Raiders went against BPA draft philosophy, settled for Tyler Wilson, lost

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders cut fourth round pick quarterback Tyler Wilson on Sunday. But if they followed their own philosophy, they never would have drafted him to begin with.

The one thing we heard time and time again from Reggie McKenzie in this draft was that he was going to draft the best player available and that was it. He was adamant that what other teams did in the draft didn't matter to what the Raiders would do but rather he would trust his own board. He strayed from that philosophy with Tyler Wilson and paid the price.

The first three picks seemed to fit well in the BPA category. Despite the greater needs along the defensive line, the Raiders went with players at other positions which they coveted. Sure, those players also came at need positions as well but that is how a successful draft is performed in most cases. It is the best player available... at a position of need -- of which the Raiders have many. But that nice mixture of BPA and need went out the window after that.

Come the third day of the draft, Matt Barkley out of USC was still on the board and there were widespread reports that the Raiders had plans to draft him. The team wanted to bring in a young quarterback to compete with Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor as well as possibly be the future at quarterback for the team.

The Raiders sat there with the third pick of the day hoping Barkley would last through two picks and be there when they picked. To stand pat was to risk another team jumping ahead of them to get Barkley who was considered as high as a round two prospect by some draft projections.

Reggie McKenzie covets draft picks and on a team that is in a rebuilding stage, they weren't about to start trading them away to move up even two picks. Another problem was it was the Chiefs who had the pick and they were unlikely to let a division rival get the pick they wanted. Not without a heavy price.

The Eagles had a pretty good idea the Raiders wanted Barkley so they made a trade with the Chiefs and swooped in to grab Barkley with the first pick of the day. Once Barkley was gone, the Raiders had little reason to stay at their current spot so they put it up for trade and the Buccaneers swapped spots with them in the round.

This dropped the Raiders down 12 spots in the round (as well as a sixth round pick). Then with just a few picks before the Raiders were to draft, the Giants jumped up and drafted Ryan Nassib. It seems everyone knew the Raiders were determined to get a quarterback at that time and wanted to make sure they got their guy before the Raiders could get him.

This left the Raiders with Tyler Wilson or Landry Jones as the only quarterbacks considered worthy of being drafted that high (all other remaining drafted quarterbacks didn't go until round seven). So, the Raiders chose Wilson. Not because he was the best player on the board but because they were determined to get a quarterback and he was the best of what was left. Or so they thought.

Once the guy they coveted was gone, getting the BPA would have meant shifting focus and going through their reads to find a player at another position (Texas DE Alex Okafor, for example). The Raiders didn't do that. Knowing they had no round five pick and not wanting to leave this draft without a quarterback, they stared down the quarterback position and took a shot at Tyler Wilson. In other words; they settled. That approach is destined to fail. And did it ever. Wilson became the highest chosen player from this draft to be cut.

All the while the Raiders were going for quarterback insurance, their desperate need for help at defensive end was being neglected. The team didn't draft a defensive end until their final pick. They grabbed David Bass with the second of two seventh round picks. By that time, the Raiders realized they couldn't leave this draft without a defensive end, just as they did with quarterback. And not coincidentally, Bass became the only other drafted player to be cut from the team, along with Wilson.

They also didn't draft a defensive lineman of any kind until late in the sixth round when they grabbed Stacy McGee, who was invisible in the preseason and was perhaps even more deserving of being cut than Wilson or Bass.

For now, it seems the Raiders may have done well with their first three 2013 draft picks. Cornerback D.J. Hayden, offensive tackle Menelik Watson, and linebacker Sio Moore are all expected to be starters as rookies. They could make the draft a success overall and make the loss of a fourth round pick no big deal. Although, consider that their original fourth round pick (100) was just five picks below their top pick in the 2012 draft (Tony Bergstrom at 95).

Now that he's been cut, it's pretty much a no-win situation for the Raiders with regard to Tyler Wilson.

As for Wilson, he deserves to have been drafted by a team with a steady quarterback situation that could allow him time to develop -- even if that meant being drafted later.

For the Raiders part, if he never does anything, players drafted shortly after him who make names for themselves in the NFL - especially defensive linemen - will act as constant reminders of what might've been (anyone tired yet of imagining Calvin Johnson and B.J. Raji in Silver and Black instead of JaMarcus Russell and Darrius Heyward-Bey?). On the flip side, if Wilson goes on to have success elsewhere, the Raiders will have to live with giving up on him too soon (see Stevie Brown).

Those missteps in drafting were thought to be part of a bygone era in Oakland. Drafting the "Best Player Available" was a mantra for the new regime as part of an overall new philosophy. They eschewed their own advice when picking Tyler Wilson and wasted a valuable fourth round pick in the process.

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