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First-Round Draft Woes of the Raiders over Past Ten Years

Posted on April 08, 2014 by Martin Banks

The news that Johnny Manziel has recently been on a two-day visit with the Oakland Raiders has raised some eyebrows around the NFL. It has also brought back memories of some of the Raiders’ terrible first-round draft picks. And with the likes of JaMarcus Russell in Oakland’s recent history, it’s easy to wonder if Johnny Football with be the Raiders’ next big bust. No matter what happens with Manziel, Oakland won’t be rid of its terrible draft record anytime soon, so let’s look at who the Raiders picked first over the last ten drafts and who they looked over.


2013: D.J. Hayden

Although it’s far too early to decide what sort of player Hayden will ultimately turn out to be, it’s worth noting that he is one of only three players on an NFL roster out of the eight first-round picks that the Raiders have had over the past ten years. Another note that may be of importance is that Sheldon Richardson was taken directly after Hayden. Richardson’s impressive rookie campaign points in the direction of potential dominance in the future, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

2010: Rolando McClain

With no first-round picks in 2011 or 2012, the next most-recent first-rounder for the Raiders is McClain. To make a long story short, McClain retired from the NFL in May of last year. Although he appeared to be a lock for productivity after his performance at the University of Alabama, McClain never truly played up to his potential as the eighth overall pick. C.J. Spiller was chosen after McClain. Spiller has shown flashes of greatness and still has a home with the Buffalo Bills.

2009: Darrius Heyward-Bey

Heyward-Bey is my personal favorite pick in the history of the Oakland Raiders. As amazed as everyone was when the Raiders selected the Maryland receiver, Oakland seemed certain that the speedster would pan out.  Taken after Heyward-Bey was Eugene Monroe, who now blocks for the Ravens after being drafted by Jacksonville.

2008: Darren McFadden

McFadden still has a chance to become a great running back, but injuries have plagued his career to this point. The word “bust” may not be completely accurate regarding McFadden, but he certainly hasn’t turned into what you would expect out of the fourth overall pick thus far. Much like McFadden, Glenn Dorsey is trying to revitalize his career after being selected fifth in the same draft.

2007: JaMarcus Russell

This is where it gets really good. Due to his huge arm, Russell was taken first overall in 2007. Three years later, he was cut by the Raiders. After some trouble with the law, Russell is currently trying to stage an NFL comeback. What hurts even more is the fact that Calvin Johnson was taken right after Russell. Now the Raiders have to watch the best receiver in the NFL catch passes in Detroit.

2006: Michael Huff

Huff is another top-ten pick who isn’t currently on an NFL roster. He was taken seventh overall by Oakland, right before Donte Whitner. Although they were drafted one after another, Whitner has turned out to be the much better safety.

2005: Fabian Washington

I know I must sound like a broken record, but Washington doesn’t have a home in the NFL anymore either. Although he was taken 23rd overall, Washington’s last season with any NFL team was in 2011, but an injury forced him to the IR. The terrible part of the 2005 draft for Oakland was the fact that Aaron Rodgers was the 24th pick. While Washington can’t find a spot on an NFL roster, Rodgers has turned into one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks.

2004: Robert Gallery

Gallery played guard in the NFL for eight seasons before retiring in 2012. He was selected second overall by Oakland to play left tackle, but after the 2006 season, in which Gallery gave up the fourth-most sacks among linemen despite missing three games, he was moved to left guard. Right after Gallery, Larry Fitzgerald was drafted, making him yet another elite receiver passed on by the Raiders.

Scott Huntington is a sports writer specializing in all things related to history. Check out his new blog, or  follow Scott at @SMHuntington

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