With the draft set to begin tomorrow and an impatient Raider Nation having to wait out day 1 and part of day 2 without picks, it seemed like a look at the Raiders 1st and 2nd round success, or lack thereof, in the last decade and a half would be in order.
Last year, the team and Raider Nation also had to wait out the first round, as the first pick was traded to the New England Patriots the prior year for Richard Seymour, whom most say is a first rounder well spent, and in comparison to other teams' hits and misses any guy who remains a starter is definitely better than most. The second overall yielded Stefen Wisniewski, who will likely be a starter for the next decade, and is a B+ at least so far.
This year, Carson Palmer will provide the gunslinger and who many would argue can be a franchise quarterback in whom McKenzie and Allen are fully invested, at least for now and the 2012 season. The second rounder, provided Joseph Barksdale and Taiwan Jones, two young and promising players who have done well to find themselves among starting lineups throughout the 2011 season and also look to be a part of the Raiders future and McKenzie and Allen's plans going forward.
So, without further ado, the 1st and 2nd rounders starting in 1995, after the jump:
1995: With the 18th overall pick, the Raiders selected Napoleon Kaufman, RB out of Washington. The team's current Chaplain, ordained minister Kaufman's career was cut short by injury, and in his five year career he amassed 4, 792 yards and 12 touchdowns with a 4.9 yard avg., leading the league with a 5.8 yard avg. in 1996. A true Raider, he remains a key part of the organization and in retrospect was a solid first pick despite the tragic early end to his career. With the second pick, the Raiders selected C Barrett Robbins of TCU with the 49th overall. Robbins, for lack of better description, provided the Raiders with some good highs and some serious lows. Ultimately any success of the first round pick in Kaufman is probably trumped here by the final outcome of the Robbins acquisition.
1996: With the 9th overall pick, the Raiders selected TE Rickey Dudley, the only TE to be selected by the Raiders since Raymond Chester back in 1970. Needless to say, he was no Raymond Chester, and the big and seemingly promising young TE had a penchant for dropping clutch balls for the Raiders and ultimately disappeared into NFL oblivion; a swing and a miss by the Raiders. With the second pick, the Raiders selected DE Lance Johnstone of Temple U. with the 57th overall pick. Johnstone probably didn't live up to his pick status until three years into his career in Oakland getting eleven and then ten sacks in 1998 and '99 respectively. He then joined the Vikings for the next four years earning similiar numbers in 2003-04 seasons in a mostly rotational role. He would return briefly to the Raiders in 2006 with limited starts and earning only 2 sacks. So-so at best on these two.
1997: With their second overall pick, the Raiders selected DT Darrell Russell of USC, who would play six seasons in the league, five with the Raiders, earning 28.5 sacks, 1 FF, and 1 int. during that span. Sadly, Russell is among the Raiders to have departed this world prematurely. With their second and 72nd overall pick in the third round, C Adam Treu from Nebraska was selected. Starting only 44 games of 155 with the team, all 16 in 2004, probably a decent third round pick, but the Raiders have done much better. Russell might make it a C+.
1998: With the 4th overall selection of the first round the Raiders selected Charles Woodson, CB out of Michigan and Mo Collins, OG 23rd overall pick out of Florida. Woodson makes the first round an A+, and the Raiders would be well-served to look to duplicate the type of first rounders like Woodson whenever possible. In 71 games over 6 years with the team, Collins started 64 and was part of the prolific offenses led by Gannon near the end of his career. It seems the Raiders early picks in the trenches over these few years have a short shelf life, but you'd have to chalk these picks up as wins. Not so for the second round selection at 31 in Leon Bender from Washington St., who never played a snap in the league.
1999: With the 18th overall selection the Raiders took OG Matt Stinchcomb out of Georgia. In seven years with the Raiders from '99 to '05 Stinchcomb would start 36 games. Not exactly a first round trenchman talent when all was said and done. Their second overall at 40 out of Florida St. was used on DL Tony Bryant, who in 8 seasons with the Raiders was in on 110 stops with 23.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Strictly for the lack of longevity alone these two are probably mediocre picks at best, and not exactly what teams expect from high first and second round selections.
2000: With the 17th overall the Raiders select K Sebastian Janikowski from Florida State becoming one of the few kickers and the only one by the Raiders to ever be taken in the first round. Arguably the best placekicker in the game, the jury will always be out on the teams' use of the 17th pick on this guy, but you can't argue that he's been worth his weight in gold for Oakland. With the 47th overall in the second round, the Raiders selected big, strong, and athletic receiver Jerry Porter of West Virginia. While many among the nation had this guys slated to be the next big game changer at his position, he only had flashes of brilliance, and would see his career tailspin into oblivion, ultimately cut short by an untimely injury shortly after his departure from the Raiders. You be the judge on this year. With some of the guys taken ahead of these two, one could make a great argument for how much better the team could have come out of this one.
Check back in a few hours for 2001-present, and hopefully this will take some of the pain out of sitting through the first two rounds tomorrow and Friday!