2008: With the fourth overall selection the Raiders take Arkansas Razorback stud RB Darren McFadden. Most folks you ask would have McFadden listed as an A+ pick, but for the fact he remains an avg. 8 game a year guy. When he can put that behind him, this pick will go down as one of the all-time greats. Multiple team trades found the team without 2nd or third rounders this year, and their second selection came in the fourth round and went for DB Tyvon Branch out of Connecticut with the 100th overall. Maybe the best first and second picks in over a decade. Later, with the team only having another fourth, a sixth and seventh, the team selects WR Arman Shields, DE/OLB Trevor Scott, and WR Chaz Schilens.
2009: With the seventh overall pick the Raiders selected WR Darrius Heyward-Bey out of Maryland. In one of the most scrutinized first rounders in a long time, this selection looked to be a typical Al Davis pick, and though it was said the team was aware he would be a developmental guy from the get-go, most wondered if this hard-working but occasionally stone-handed young wide receiver wouldn't have been available much later in the draft. DHB's hard work has been paying off of late, and it even found him the unlikely primary target of Carson Palmer down the stretch last season. Time appears to be on his side. With the second pick at 47 overall, the silver and black selected S Mike Mitchell, from Ohio U. Mitchell remains a very maligned second round pick, and still must overcome draft day criticisms handed out via guys like Mel Kiper, whose words Mitchell claims to have posted in his locker as motivation. Time will tell with Mitchell, and I'm expecting him to finally get the ripe opportunity to really shine in Allen and Tarver's defense, but as for now, his grade as a second rounder is average at best. In his first year, WR Louis Murphy appeared a mid round gem, but the pick is followed by the swings and misses at LB Slade Norris and DE/OLB Stryker Sulak. Final selection in the sixth round TE Brandon Myers turns out a solid final late rounder providing a decent starter and TE depth.
2010: Seventh overall pick goes on LB Rolando McClain out of Alabama. McClain has yet to live up to seventh overall, but is at the point of his career where he can either step up to the plate and do so or forever be a draft disappointment with many fans thinking he has yet to given a truly fair shot with the system, coaching, and personnel changes since joining the team. For others, he's already earned the title of disappointment, and many fans would love to see a fire lit under his ass with the infusion of a Mychal Kendricks or even later round guy like Tank Carder. The second selection at 44th overall went on Lamarr Houston, who had a stellar initial year and had the Nation expecting big things in 2011 but saw a slight decline in stats and intensity. The jury is really still out on these two picks, but for now, you'd probably fairly have to call them a C, or average at best. This could go up or down significantly based on this season, but even with better than average production from both at their positions as high as they were taken puts them under scrutiny as having been worth the high picks and the contracts that go with them. The next selection in the third in Jared Veldheer perhaps makes up for the first two's tendency to be called reaches, and the later selections of Bruce Campbell (yielding Goodson via trade this offseason), Jacoby Ford, and Travis Goethel. That Walter McFadden and Jeremy Ware found themselves earning starting time probably makes them worthy late round selections.
2011: With the first rounder having gone for Richard Seymour via trade with the Patriots, the Raiders first selection came in the second round at 48 overall on Stefen Wisniewski. One of the best first overall selections in the last decade for sure, coupled with Seymour coming for the first maybe the two best players for the first and second picks too. The teams' second came in the third round at 81 overall in CB DeMarcus Van Dyke out of Miami (Fla.), whom I see as maybe going down as one of the bigger steals of the entire draft that year. The remaining selections produced gems Joe Barksdale, Taiwan Jones, Denarius Moore, Richard Gordon, and Davis Ausberry (edited in Chimdi Chekwa; how could I forget him??? slapping self, also will be one of the big steals of this year)--all players who remain on the team and look to be an active part of the future going forward for Dennis Allen and the Oakland Raiders. Ironically, this draft might more resemble that of McKenzie's work more than it does the Al Davis selection of the prior fifteen years.
And so, bringing us up to draft day tomorrow, for which the Nation will have to sit patiently through and most of Friday until Oakland is on the board. Were the Raiders picking in the first and second, who's on your wish list?