Re-Grading the Oakland Raiders' Past 5 Drafts

Giancarlo Ferrari-King@@GiancarloKingFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2014

Re-Grading the Oakland Raiders' Past 5 Drafts

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    Re-grading the Oakland Raiders' past five drafts is fitting considering that the 2014 NFL draft is just around the corner.

    Coming off back-to-back 4-12 seasons, the Raiders have struggled over the last half-decade to build a solid core of playmakers they can rely on.

    Regardless of what side of the ball you look at, it's once again going to be up to general manager Reggie McKenzie to trek on and find a way to improve this franchise's outlook.

    In this list, each draft's grade is determined by a player's overall performance and corresponding draft position.

    Though some players have left and went on to have success with other franchises, these letter grades are solely based on their tenure in Oakland.

    Start the slideshow below and together let's take an in-depth look back at the Raiders' past five drafts.

2009 Draft

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    Round 1, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey: D (65/100)

    Round 2, DB Michael Mitchell: C (75/100)

    Round 3, DE Matt Shaughnessy: C (75/100)

    Round 4, WR Louis Murphy: C (75/100)

    Round 4, DE Slade Norris: F (50/100)

    Round 6, DE Stryker Sulak: F (50/100)

    Round 6, TE Brandon Myers: B (85/100)

    Overall: D (67.8/100)

    When you think about the Raiders' underwhelming 2009 draft class, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is the one player who comes to mind.

    Selected with the seventh overall pick, the Raiders' brass decided that Heyward-Bey's blazing speed—he ran a 4.30-second 40-yard dash at the combine—was enough to justify him being the first wide receiver selected that year.

    After struggling to become anything more than a vertical threat, Heyward-Bey left the Raiders and found his way over to the Indianapolis Colts in 2013 and the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this offseason.

    Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy may have shown flashes of production at times during his career with the Silver and Black, but he never was able to become a consistent disruptive force off the edge for the Raiders.

    Surprisingly, it was tight end Brandon Myers who turned out to be one of the best players to emerge out of the 2009 draft.

    A sixth-round draft pick out of Iowa, when he was finally given the chance to start in 2012, Myers became an intricate part of the Raiders passing attack.

    Finishing the 2012 season with 79 catches for 809 yards receiving and four touchdowns, Myers hit the free-agent market and inked a deal with the New York Giants in 2013.

    Now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Myers may never be able to replicate the numbers he put up in Oakland.

    However, Raiders fans will always remember the time he served as a quality weapon for the team's passing attack.

2010 Draft

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    Round 1, LB Rolando McClain: F (50/100)

    Round 2, DE Lamarr Houston: A (95/100)

    Round 3, OL Jared Veldheer: B+ (89/100)

    Round 4, OL Bruce Campbell: D (65/100)

    Round 4, WR Jacoby Ford: C (75/100)

    Round 5, DB Walter McFadden: F (50/100)

    Round 6, LB Travis Goethel: D (65/100)

    Round 7, DB Jeremy Ware: F (50/100)

    Round 7, DB Stevie Brown: C- (70/100)

    Overall: D (67.6/100)

    The 2010 draft actually was one of the better ones that the Raiders pieced together over the last five years.

    Even though linebacker Rolando McClain turned out to be a colossal disappointment, the front office was able to add stalwarts like Lamarr Houston and Jared Veldheer in Rounds 2 and 3.

    Houston finished his career in Oakland as one of the most productive players this defense has seen in years, while Veldheer established himself as a formidable left tackle.

    The latter rounds of the draft were responsible for the overall poor grade the class of 2010 generated.

    Linebacker Travis Goethel struggled to get anything going before tearing his ACL in 2012, while defensive backs Walter McFadden and Jeremy Ware never panned out—both players are no longer on the roster.

    Still, being able to land Houston and Veldheer was certainly a step in the right direction for the Raiders at the time.

2011 Draft

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    Round 2, OL Stefen Wisniewski: A (95/100)

    Round 3, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke: F (50/100)

    Round 3, OL Joe Barksdale: F (50/100)

    Round 4, DB Chimdi Chekwa: C- (70/100)

    Round 4, RB Taiwan Jones: C+ (79/100)

    Round 5, WR Denarius Moore: B+ (89/100)

    Round 6, TE Richard Gordon: F (50/100) 

    Round 7, WR/TE David Ausberry: D- (60/100)

    Overall: D (67.8/100)

    Without the luxury of having a pick in the first round, the Raiders 2011 draft fell apart rather quickly.

    The lone bright spots of the 2011 class have to be center Stefen Wisniewski and wide receiver Denarius Moore.

    Wisniewski has emerged as the sole anchor of the Raiders offensive line.

    In 2012, he finished as Pro Football Focus' (subscription required) 17th-best center. Last season, the 25-year-old climbed all the way up the board to finish 10th by PFF's (subscription required) count.

    Moore has earned a high grade because his performance on the field has far outweighed the round he was drafted in.

    A speedy wide receiver out of the University of Tennessee, Moore came to the Raiders by way of the fifth round.

    Even though he's been stuck in the midst of a dismal quarterback situation since being drafted, Moore has constantly found a way to produce for this offense.

    Manufacturing 2,054 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns since the 2011 season, you'd like to think that Moore's output could have been even more significant if the team was able to find a true No. 1 wide receiver to line up next to him.

    Still, like the two previous drafts, the bulk of the players to emerge from the class of 2011 have turned out to be disappointments.

    Even though Taiwan Jones and Chimdi Chekwa have carved out a role for themselves on special teams, Richard Gordon, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Joe Barksdale are all no longer with the organization.

2012 Draft

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    Round 3, OL Tony Bergstrom: C- (70/100)

    Round 4, LB Miles Burris: C (75/100)

    Round 5, DE Jack Crawford: Incomplete

    Round 5, WR Juron Criner: D (65/100)

    Round 6, DE Christo Bilukidi: F (50/100)

    Round 7, LB Nathan Stupar: F (50/100)

    Overall: D (62/100)

    The 2012 draft was significant for a few reasons.

    For starters, it was the first time that McKenzie was responsible for selecting talent. 

    On top of that, for the second consecutive year, the Raiders were once again sent into battle without having a first-round draft pick thanks to the Carson Palmer trade.

    You could argue that the 2011 class was the weakest one over the last five years, but the 2012 class may actually rival it.

    Offensive linemen Tony Bergstrom hasn't made much of an impact due to injuries, while defensive end Jack Crawford and wide receiver Juron Criner have been relegated to limited snaps.

    The Raiders have already cut ties with Christo Bilukidi and Nathan Stupar, leaving linebacker Miles Burris as the only player who has really done anything of significance over the last two seasons.

    During his debut season, Burris finished the year with 62 total tackles, 1.5 sacks and three passes defensed.

    Though he was productive at times, PFF (subscription required) was more critical of Burris' performance during his rookie year, allocating him a negative 16.1 overall grade. 

    After undergoing knee surgery heading into the 2013 season, Burris was replaced by rookie linebacker Sio Moore and saw very limited action when he finally returned.

    Clearly the jury is still out on whether or not Burris can serve as a long-term commodity.

    McKenzie's first shot at accumulating talent via the draft doesn't look like it's going to be remembered in a positive manner.

    But without having draft picks to utilize in the first two rounds, it's tough to predict how things could have turned out. 

2013 Draft

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    Round 1, DB D.J. Hayden: C (75/100)

    Round 2, OL Menelik Watson: C (75/100)

    Round 3, LB Sio Moore: A- (90/100)

    Round 4, QB Tyler Wilson: F (50/100) 

    Round 6, TE Nick Kasa: C- (70/100)

    Round 6, RB Latavius Murray: Incomplete

    Round 6, TE Mychal Rivera: B+ (89/100)

    Round 6, DT Stacy McGee: C+ (79/100)

    Round 7, WR, Brice Butler: C (70/100)

    Round 7, DE David Bass: F (50/100)

    Overall: C (71.6/100)

    You could make the argument that the majority of players selected during the 2013 draft should receive an incomplete grade.

    Just one season removed from their rookie campaigns, giving this class another season to adjust to the pro game seems like the most appropriate course of action.

    However, based on what we saw last season, we're still able to grade the bulk of these players.

    The biggest disappointment of the entire class was without question Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson.

    Coming out of the draft, Wilson was once compared to Brett Favre by the folks over at

    Looking back at this past season, McKenzie must have felt that drafting Wilson was a mistake as he cut ties with the former Razorback signal-caller twice during the 2013 season.

    After being signed off the Raiders' practice squad by the Tennessee Titans, Wilson's brief career in the Bay Area came to an abrupt and confusing end.

    Despite the whole Wilson debacle, the Raiders actually landed a few quality pieces from the 2013 draft.

    Sio Moore played incredibly well, lining up as the team's strong-side linebacker. Registering a positive 8.6 grade, PFF (subscription required) ranked Moore as the NFL's eighth-best 4-3 outside linebacker.

    Aside from Moore's outstanding performance, tight end Mychal Rivera made waves his rookie year.

    Being a sixth-round pick, the odds were stacked against Rivera.

    But after racking up 38 receptions for 407 yards receiving and four touchdowns, the former Tennessee product showed that he has great hands and the ability to separate from opposing defenders.

    Raiders head coach Dennis Allen seems to be high on Rivera.

    It was's Paul Gutierrez who reported that the head coach considers Rivera to be one of the "Raiders’ potential foundation pieces."

    The jury is still out on first-round pick D.J. Hayden. But with another year to improve his technique, the former University of Houston cornerback has the skills needed to evolve into one heck of a football player in 2014.


    All NFL draft information and stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference, unless noted otherwise.