JaMarcus Russell Gone: Oakland Raiders, Al Davis Set to Return to Winning Ways

Frank FittipaldiCorrespondent IIOctober 2, 2010

Al Davis is ready to return to his winning ways.
Al Davis is ready to return to his winning ways.David Maxwell/Getty Images

Now that JaMarcus Russell is officially done with the Oakland Raiders, you can add his name to the franchise's recently questionable draft history under Al Davis.

The Raiders' first round picks have done nothing but turn the heads of draft experts, and NFL fans in general. Since their 2002 Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Raiders have taken a turn for the worst and have not had a winning season in 7 years. Raider fans love their team, but it has been hard for us to watch as of late.

With questionable draft picks, questionable signings, and overpaid players, the fans of Oakland have just been wondering one thing: Why?

The Oakland Raiders have drafted players such as: Robert Gallery, Fabian Washington, and the most infamous of them all, Russell. The Raider Nation could have had the likes of players such as Larry Fitzgerald, or Aaron Rodgers, who was taken off the board by the Green Bay Packers in the 2005 draft immediately after Oakland made its selection.

All of these moves were finalized by the big boss, Davis.

In 2007, Al Davis fell in love with a 6'6, 260-pound quarterback from Louisiana State University (LSU). You guessed it right, JaMarcus Russell.

Whether if it was his cannon of an arm, his incredible size, or just his raw talent, Al Davis was not going to let this one slip away. Draft day arrived, and Raider fans will forever remember the words of Commissioner Roger Goodell: "With the 1st pick of the 2007 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders select quarterback, JaMarcus Russell, LSU."

The young, incredibly talented quarterback, would later be known as possibly the biggest bust of all time. 

With three extremely disappointing seasons under his belt, there was only one question to ask about Russell: How much time does he have left?

Al Davis attempted to surround him with weapons such as Arkansas star Darren McFadden, and Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey. Although Heyward-Bey was a reach, owner Al Davis believed he had the potential to be a No. 1 receiver in The NFL.

Russell struggled both in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

Rumors started surfacing whether the former No. 1 overall pick would be released or not. The Raiders traded for Jason Campbell, and it was only a matter of time before Russell was escorted to the door. Al Davis finally did what nobody ever thought that he would do, swallow his pride.

After millions of dollars were invested in a so called "Franchise Quarterback," Al Davis finally had enough and cut the biggest bust ever to play in The NFL. 

The 2010 draft arrived and the Oakland Raiders draft board finally looked like an actual draft. There were no reaches, no players drafted in the first round based on speed. Players were taken where they needed to be, and many needs were filled to improve the Oakland Raiders.

Rookies such as Rolando McClain, Lamarr Houston, and Jacoby Ford have made an immediate impact on the Raiders roster. Third-year running back Darren McFadden is off to a hot start in the 2010 season, and is determined to prove he was the right pick for the Raiders in the 2008 draft.

Darrius Heyward-Bey was a questionable pick and a far reach for the Raiders in 2009, but he has vastly improved and has already exceeded his 2009 totals this season. The Raiders have been ready to return to their winning ways since the departure of JaMarcus Russell. Jeff Garcia, in his short stint with Oakland, even stated that there was not a winning attitude in the locker room.

Now with Russell gone, the mood has changed in the locker room. Although the Raiders have begun the season 1-2, there is a much different feel in the organization. The Raider Nation is certainly headed in the right direction.

The leadership Nnamdi Asomugha and other veterans have The Raiders focused on one obstacle, their "Commitment To Excellence."