All across the board for the 2013 Draft the words “boom or bust” are associated to the Raiders top two draft picks. DJ Hayden is a huge risk with a gigantic upside if his body and mind can handle the contact of the NFL. Manelik Watson is a raw player who has only played football for a couple of years but is an incredible athlete.
Each player has All Pro potential but also each player could flame out of the NFL without ever making an impact fairly easily. The players have less middle ground than most high round draft picks and therefore the term boom or bust is accurate. They will likely gravitate toward one extreme or the other when all is said and done.
If the term boom or bust is accurate for the first two picks in this Raiders draft then it is reasonable to say that it is also accurate for the whole of the Raiders draft itself. It could turn out to be an amazing draft where Reggie McKenzie confirms his astuteness in drafting, or it could be a busted draft which brings into question everything that the NFL thought of McKenzie's player analysis.
With so much up in the air about this draft and how well McKenzie did in it there is a fair question to be made about Reggie's status as the unquestioned leader of the Raiders. He put his name on the line when he made such bold choices in this draft, and with that reputation being on the line also could come his job itself.
Reggie came out earlier this off-season saying that he is not worried about his job status during the Raiders rebuild and this draft certainly confirms that confidence. The problem is whether or not that confidence is based in reality or in a false sense of security. Plenty of sportswriters across the country have been questioning McKenzie's status with the Raiders and those questions will get much louder if the top two picks for the team in this draft end up being busts.
The whole reason why McKenzie has such respect from around the league is because of his player analysis. If his first draft with a complete stock of picks fails then so does the assumption that Reggie is a player analysis wizard. Many in Raider Nation have questioned that all along with his penchant for grabbing players that he was familiar with in Green Bay but if this draft fails then those naysayers will have a much more legitimate complaint to bellow about.
With so much put on the line for this draft from Reggie McKenzie it shows the type of faith that he has in himself and also the faith he has in both Hayden and Watson. There were players on the board at each the number 12 pick and the 42nd pick that would have been safer picks, but Reggie stuck to his analysis and chose the players that he believes will be the best player that was on the board. Boom or bust all the way, and McKenzie is betting big on it being boom.
It takes a lot of guts to go so thoroughly against the grain as Reggie did in the 2013 draft, but it also could backfire in a big way. Then again it could solidify Reggie's status as a draft guru and could be the true beginning to the legendary tale of the GM who took over for the late great Al Davis. We have no way of knowing the answer as of yet.
We will know how it all works out soon enough once the players hit the field. If it doesn't work out within at most 2 years then Reggie McKenzie's status as the GM of the Raiders will probably not have worked out either. This draft will likely be the deciding factor in the Reggie McKenzie era one way or the other.
*Author's note: This post is not saying that the draft was a failure, it is saying IF the draft fails that it puts Reggie McKenzie's job in jeopardy.