Mario Henderson More Than Bust Risk for Raiders

Greg PetersonCorrespondent IAugust 5, 2008

The Oakland Raiders 2007 draft class added a lot of talent to the team, but the group of players selected in the 3rd round of that draft have created more question marks than contributions. 

Jeff Little's article "Oakland Raiders Are Overcoming the Third Round of the 2007 Draft" does a great job of describing the Raiders third round and the impact on the franchise. 

Quentin Moses was a complete whiff and Johnnie Lee Higgins may yet still develop.  But the Raiders raised the stakes by making the deal to acquire the 91st pick from the New England Patriots

The selection of Mario Henderson with that pick will have the biggest lasting impact for the Raiders in that round.

For the #91 pick in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft the Raiders sent New England their 3rd round pick in 2008 (which became #69 overall) and a 2007 seventh round pick, #211. 


The Patriots selected Oscar Lua, LB, USC with that pick.  Lua missed his rookie year with an injury and was released by the Patriots in February, 2008.


In the 2008 draft the Patriots traded away the #69 pick to the San Diego Chargers for a fifth round pick, #160 in 2008 and San Diego's second round pick in 2009 (projected to be around #60 overall). 


The Chargers selected LSU running back Jacob Hester with pick #69.  Hester was a teammate of JaMarcus Russell and the single biggest reason LSU coach Les Miles wasn't exposed as the idiot he is in the Tigers championship run last season.


Hester is expected to fill in the back-up running back role Michael Turner left in free agency this year.


The Patriots weren't finished trading yet.  In the fifth round this year, New England moved up to #153, trading the #160 pick and a seventh rounder, #238 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Patriots selected Matt Slater, KR from UCLA.  Slater is the son of former Raiders OL coach and Hall of Famer Jackie Slater.  


"As a senior, in 2007, Slater played in 13 games, made 25 tackles. He also returned kicks for the Bruins.  He returned 34 kicks for a 29.0 yard average and 3 TDs which tied the lead in the nation and set the UCLA record. He also tied the Pac-10 season record, set by Anthony Davis in 1974.  His 29.0-yard kickoff return average was first in the Pac-10 and 12th best in the country. He was First-team All-Pac 10 selection as the kick returner. His 986 kickoff return yards were also a new UCLA single-season record." - Wikipedia.


The Patriots parleyed the pick Oakland used to select Mario Henderson into a promising kick returner and a low second round pick next year.


The Bucs selected Oakland native and Oakland Tech HS graduate, QB Josh Johnson and South Carolina RB Cory Boyd with the picks they got from New England. 


Johnson was the MVP of this year's East-West Shrine game and a Walter Payton award finalist.  At the Combine, Johnson had the best 40 yard dash (4.4), broad jump and vertical jump in his position group.


Mario Henderson is struggling in Oakland and as a third round bust that would be bad enough. 


But the trade that brought Henderson to Oakland also created opportunities to add talent for two of the best teams in the AFC, not to mention Oakland's main division rival this year.  If Henderson doesn't develop, his selection is compounded by what the Raiders lost and other teams gained in the process.