10 Worst Draft Flops in Oakland Raiders History
God rest his soul, Al Davis was always enamored with size, speed, power and throwing distance. Those are good ingredients to have for a football player but it's far from a guarantee he will be successful.
Davis often collected the aforementioned characteristics to build his football teams over the years. When things worked out, they worked out in a big way, leading his picks to Pro Bowls, Super Bowls and the Hall of Fame.
But when Davis missed, he missed badly, setting his franchise back a few years with losing records. Other times, he had a Super Bowl team built around the player and it turned into just a playoff team.
Let's take a look at the 10 worst draft flops in history of the Oakland Raiders.
No. 10: Elderidge Dickey
We will never know what Eldridge Dickey could have been had America come as far then as it has now. Dickey was a black quarterback with the cannon Davis liked so he drafted him in the first round in 1968.
Apparently, American football wasn't quite ready for black men in leadership positions. So somehow, Davis, who drafted Dickey in the first round, uncharacteristically never gave Dickey an opportunity to play quarterback.
What happened to Eldridge Dickey has to be one of the greatest sports crimes ever committed. The entire sports world and Dickey were robbed by the Oakland Raiders. In 1969 during the preseason, he out-performed nearly every quarterback in the AFC and NFC. I was not surprised that Kenny Stabler quit. Dickey was special and just too talented. He was fast, had a powerful arm and could throw the ball with both hands. He was truly one of the most accurate passers I've ever seen. I wanted him badly but the Raiders selected him first. By the time I did get him four years later, Dickey really wanted out of the NFL. Deep down, he never forgave the Oakland Raiders.
This is really interesting to me because this doesn't sound like Davis, who drafted him in the first place.
Was this John Madden's doing or was it the death threats black quarterbacks received back then?
I could actually see Davis choosing Dickey's life over football, moving him to wide receiver. But Dickey was neither happy or effective there, starting two games, catching five passes for 122 yards as a Raiders.
I don't like Dickey on this list due to his circumstances but that's still not what you want from a first-round pick.
No. 9: Tyler Brayton
In 2003, Davis hit in the first round with Nnamdi Asomugha and missed badly later in the first round with Tyler Brayton. It was a good idea to draft for pressure on the quarterback after getting your best cornerback in years.
However, it didn't exactly work out that way as Brayton had only six sacks in his five seasons as a Raider. His biggest season with the Raiders was one that he had 2.5 sacks while the best in his career was five sacks.
Brayton narrowly beat out Rickey Dudley, who had a 29 touchdowns in five years, Fabian Washington (five interceptions in three years) and Phillip Buchanon (11 interceptions, four touchdowns in three years). Brayton was a talent miss because he brought it every time out, but simply didn't have a whole lot to bring.
No. 8: Derrick Gibson
You usually don't draft a strong safety in the first round unless you have a Troy Polamalu or Bob Sanders coming out. It helps if you're both, but to be a solid strong safety you have to be a big hitter or good in coverage.
Gibson was neither so it wasn't a wonder as to why he just didn't work out with the Raiders or in the NFL. He had just three interceptions in his five years as a Raider and never had more that 56 tackles in a season.
To give you an idea of how bad he was, he only started in 32 games in that time frame.
Two years' worth of starts in four years is horrible for a first-round pick.
No. 7: Robert Gallery
In 2004, Robert Gallery had the renegade look Davis liked with his long hair and tattoos all over his arms. But what he really liked is that Gallery was 6'7", 325 pounds and ran a 40-yard dash under five seconds.
Davis got so caught up in his size and speed, he looked over the fact Gallery could only bench press 225 pounds 24 times. Perhaps Gallery would have benefited from the "tainted supplements" Shawne Merriman was on when he bowled Gallery over for one of his three sacks in him in the 2006 season opener.
God bless those that say Gallery saved himself by becoming a great guard in the NFL. He became an average NFL guard at best as he was inconsistent as well as often injured.
But the bottom line is Gallery was picked No. 2 overall to be a dominant left tackle and couldn't so much as make a Pro Bowl as a guard.
Remember, that was a colossal contract he got.
No. 6: John Clay
At 6'5" and 300 pounds, John Clay was a huge man for 1987, when he was picked in the first round by the Davis. He was supposed to anchor the offensive line from the left tackle position but was moved to right tackle of the Chargers with some draft picks for Jim Lachey.
That was one of the greatest trades the Raiders ever made, but it would soon be followed by one of the worst. Later that year, Davis traded Lachey for Jay Schroeder and and some high draft picks.
My bad, back to Clay. You know a player is bad when you start talking about the players traded after him. Clay only lasted one season and started nine games for the Silver and Black.
No. 5: Matt Stinchcomb
Davis rolled the dice and came up snake-eyes when he drafted Matt Stinchcomb in the first round. Stinchcomb was a great player at the University of Georgia, but he blew out his shoulder in his senior year.
Like free-agent signee Javon Walker all those years after, the Raiders waited in vain for Stinchcomb to become that guy again. Stinchcomb moved all over the offensive line, but never found his niche.
It it weren't for injuries, Stinchcomb would still be starting at left tackle for the Raiders and Gallery would have never been one.
No. 4: Bob Buczkowski
In 1986, Davis drafted Bob Buczkowski No. 24 overall to help Howie Long put pressure on the quarterback. It's a good thing Long didn't need a whole lot of help back then because he got very little from Buczowski.
Buczlowski only started two games, had one sack as a Raider and 1.5 for his whole career. If that isn't an all-time Raiders draft flop, I don't know what is because the Raiders got so little out for Buczkowski.
Only a quarterback could rank higher than this.
No. 3: Marc Wilson
No position in football can either elevate or mess up a franchise the way the quarterback position can. Marc Wilson was drafted in 1980 in the first round by Davis but couldn't really mess the franchise up because the team was full of Raiders legends and Hall of Fame players.
However, Wilson did keep the Raiders from winning a few more Super Bowls than they did in the 1980s. I still wonder how much of a dynasty the Raiders would have had if Jim Plunkett had been the guy back then.
Plunkett led the Raiders to a Super Bowl victory in 1980 and wasn't the starter the next year. Wilson was given the job in 1981 and the Raiders went 7-9, missing the playoffs.
Plunkett regained the starting role 1983, leading the Raiders to another championship, but Wilson was the starter again in 1984. The Raiders got in the playoffs with an 11-5 record but were ousted by then-rival Seattle Seahawks.
Then in 1985, he teamed up with kick returner Sammy Seale to ruin an MVP season by Marcus Allen by getting the Raiders eliminated by the New England Patriots.
Wilson simply made a dynasty come up short of its potential.
And New Yorkers think Mark Sanchez is horrible.
No. 2: Todd Marinovich
Todd Marinovich was literally born to play quarterback in the NFL, and coupled with his parents divorce when he was a teen, that might have been the problem. Marinovich's father, Marv, made sure he got all the pure nutrients he needed from the time he was still in his mother's womb.
When Marinovich came out of the womb, it was more of the same as he was not allowed to eat candy or anything impure. His father started him on an exercise program before he could walk, starting his preparation for the NFL that early.
It all went well early on as he became a top high school recruit and ended up at daddy's alma mater, USC. But remembering his story, I have to wonder where the simple showing of love to his son was.
I believe that is what caused Marinovich to start smoking weed in high school and college, giving in to cocaine in the NFL. The cocaine abuse was his ultimate demise as in his first start, it looked like he would eventually get there, throwing for three touchdowns in a loss to Chiefs.
But Marinovich would last just one more season in the NFL, going 3-5 as a starter. The Raiders thought they had the second coming of "The Snake" (Ken Stabler) but the thing this snake bit was himself and his own team.
No. 1: JaMarcus Russell
Davis selected JaMarcus Russell No. 1 overall in 2007 to turn his struggling franchise around. At 6'6" and 265 pounds with the ability to throw a football 60 yards in the air from his knees, Russell was Davis' dream.
But after struggling in limited action his first year and improving in his second, Russell regressed in his third, becoming Davis' worst nightmare. This set the franchise way back to the point that the Raiders still haven't had a winning season in over nine years.
So what happened?
At first, I thought Russell was always overrated, having one big game against an overrated Notre Dame. But I saw him make a bit of a jump from his first year to his second, then falter in his third, and I had to take a closer look.
His father figure, Ray Ray Russell, passed away in the summer of 2009, leaving Russell all alone. He then turned to codeine syrup, causing him to balloon up to 300 pounds by the spring of 2010.
It was then that Russell was released with a career record of 7-18 and quarterback rating of 65.2. The 2007 No. 1 overall pick signed a $61 million contract with $32 million guaranteed, making him the biggest draft bust in Raiders and NFL history.
The Al Davis era ended a few months ago with his death and the Reggie McKenzie era has just begun with his hiring as GM a couple of weeks ago. You just had a chance to look at the 10 worst draft flops in Raiders history, which means Davis' history.
The combine, free agency and the draft are coming soon, signifying the true beginning of the McKenzie era. The Davis era was great but I hope the McKenzie era is greater, with fewer misses than his former boss.
Davis always said that the greatness of the Raiders is in the future.
Here it comes.
Just win, baby!