.

Adam Treu may never have only started a single season (and that Superbowl) but he held down the long snapper job for this team for 10 years. Not bad for a 3rd rounder.

1996

1. Rickey Dudley, TE, Ohio State
2. Lance Johnstone, DE, Temple

Rickey Dudley was the ultimate project coming out of college. It was discovered very quickly that he couldn’t catch a cold and despite the Raiders HOF receivers coach’s best efforts he never learned how.

Lance Johnstone had some pretty good years in two stints with the Raiders. He had over 10 sacks twice with the Raiders and twice with the Vikings. He played 11 years and retired as a Raider.

So let’s review:

In 9 of these 11 drafts the 2nd and 3rd (and in one case 5th) round choices out performed the 1st round selection(s) of the same year.
Great 2nd and 3rd round picks: 12

What happened to Al between the 1st round and the 2nd round?

Great 1st round picks: 2 (of 14)

Yes folks that is a 14% approval rating. George W can boast numbers higher than that.

(And in both cases, the Raiders had two 1st round choices so Al had two chances to get it right. Yeesh!)

1st round busts: 8

Scary number isn’t it? That means AD completely blows around 60% of his first round picks. And that doesn’t include the 4 picks that were just so so. (which if you do the math would of course bring the number to 86%)

The unfortunate thing is that the Raiders didn’t have a 2nd or a 3rd round choice this year. They traded their 2nd rounder this year to the Falcsons for CB DeAngelo Hall. While Hall is great and is worth a 2nd round pick (the pick was nearly a 1st rounder anyway) with the team’s track record of good 2nd round picks it may have been better spent on a position of need. The third round selection was spent when the Raiders wanted to move up to the Patriots spot to get OT Mario Henderson in the 3rd round last year. The jury is still out on that decision as Henderson has yet to develop. The Raiders first choice after the first round was in the 4th round. For which they traded two 7th rounders to move up four spots to get the 100th pick from the Cowboys and get another corner to replace the corner they were about to trade (Fabs) to the Ravens to get a mid 4th rounder.

The hope is that Al can buck this 10 year trend of 1st round busts and 2nd and 3rd round finds because right now this team is pinning it’s hopes on a 1st rounder in Darren McFadden, and four 4th round or lower choices. If Raider fans are looking for hope in trends then perhaps the fact that the last two running backs Al drafted in the 1st round were Napoleon Kaufman and Marcus Allen will help. That doesn’t ease my mind but if it works for you, run with it.

About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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