Looks like the Raiders are toast.
They cut Tyler Wilson, the No. 112 pick overall in the NFL draft. No team has admitted blowing a draft pick to that extent (although there is a miniscule chance Wilson could return on the practice squad) and it’s being presented as evidence that the Reggie McKenzie era is destined for failure.
It’s pretty embarrassing to cut fourth-round draft pick in favor of undrafted free agent Matt McGloin. If only they’d selected McGloin instead, McKenzie and Co. would look as if they knew what they were doing.
Probably not, though. The Raiders would have been trashed for that pick too. That’s the way it works when you’re in charge of a losing team.
Basically, anything the Patriots and Ravens do is brilliant, and a lot of other teams have a lot left to be desired. And that’s not wrong. You look to successful business models to forecast success.
The only thing that counts is results, so here are a few thoughts to keep in mind (or promptly disregard):
— Being the team that cut the highest pick (No. 112) is embarrassing and it’s a mistake. Could have found another player at a different position that could contribute, maybe even start, on a roster with limited talent.
— It’s not the end of the world, JaMarcus Russell-style, not even close. Especially if McGloin performs to the level of the fourth-round pick Wilson was supposed to be. Teams whiff on fourth-round picks all the time. As colleague Steve Corkran pointed out, the Raiders dumped
Cal wide receiver Dameane Douglas in the Jon Gruden era (a fourth-round pick) and third-rounder Quintin Moses after Rob Ryan proclaimed him “unblockable.”
Neither of those mistakes changed the course of the franchise.
— The Raiders draft, as of now, looks much better than it did a month ago, even with the Wilson whiff. The first two picks, D.J. Hayden and Menelik Watson, will be important parts of the opener against Indianapolis on Sept. 8. During training camp, it didn’t look that way.
If Hayden and Watson are flops this year, that will be the reason for the demise of McKenzie, not because of missing on a quarterback who wasn’t going to play this year anyway.
— Unless Wilson surfaces on another team and thrives as a starter, it’s no more than an annoyance. If he’s Brett Favre, drafted by the Falcons but dumped to the Packers, then the Raiders have to live with it.
— Wilson fared well in the offseason in the rookie minicamp, organized team activities and mandatory camp (although less so at each step) before floundering at training camp.
While the Allen was stressing “competition” throughout, the truth is that if Wilson had looked like the better prospect a year from now, he would have been the third quarterback. The Raiders can talk all they want about competing on the field, but McKenzie’s job is to project, and if he thought Wilson would be the better player in 2014, he would be a Raider today.
In terms of the way the Raiders have assembled talent since McKenzie arrived, they’ve got a lot to answer for if they flounder in 2013. The drafting and release of Wilson will be only one thing on a lengthy list.