Many say it takes three years to actually grade a draft class, but despite that they receive grades by experts and fans alike before they even step onto the field.
Though it may be two years premature, here is my grade of the Oakland Raiders 2010 draft class.
Rolando McClain was heralded as the best line-backer in the draft class, most notably for his football intellect and instincts.
Though he showed flashes of dominate play malevolent intent, overall he had a quiet uneventful rookie year.
In 2010 he was a slight disapointment ranking 7th among rookies and 3rd on the Raiders in tackles with 59. He also had half of a sack and an interception
But what Roland McClain brings to the table can be should be measured by more than just his stat line. With him on the field the defenses attitude and collective intelligence takes a jump.
Many of the experts thought that at 6'3'' 305 Lamarr Houston was one of the top defensive tackles in the draft. The Raiders thought otherwise and are utilizing his athleticism at defensive end.
As a defensive end Lamarr Houston ranked 3rd among rookies in sacks and 2nd among rookie defensive linemen in tackles.
Given his value and his performance compared to his peers Lamarr Houston was arguably the Raiders best draft choice in 2010.
When the Raiders picked Jared Veldheer in the third round many experts called it a reach because he was a little known prospect out of a small school. But little did they know that Jared Veldheer might possibly be the steal of the 3rd round.
So far 6'8'' 315 pounds this rookie found his way into the Raiders starting lineup very early in the season and started at both center and left tackle.
Throughout the season Jared Veldheer played in all 16 games, starting in 11 of them. That is an impressive feat for a rookie picked up in the third round.
Despite his great value though Veldheer struggled mightily throughout the season giving up numerous sacks.
A few of the experts thought that the Raiders would take Bruce Campbell in the first round because of his out-of-this-world athleticsim for an offensive linemen. They were half right. The Raiders would take him, just not in the 1st round but in the 4th.
This was a great value pick seeing as some mock drafts had this guy going in the first round. But his contributions have been limited as he is currently second on the depth chart at right guard.
Throughout the season this 4th saw action in ten games and is yet to start in the NFL.
Jacoby Ford was the fastest man in the 2010 combine running 4.28(unnofficially a 4.24), so it was almost a given that the Raiders would draft him.
As a rookie he has made big plays as a receiver, returner and even on the ground. In total Jacoby Ford accounted for six touchdowns and ranked sixth in receiving yards among rookies. That is great value for a player taken in the 4th round
Walter McFadden was drafted for his great coverage skills, but there were concerns about his lanky frame (5'10" 180 lbs) and ability to help in run support.
So far his rookie season has been uneventful to say the least. While he has five tackles his progress has been slowed by injury, a minor shoulder injury and a hamstring injury.
While on the field he was nothing but a liability in coverage, and it was obvious that he was a rookie.
He still may develope into an adequete NFL corner, thus far we've only seen glimpses of what he can do.
Travis Goethel was drafted for his above average athletic ability for an inside linebacker. So far he is buried on the depth chart as the third middle-linebacker behind Ricky Brown and Rolando McClain. This can be attributed to a lower back injury that kept him inactive for much of the season.
In limited action he recorded 9 tackles.
Goethel is still on the roster, but so far has been nothing but a waste of space. Until he proves otherwise he is the Raiders least successful draft choice this year.
This seventh round pick has out-played his counter-part Walter McFadden who was drafted two rounds earlier. Though he has had lapses in coverage, he adds decent depth to the defensive backfield and was great value for a 7th round pick.
He saw action in 8 games and recorded one interception. That is fairly impressive for a seventh round draft pick.
Another 7th round DB who has found his way onto the field on occassion. Currently he is playing free-safety behind Michael Huff and has seen action in all but one game this season recording 30 tackles.
He adds great depth to the Raiders defensive backfield and was a steal in the seventh round.
All in all the Raiders had a great draft, one of the best in years. The new talent brought in had alot to do with the Raiders sudden improvement.
There is no talk of anyone they drafted being a bust and all 9 of the players the Raiders drafted contributed to the team, some more than others.
They were able to address many of their needs adding depth all around and were even able to add 3 or 4 starters.
Overall Grade A-