Oakland Raiders safety Mike Mitchell - Levi Damien
Mike Mitchell signed with the Carolina Panthers today to finish off the last of the Raiders 2009 draft.
I remember the 2009 draft. It was the most controversial draft the Raiders have had in recent memory and the most angry and downtrodden I can remember Raiders fans being.
Here is a recap:
Round 1, pick 7: Darrius Heyward-Bey - The speedster who Al Davis made the top drafted wide receiver in the draft despite higher thought of players such as Michael Crabtree, Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, and Hakeem Nicks available. All of those receivers have gone on to have nice careers. Nicks was a starting receiver to help the Giants win the Super Bowl, Crabtree was the number one receiver for the 49ers in the Super Bowl last year, and Harvin just garnered two second round picks in a trade. All the while, DHB has had one pretty good season (975 yards) out of four and was just cut by the Raiders on the first day of free agency.
Round 2: Mike Mitchell - The other big story of the early draft because no one knew who he was. It became a big joke that everyone had to look him up and he was hardly even listed in Mel Kiper's draft guide and was considered an undrafted free agent prospect. He was taken early in round 2 by the Raiders and was beaten out in camp by 2008 round 4 pick Tyvon Branch. Mitchell saw his very first start at strong safety last season. The Raiders let him walk as a free agent and he signed a 1-year deal with the Panthers.
Round 3: Matt Shaughnessy - Was looking for a while there like he was going to be the gem of this draft. He tied for second on the team in sacks (7.0) in his sophomore season and earned the starting defensive end job. He was never able to duplicate, let alone improve upon that season's performance and was allowed to leave as a free agent, signing a 1-year deal with the Cardinals last week.
Round 4a Louis Murphy - The one player who was admittedly a "Best Player Available" pick by the Raiders. They said they picked him simply because they couldn't believe he was still on the board. He showed the most immediate results of anyone in this draft, breaking out as a rookie with 34 catches for 521 yards. He improved upon those numbers in his second season with 41 catches for 609 yards. But after that, he was injured and then couldn't get his job back. Then he was angry about his lack of playing time which got him in Hue Jackson's doghouse. The new coaching staff didn't see a place for him on the team last season and traded him to the Panthers for a round 7 pick. He signed with the Giants a few days ago.
Round 4b Slade Norris, Round 6a Stryker Sulak - The all name team sounded like they stepped right off American Gladiator but didn't play like gladiators to say the least. Sulak was cut in preseason and Slade Norris spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad before being called up to appear in four games late in the season. That was the extent of his time as a Raider. He is no longer in the NFL.
Round 6b Brandon Myers - Was a utility reserve tight end/special teams guy up until last season when he was handed the starting tight end job by default. He made the most of it, catching 79 passes for 806 yards. It came out of nowhere for Myers and despite those being some of the best numbers by a Raiders tight end since the days of Todd Christensen, his catches were thought to be more a product of the system and the lack of weapons around him. He was allowed to leave as a free agent and signed with the Giants.
This draft was considered awash at the time and now four years later, we have proof we were all onto something on that ugly day.
The following draft was considered a redemption type draft and thus far it has proven as such with players like Jared Veldheer, Lamarr Houston, and Jacoby Ford drafted who are still part of the team. So, I don't expect we will have this situation again next year.