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10 Biggest Draft Mistakes in Oakland Raiders History

Christopher HansenNFL AnalystJanuary 11, 2017

10 Biggest Draft Mistakes in Oakland Raiders History

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    The Raiders franchise has one of the best and brightest histories in all of professional football. Much of this history is largely due to a string of drafts from 1967 to 1974 that produced Gene Upshaw, Ken Stabler, Art Shell, Art Thoms, Raymond Chester, Jack Tatum, Phil Villapiano, Dave Dalby, Cliff Branch, Ray Guy and Dave Casper, among others.

    Unfortunately, for every bust the Raiders have displayed in Canton, they've drafted a bust.

    Most of these selections focus on the first round, where the talent is the best and where teams should expect the players to start at the very least.

    The biggest draft mistakes in Oakland Raiders' history are tilted significantly toward the past 25 years. As Al Davis neared retirement age, he began making more mistakes and they just became more frequent and more damaging as time went on.

    I'd be remiss not to say Davis experienced a turnaround toward the end of his life. The draft picks since the disastrous 2007 draft have added quite a few quality players to the roster.

10. DE Quentin Moses: 65th Overall (2007)

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    Zach Miller and Michael Bush keep the Raiders' 2007 draft from being one of the worst in history. The Raiders had 11 total selections, six in the first four rounds, and five years later not a single player remains with the team.

    One of the biggest mistakes was the selection of defensive end Quentin Moses with the first pick in the third round. The Raiders quickly realized the mistake and cut Moses prior to the season, but the damage was done.

    Moses caught on with Miami for four years, but was a fringe-roster player until 2010. Moses was not on a roster in 2011, but recently worked out with the 49ers.

    In 44 games, Moses tallied a total of 3.5 sacks and 25 tackles. Moses started just two games in his career.

    It should have been a sign to the fans of the turmoil to come between Lane Kiffin and Al Davis.

9. LT Robert Gallery: Second Overall (2004)

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    Take note, Indianapolis. There is no such thing as a can't-miss-prospect. 

    The Raiders needed a franchise left tackle, and the media and fans believed Robert Gallery was the best one to come along in a decade.

    The first sign of trouble was, Gallery didn't start at left tackle immediately, playing right tackle for his first two seasons.

    The Raiders moved Gallery to left tackle in 2006 and he couldn't have been much worse. Tom Cable came along and revived Gallery's career by moving him to left guard.

    It was a huge draft mistake by the Raiders because Gallery was drafted to be the franchise left tackle and by year four Gallery was playing guard. Had the Raiders wanted to draft a guard, they could have drafted Chris Snee in the second round. 

    Credit to Gallery for resuscitating his career at guard and not appearing much higher on this list.

8. QB Eldridge Dickey: 25th Overall (1968)

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    Drafted a round in front of Ken Stabler, Dickey was asked to change positions and play receiver. He did, but never really accepted his role as a receiver and ended up playing only two seasons with the Raiders in 1968 and 1971.

    Dickey was the first African-American Quarterback to be drafted in the first round by an AFL or NFL team, and believed he might be the first to play or become a starter. 

    Al Davis might have given him the opportunity to do so, if not for Ken Stabler. Davis cared about winning, and determined Dickey's talent would be put to better use as a receiver.

    As it turned out, moving Dickey to receiver killed his career. Dickey finished his career with just six receptions for 48 yards.

    Ken Stabler went on to win a Super Bowl in 1976 with the Raiders.

7. TE Teyo Johnson: 63rd Overall (2003)

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    The Raiders drafted Teyo Johnson in 2003 with the 63rd overall selection. Johnson was yet another receiving tight end Al Davis hoped would be the next-coming of Raymond Chester or Dave Casper.

    Where Rickey Dudley was just disappointing, Johnson was a complete bust.

    Johnson played in 24 games as a Raider and had 23 receptions and three touchdowns. He played his last NFL season in 2005 with the Arizona Cardinals.

    It's rare when a team gives up on a player drafted in the top 100 before their third season, as the Raiders did with Johnson.

    Johnson was a converted receiver and ex-basketball star, but was never able to grasp the tight end position, and the result is one big draft mistake. 

6. LT Matt Stinchcomb: 18th Overall (1999)

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    Matt Stinchcomb was drafted to be the franchise left tackle, necessitating a move from left tackle to guard for Mo Collins.

    Stinchcomb couldn't stay healthy and lost his job to NFL Europe free agent Barry Sims half way into the season and never reclaimed it.

    Like Gallery, Stinchcomb moved inside to left guard, but couldn't stay healthy or effective over the next three years.

    Stinchcomb managed to stay healthy in 2004 with Tampa Bay and started all 16 games, but he was not retained.

    The Raiders had hoped Stinchcomb would be the blindside protector for Rich Gannon, but injuries and ineffectiveness hurt his efforts and Stinchcomb never did justify his lofty draft position. 

5. DE Bob Buczkowski: 24th Overall (1986)

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    Bob Buczkowski is one of the biggest draft mistakes in Raiders history. Drafted with the 24th overall selection in the 1986 NFL draft, Buczkowski played only one season for the Raiders, appearing in just two games and recording one sack.

    Buczkowski did not play in 1988, but returned in 1989 with the Phoenix Cardinals and in 1990 with the Cleveland Browns.

    In 1990, Buczkowski played in 15 games, starting two. That was his most extensive experience in the NFL and he certainly never approximated anything close to the value of a 24th overall pick.

    In 2005, at the age of 41, Buczkowski was arrested for operating a $1 million prostitution and drug operation in Pennsylvania. 

4. OT John Clay: 15th Overall (1987)

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    The Raiders haven't had much success selecting offensive tackles in the first round of the NFL draft. Clay was drafted with the 15th overall selection and started nine of the ten games he played in as a rookie.

    Clay was released after his rookie season and played in two games for the San Diego Chargers in 1988. 

    The consensus All-American in 1986 at Missouri quickly found himself out of the NFL, and the Raiders found themselves without much to show for their first-round pick.

3. DB Patrick Bates: 12th Overall (1993)

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    Patrick Bates was the 12th overall pick for the Raiders in 1993. Bates made a name for himself in college at Texas A&M playing for the "Wrecking Crew" defense.

    Al Davis was obviously enamored with Bates' 6'3", 215-pound frame.

    Bates didn't start a single game as a rookie, and after starting nine games in 1994, he didn't play at all in 1995. He was traded to the Atlanta Falcons in 1996 and started nine games before losing his his job.

    That was it for Bates in the NFL. The big safety never filled Jack Tatum's shoes, as Al Davis had hoped.

2. QB Todd Marinovich: 24th Overall (1991)

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    Famous flame-out Todd Marinovich would top this list if not for another famously bad selection.

    I suppose Marinovich was less Marino and more 'Vich. After two seasons the Raiders gave up on him.

    Marinovich reportedly got into harder drugs than marijuana once he got into the NFL, and it may have lead to his demise as a player.

    During his two seasons, Marinovich started eight games threw for eight touchdowns and had nine interceptions. His record was 3-5.

    Marinovich is now an artist and often paints football related objects and people. You can take a look at some of his art online at ToddMarinovich.com.

1. QB JaMarcus Russell: First Overall (2007)

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    Al Davis had the first overall selection in the 2007 NFL draft. Instead of picking the best player, Davis decided he needed to get a quarterback. 

    Russell's size and arm strength attracted the Raiders and ultimately led to his selection. 

    Russell held out and missed his first training camp. He didn't play until the end of the 2007 season and started one game.

    In his second season, Russell produced what appeared to be a solid season as he passed for 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. However, Russell only completed 53.8 percent of his passes and the Raiders were limiting his opportunities in an attempt to hide his flaws.

    Russell entered his third season, and the wheels totally came off. Russell declined in every statistical category and posted one of the worst completion percentages of the modern era.

    The Raiders released Russell in 2010, in part due to concerns about his work ethic and abuse of codeine cough syrup. 

    Russell was later arrested on codeine cough syrup charges, but a jury declined to indict Russell on the charge.

    There is no question that the Raiders' biggest draft mistake was drafting JaMarcus Russell. The recovery from the financial impact of the pick took years, and is only now being fully realized. 

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