The 10 Best Oakland Raider Draft Picks of the Decade
The story of this last decade for the Oakland Raiders has been success early, but failure at the end.
Most teams live or die by the success of their draft picks over the years, so here is a look back at the best ten choices made by Oakland since 2000.
Whilst they have hardly covered themselves in glory some years, they have also made some surprisingly good selections, especially in the later rounds.
When I say "They", I of course mean Al Davis.
No. 10: Chaz Schilens
Whilst he hasn't put up mind blowing numbers yet, Schilens has the look of a player who can develop into an effective number one receiver for the Raiders.
He has a great size/speed combination, and at 6'4" and 220lbs, he can out muscle most defensive backs.
In the seventh round of the 2008 draft? That has to be a bargain. In years to come, he may well move up this list
No. 9: Trevor Scott
Trevor Scott was a converted tight end out of Buffalo, that most people had down as an undrafted free agent.
Al Davis took a flier on him due to his not stop motor and great work ethic. Scott led all rookies (and the Raiders) with 5.0 sacks last year, and currently leads the Raiders again this year with 6.0. Scott started as a pass rushing defensive end, and now is even playing some linebacker.
Taken in the sixth round of the 2008 draft.
Another late round gem, and like Schilens, we could see him move a long way up this list in the coming years.
No. 8: Thomas Howard
A fast outside linebacker from UTEP, Thomas Howard was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft.
He has started at weak side linebacker for the Raiders since his rookie year, and in his second year led all linebackers with six interceptions, returning two for touchdowns.
Howard is now playing some strongside linebacker in 2009, as the Raiders try and get the best out of the personnel that they have, and shore up a sometimes leaky run defense.
No. 7: Sebastian Janikowski
'Seabass' is the joint longest tenured Raider on the roster, and whilst he may have had the odd bad streak, he has provided consistency in the kicking game for the last 10 years.
He was taken in the first round of the 2000 draft, and his play seems to get better with age. His 57 yard field goal to win against the Jets last year was a Raider record, and it speaks volumes that Tom Cable would put his faith in a kicker from that distance in overtime.
His play this year has been outstanding.
No. 6: Kirk Morrison
The leader of the Raider defense at middle linebacker, and has been a starter on the linebacking crew since his rookie year.
If there is s knock on Morrison, it is that he struggles to plug holes between the tackles sometimes, but he has still led the Raiders in Tackles for the last two years. He is also an excellent pass defender. He is an Oakland native, who grew up supporting the Raiders and is living the dream.
Taken in the third round of the 2005 draft from San Diego State.
No. 5: Shane Lechler
The Raiders said they got a steal in 1973 when they drafted punter Ray Guy in the first round.
Well they drafted Shane Lechler in the 5th round, and he is as close to a modern day Ray Guy as you are going to get.
He is certainly the best punter in pro football, and has been since he was drafted in 2000 from Texas A&M.
No. 4: Robert Gallery
Who would have thought two years after he was drafted to be the Raiders 'franchise' left tackle, that Robert Gallery would make this list?
He was the overall number two pick in 2004, from Iowa. Gallery struggled at tackle, and never lived up to the hype.
But when Tom Cable moved him to guard, his career took a turn for the better. If he wasn't the ten year left tackle we envisioned, he has turned out to be a 10 year left guard.
Robert Gallery didn't accept failure, he fought back, and did the best he could for the Raiders. If Gallery was on a more successful team, he would have been in the Pro Bowl by now, and he is by far he best player on a poor Raiders offensive line.
Given the success (or lack of it) of Raider first round picks recently, Gallery turned out pretty well.
No. 3: Justin Fargas
Although he showed little production over his first three years, mainly due to injury, Justin Fargas has been the mainstay of the Raiders running attack since the 2006 season.
Taken in the third round out of USC in 2003, many dismissed him as just a 'Workout warrior', but he proved all the doubters wrong. He is the heart and soul of the offense, and plays harder than anyone else on the team.
He is still the starting running back after seeing off heralded newcomers such as Darren McFadden and Michael Bush.
A real favorite of the Raider Nation.
No. 2: Zach Miller
Taken in the second round of the 2007 draft from Arizona State, Zach Miller is one of the only players on the Raiders team drafted despite his athletic ability, not because of it.
Miller is everything that Oakland drafted him to be and more. He catches, he blocks, he does everything we ask of him. He was the Raiders leading receiver in each of his first two seasons, and will be again this year.
Just like Gallery, on a more successful team he would be regular a pro bowl player.
No. 1: Nnamdi Asomugha
I don't think that there is another candidate even worth considering at this spot. But when he was drafted in the first round of the 2003 draft out of Cal, it was that much of a shock to everyone but Al Davis that the commissioner didn't even get the name right.
This was one of Al's moments of genius, as no other team would have drafted Nnamdi in the first round.
But after a slow first two years, Asomugha developed quickly into the best cover corner in the league, and the consummate all pro, in terms of attitude and ability.
He is simply the best player on this team.