Raiders' best drafts of past 10 years

Raiders' best drafts of past 10 years
April 12, 2013, 8:00 am
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Nnamdi Asomugha was seen as a bit of a stretch pick by Al Davis as the 31st overall pick in the 2003 draft. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Since 2003, the Raiders have drafted 80 players. The Raiders have also not enjoyed a winning season in that time frame, topping out at 8-8 in both 2010 and 2011 while going a combined 49-111 (.306) and setting an NFL record for most consecutive seasons with at least 11 defeats at seven, from '03 though '09. So the exercise of ranking the Raiders' drafts of the past decade was a daunting one, indeed, in terms of separating the "best" from the "worst," even if it grew fascinating in seeing different philosophies emerge last year, the first draft after the passing of iconic owner Al Davis with Reggie McKenzie now the Raiders football czar. Still, there was some separation, and following are the positives…

Raiders best drafts of past decade

1. 2003 -- The good: Was the Raiders' best draft of the past decade really 10 years ago? Yes. And ain't it ironic that Oakland's first-round selection did not come until the 31st overall pick? Yup. And if you recall, Nnamdi Asomugha was seen as a bit of a stretch pick by Al Davis. By the time Asomugha was becoming an elite cornerback with a pair of All-Pro nods and three Pro Bowl selections, Davis was being hailed a genius again for finding a jewel at Cal. Now, none of Asomugha's on-field genius helped the Raiders ever finish with a winning record before he left for Philadelphia's riches in 2011, but his exploits in Silver and Black have to count for something. As do those of third-round pick Justin Fargas, who was drafted No. 96 overall out of USC and would have a 1,000-yard rushing season in 2007, and special teams ace Sam Williams, who played through 2010. The bad: Defensive end Tyler Brayton, selected with the pick acquired from Tampa Bay in the Jon Gruden trade, went one selection after Asomugha and never established himself as a first-rounder, while second-rounder Teyo Johnson proved to be a better college basketball player at Stanford than an NFL tight end in leaving Oakland after just two seasons.

2. 2008 -- The good: Yes, we know all about Darren McFadden's durability issues, that he has yet to play more than 13 games in a season, that he has missed a combined 13 games the past two years. But when talking Raiders drafts, you have to take potential into account and weigh accordingly. When right, McFadden is a Top 5 running back. And the No. 4 overall pick of this draft is expected, once again, to be the focal point of this year's offense under new O.C. Greg Olson. Plus, fourth-rounder Tyvon Branch has been the iron man of the secondary, the strong safety missing a game last year for the first time since his rookie season. The bad: True, the Raiders only had five picks so it's kind of harsh to say sixth-round defensive end Trevor Scott and seventh-round receiver Chaz Schilens were flops, though injuries halted each of their developments after hot starts. Fourth-round receiver Arman Shields? He had a blazing 40-time at the Combine but never played in a game for the Raiders after a knee injury.

[RELATED: Raiders' worst drafts of past decade]

3. 2010 -- The good: Defensive end Lamarr Houston, taken in the second round, and left tackle Jared Veldheer, a surprise selection in the third, are anchors on both lines. Receiver/returner Jacoby Ford can be a game-changer when healthy, both physically and mentally, and seventh-rounder Stevie Brown was a revelation…for the limited time he was in Oakland. The bad: Rolando McClain. 'Nuff said. Then there was workout warrior Bruce Campbell, a fourth-round favorite of Al Davis who was a project on the O-line to begin with before being shipped out. Sixth-round linebacker Travis Goethel is still on the team, but is always hurt, and fifth-round and seventh-round DBs Walter McFadden and Jeremy Ware were gone after one year.

4. 2011 -- The good: The Raiders were without a first-round pick thanks to the Richard Seymour trade so Stefen Wisniewski was the top pick, at No. 48 overall, and Li'l Wiz has proven to be a mainstay, whether at center or left guard, Even as the Raiders were eyeing Miami tackle Orlando Franklin, taken two picks earlier by Denver. Denarius Moore was a revelation as a rookie fifth-rounder but regressed mightily in his second year and sixth- and seventh-round tight ends Richard Gordon and David Ausberry should compete to start this year. Plus, quarterback Terrelle Pryor was taken later in the supplemental draft -- he was Al Davis' final draft pick, even if he wavered until making that call until the last second -- and Pryor gives fans hope, so that's got to count for something, right? The bad: Third-rounders DeMarcus Van Dyke, a fleet-of-foot cornerback, and offensive lineman Joe Barksdale lasted all of one season, while fourth-rounders Chimdi Chekwa, who plays both corner and safety, and Taiwan Jones will now compete in the secondary as Jones makes the transition to cornerback from running back.

5. 2012 -- The good: The first draft sans Al Davis, and for the second straight year, the Raiders were without a first-round pick, this time because of the Carson Palmer trade, and they were also without second- and third-rounders, due to trades that landed them Taiwan Jones and Joe Barksdale a year earlier and picking Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft. But Miles Burris, taken with a fourth-round compensatory pick at No. 129 overall, surprisingly started 15 games at weakside linebacker and wracked up 96 tackles, with 1 1/2 sacks. Fifth-round receiver Juron Criner showed flashes of being a physical pass catcher, but needs to improve his consistency, same with sixth-round defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi. The bad: Tony Bergstrom, the first pick of the McKenzie-Allen Era, at No. 95 overall, failed to solidify himself as a starter on the line. Fifth-round defensive end Jack Crawford, expected to find a role in the rotation with his athleticism, played in just four games, and seventh-round linebacker Nathan Stupar, who was expected to back up Rolando McClain, was cut before the season.

 

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