Last in a series
The Raiders aren’t scheduled for a first-round draft choice in 2011, having traded it to New England to acquire Richard Seymour. But Al Davis has never been shy about trading up, and the organization has not been without a first-round pick since 1989.
Here’s a ranking of Raiders’ picks in the first round since they returned to Oakland in 1995:
1. CB Charles Woodson, Michigan (4-1998): His level of dedication Monday through Saturday was a constant issue and so were injuries, but Woodson’s addition was one of the turning points in getting the Raiders back to a position of prominence with three straight division titles. Has blossomed into a potential Hall of Famer in Green Bay because 1) he grew up; and 2) the Packers system has put him position to utilize his unique coverage, tackling, pass rushing and ball-stripping skills.
2. CB Nnamdi Asomugha, Cal (31-2003): A study in perseverance who blossomed in 2006 with eight interceptions and has been largely ignored because of his exceptional cover skills ever since with three interceptions in his last 60 games. Is not expected to return in free agency, and the Raiders will soon learn if the ability to shut down one receiver was worth all the money they paid over the past three years.
3. RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas (4-2008): I’m going to go ahead and assume that 2010 was not a mirage and that McFadden is what he looked to be at Arkansas _ a versatile, dynamic playmaker who gives the Raiders a bigger, faster, more powerful version of Charlie Garner and their best all-around running back since Marcus Allen. The Raiders still haven’t maximized his receiving skills.
4. RB Napoleon Kaufman, Washington (18-1995): The Raiders’ fourth all-time leading rusher with 4,972 yards and second in a single season (1,294 yards in 1997). Was not a frequent visitor to the end zone (12 rushing touchdowns) and was a subpar receiver but a game breaker but had “Raider speed” in excess. Retired to become a minister following 2000 season.
5. DT Darrell Russell, USC (2-1997): A two-time Pro Bowler in 1998 and 1999 with 19.5 sacks thsoe two seasons, Russell’s taste for partying and the night life saw him face NFL discipline for violating the substance abuse policy and eventually cost him his life in an auto accident in Los Angeles after his career was done.
6. T Robert Gallery, Iowa (2-2004): With rotating line coaches and philosophies, Gallery played at left guard and right tackle as a rookie, eventually moving to left tackle and finally left guard. Became a solid if injury-prone pro at the latter position. A nice save.
7. PK Sebastian Janikowski, Florida State (17-2000): Yes, he holds every Raiders kicking record and has outperformed many of the people who were drafted ahead of him with a controversial choice. But Janikowski has missed some key field goals (last year vs. Arizona stands out) and hasn’t been the game-changer befitting a specialist drafted in Round 1.
8. TE Rickey Dudley, Ohio State (9-1996): Another player who didn’t revolutionize the position after Al Davis traded up to get him and was heavily criticized because of his inconsistent hands. But keep in mind Dudley caught 29 touchdown passes between 1996 and 2001. The only Raider to score more touchdowns during that span was Tim Brown.
9. LB Rolando McClain, Alabama (8-2010): An encouraging if not dominating rookie season, McClain carries himself like a veteran in meeting and film rooms and is being counted upon to take the next step and be a playmaker in addition to getting everyone into position.
10. T Mo Collins, Florida (23-1998): Struggled as a tackle, Collins was eventually moved inside to right guard and was a key figure in a power-blocking scheme that helped the Raiders lead the league in rushing during their breakthough season in 2000 when they won a division title and advanced to the AFC championship game. Weight issues helped cut short his career.
11. S Michael Huff, Texas (7-2006): Played out of position at strong safety for two seasons, then lost his job to Hiram Eugene in Year 3. Huff rebounded in 2009 with a better season and in 2010 showed another dimension with four sacks as a blitzer. Expected to hit the free agent market, Huff could be headed elsewhere if another team comes up with big money.
12. CB Fabian Washington, Nebraska (23-2005): I can remember one training camp when Washington was the best defensive player on the field, but he never became the player the Raiders expected and was eventually traded to Baltimore for a fourth-round draft pick. Washington said the fault was his for not being mature enough, but he hasn’t become a top-flight player in Baltimore, either.
13. CB Phillip Buchanon, Miami (17-2002): Buchanon was a frequent visitor to the end zone (four defensive touchdowns, three punt return touchdowns) but was so maddeningly inconsistent that Tim Brown said of him, “Phillip giveth, and Phillip taketh away.” Traded to Houston for second- and third-round picks _ and they were ecstatic to get that much.
14. LB Napoleon Harris, Northwestern (23-2002): The Raiders moved aside Greg Biekert to make Harris the starting rookie middle linebacker in 2002, flanking him with veterans Bill Romanowski and Elijah Alexander. Had speed and athletic skill but never showed much instinct for the position. Sent to Minnesota as part of the deal that brought Randy Moss to Oakland.
15. DE Tyler Brayton, Colorado (32-2003): Played in 65 games with 48 starts , Brayton’s effort level was never questioned but he had just six sacks as a Raider and none over his last 39 games. Biggest moment was a knee-to-the-groin of universally hated Seattle tight end Jerramy Stevens which cost him a $25,000 in fines was generally well-received by both teammates and opponents.
16. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland (7-2009):With 35 receptions in 26 games (25 starts), 490 yards and two touchdowns, it’s time to dramatically increase production or it’s time to start applying the “B” word. Some already have.
17. S Derrick Gibson, Florida State (28-2001): Jon Gruden wanted Arizona State tight end Todd Heap. Davis gave him Gibson, who hung around for 69 games (with 32 starts) on scholarship but had little value except as a big nickel defender confined to tight areas, mostly as a run defender.
18. T Matt Stinchcomb, Georgia (18-1999): Had a serious shoulder injury in his senior year at Georgia, but the Raiders drafted him anyway. Surprise! He needed reconstructive shoulder surgery. Played tackle, center and guard, excelling at none.
19. QB JaMarcus Russell, LSU (1-2007): The Raiders got indifference. Russell got $39 million.
NOTABLE FIRST-ROUND PICKS IN RAIDERS HISTORY:
– G Gene Upshaw (17-1967) was drafted specifically to counter Chiefs’ mammoth defensive tackle Buck Buchanan. One of the best NFL guards ever.
– RB Marcus Allen (10-1982) never saw eye to eye with Davis but is the all-time leading rusher in franchise history (8,545 yards) and author of the organization’s greatest Super Bowl moment with a 74-yard run against the Washington Redskins.
– S Jack Tatum (19-1971) was one of the NFL’s most feared hitters and personified the Raiders’ philosophy of intimidation.
– TE Ray Chester (24-1970) was a find out of Morgan State who was traded to Baltimore after three promising seasons for a declining Bubba Smith but returned in 1979 at age 31 to have his best year _ 58 receptions for 712 yards and eight touchdowns.
– WR Tim Brown (6-1988) was a Heisman Trophy winner out of Notre Dame who will likely hold the franchise records for receptions (1,070) and receiving yards (14,734) forever.
– CB Terry McDaniel (8-1988) arrived two selections after Brown and made five Pro Bowls, interceptions in 11 seasons before he hit a sudden decline in his early 30s.
– S Patrick Bates (12-1993) had the classic look of a Raiders safety and a pedigree to match from Texas A&M, but his heart never seemed to be in football. He in fact walked away from the team in the days preceding the 1995 season opener, later to return.
– DT Chester McGlockton (16-1992) made four Pro Bowls and played at a high level but his play and effort deteriorated as he became disenchanted with his contract.
– QB Todd Marinovich (24-1991) saw his career derailed by drug issues after having earned the reputation at USC as a “Robo QB” built by his father, a former Raiders assistant Marv Marinovich.
– QB Marc Wilson (15-1980) is one of the most reviled quarterbacks in franchise history, but it’s worth noting his record as a starter was 31-19. If the Raiders get that out of Jason Campbell, they’ll hold a parade.
– DE Bob Buczkowski (24-1986) and T John Clay (1-15-1987) were first-round picks in back-to-back drafts. Both were busts, although Buczkowski got in the news in 2005 after being arrested for delivery of a controlled substance, promoting prostitution, criminal conspiracy and participating in a corrupt organization.
And no, that organization was not the Raiders. He was long gone by then.
RANKING RAIDERS’ DRAFTS BY ROUND
Links to previous rankings of Raiders’ drafts by round: