As I watched the Green Bay Packers advance to the Super Bowl this past weekend, all I could think was: At least the Raiders didn't pass on Aaron Rodgers.
Sure, the Oakland Raiders paid millions and millions of dollars to a fat, lazy waste of space, but in the end, they needed a quarterback and it isn't like the other quarterbacks from that class have turned out to be superstars. The only other quarterback considered to be worth a first-round pick that year was Brady Quinn, and we all know how well he has worked out as an NFL starter.
Sure, they could have drafted Calvin Johnson first, but at the time, Russell was the consensus No. 1 pick for the Raiders as they were clearly in need of a quarterback at that time.
The San Francisco 49ers, on the other hand, were in a very similar situation as the Raiders when they drafter Alex Smith. The Niners were clearly searching for a new franchise quarterback and were doing so in a draft that really only had two first-round caliber quarterback prospects.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, unlike JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn, Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers couldn't be more different.
Smith has been given more opportunities to succeed in San Francisco than any first-round flop in years, and yet, he hasn't put together more than a handful of games where he lived up to the hype he received prior to being drafted first by the Niners in the 2005 draft.
Aaron Rodgers, on the other hand, has played almost better in the NFL than he did in college. He has been considered one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL for the past few years and has now led his team to a Super Bowl appearance in Dallas in two weeks.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, there were rumors over the past few days that Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers might be looking to give Alex Smith yet ANOTHER opportunity to prove to the 49ers that he was worth being the first pick of the 2005 draft.
There have been many moments in draft history that still cause me pain as a member of the Raider Nation.
However, seeing the team across the bay make a decision that was so monumentally destructive to their franchise brings solace to this member of the Nation knowing that at least the Raiders didn't pass on Aaron Rodgers.