When Al Davis passed away October 8th, 2011, it left a hole at the top of a franchise that had known nothing but his control for 50 years. In the offseason Mark Davis, Al Davis’ son, hired former Raiders player and current Packers’ personnel guru Reggie McKenzie to lead the Raiders back to their former winning ways.
In the two seasons since, 2012 and 2013, the team has turned over a great amount of talent – some of this is due to contracts and some due to lack of production. The team has gone through a great transition in the last two seasons, however, that much is clear.
As the Raiders went into camp at the beginning of 2011, 100% of the players going into the offseason program were, of course, Al Davis players because he was the long-time GM of the team. Mr. Davis passed away in the middle of the 2011 season and the head coach, Hue Jackson, took over most personnel decisions, also consulting with new owner Mark Davis.
In early January of 2012, the Raiders hired new GM Reggie McKenzie and he took over the team, shedding “out of whack” contracts, signing free agents and running the draft.
When the Raiders went into camp in 2012, 43 of the 80 players going into camp were Davis players – either drafted, signed as free agents, or arriving via trade. This number does not include either Aaron Curry or Carson Palmer, both of whom were traded for after Davis’ passing.
Unsurprisingly, however, the bulk of the team, and especially the starters, were Davis players.
By the time the Raiders started training camp in 2013, the team was only carrying 18 players, still, that were drafted by Mr. Davis. Of those 18 players going into camp, only 14 made the roster of the final 53 although Chimdi Chekwa was re-signed to the practice squad and then, eventually, back onto the actual squad, where he remains.
And so we come to 2014, with the Raiders just starting their offseason workout program yesterday. As of now, there are 8 players that Mr. Davis drafted and 3 players that Mr. Davis signed in free agency on the team. That is it – just 11 players that remain on the team two seasons after Mr. Davis’ passing.
The players are, in chronological order: Sebastian Janikowski, Jon Condo, Darren McFadden, Tyvon Branch, Marcel Reece, Khalif Barnes, Stefen Wisniewski, Chimdi Chekwa, Taiwan Jones, Denarius Moore and David Ausberry.
At this point, Janikowski, Condo, Branch, Reece, and Wisniewski are likely starters. McFadden and Barnes are possible starters, as well, but I doubt that either is starting, come the beginning of the season.
This amount of turnover isn’t unexpected but it highlights two things that the Raiders seriously lacked any kind of nucleus of quality players when Mr. Davis passed and McKenzie took over. There were also some key philosophical differences between how Davis drafted versus what McKenzie is looking for.
By this time next year, it seems likely that this list will fall off, again, with McFadden, Moore, Chekwa, Barnes, Wisniewski, and Ausberry all becoming free agents unless re-signed.