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NFL Draft 2011: History Tells the Raiders Who to Take at 48

I don't know about you, but after all of this discussion about the prospects the Raiders will be choosing from at No. 48 in the 2011 NFL Draft I am feeling pretty good about their chances of bringing in someone who can make a solid impact. Then the Debbie Downer side of me realized it is easy to get excited about prospects before they step onto the field with the big boys. So I decided to take a look back and see what history tells us we can expect out of this mid second-round selection. I then looked for clues to decide who should be this year's pick.

Here is a history of the No. 48 pick as listed by Pro Football Reference. I went back 45 selections. That takes us to 1967, which is the first year that the No. 48 selection was in the second-round. Check out the breathtaking results after the jump.

Let's just start with the good news. The Raiders have selected No. 48 in the draft one time. They selected Howie Long with that pick. Long is one of two players to have been selected No. 48 and make the Hall of Fame. Dwight Stephenson, who was selected the year before, is the other. Four of these 45 men were selected for first team All-Pro, and they did so 11 combined times.

34 of these players spent at least one season being a primary starter for their team. They combined to start 155 seasons or 4.6 season per player who had at least one season as a starter. 18 players spent at least five years being the primary starter for their team. Of the seven players still active I'd say only Fred Davis has a chance of increasing that number. Unless you think Jimmy Clausen is better than I do.

Speaking of Clausen he is one of only four QBs to be selected with No. 48. And only he and Matt Livingston (drafted by Kansas City in 1968) spent at least one year as their team's primary starter.

One of the QBs drafted didn't even make his team and he is one of only two players drafted at 48 to never take the field in a regular season game. 

I isolate the QB position, because along with offensive line it is the position we talk about the Raiders going with the most. As for offensive linemen, only seven have been selected No. 48: three tackles, three guards and one center. All but one of those offensive lineman spent at least one year as their teams primary starter. Two of the linemen were Pro Bowl players and again Stephenson made the Hall of Fame.

So, according to these numbers the Raiders have a 4.4 percent chance of selecting a Hall of Famer, an 8.9 percent chance of selecting a first team All-Pro player, 17.8 percent chance of selecting a Pro Bowler, and 75.6 percent chance of drafting someone who will spend at least one year as a starter.

75.6 is certainly a great percentage of players that found their way to the starting lineup. However, players taken 48th are expected to start, given every opportunity to start, and they are usually from a position where the team has a need. In other words, just because a player managed one year as a starter doesn't mean they were any good.

11 of these players were only the primary starter for their team for one season (this includes Clausen). That means 51 percent of all No. 48 selections managed to start for more than one season. A two or three year starter still is a bit bust(ish). To be a quality second-round pick I say the guy needs to be in the starting lineup for at least five seasons. 44 percent of the No. 48 selections, who have been in the league five years, have crossed the five-year starter mark.

Now let's broaden the scope for positions we have discussed to include QBs and OLs.

21 QBs have been taken in the second-round after the 48th pick, and they almost all sucked. The biggest exception? Ken Stabler.

Stabler was one of three QBs of this group to make the Pro Bowl. Mike Livingston of the Chiefs, who was selected four spots ahead of Stabler in the 1968 draft, and Kordell Stewart (a QB of similar talents to Colin Kaepernick). 13 of these QBs spent at least one year being the primary starter. Only five of those did so for more than two seasons. Stewart, Livingston and Stabler were the only QBs of this group to cross the five-year starter mark. That is only 14.3 percent.

Six of these QBs are still active, and Chad Henne, Tarvaris Jackson and Jimmy Clausen, and I wouldn't bet on any of those guys crossing that five-year mark or making the Pro Bowl.

Stabler was one of three QBs selected by the Raiders in the second-round at No. 48 or lower. The others were Jeb Blount and Marques Tuiasosopo.

Onto the men blocking for these guys. 75 offensive linemen have been selected at No. 48 or lower in the second-round. 51 spent at least one year as the primary starter. 12 of those selected prior to 2008 were starters for 2 years or less. 25 of these linemen crossed the five-year starter mark. Of the 65 linemen in this group who have been in the league at least five years 38.5 percent have been five-year starters.

Eight made the pro bowl at least once (5 centers, 2 tackles and one guard). 4 were first team all-pro—including Barret Robbins who was selected at No. 49. That is 10.7 percent chance of the Raiders selecting a Pro Bowl lineman.

Only five of these 75 offensive linemen were selected by the Raiders and only three since 1969. Bruce Wilkerson, Langston Walker and Robbins.

Since it is widely mocked that the Raiders will take a DB with their first pick—I took a look at DBs.

60 defensive backs have been selected in the second-round after No. 47 since 1995. 18 passed the five-year mark. That means 36.7 percent, of the 49 in the league for at least five years, passed our magic line. Six made the Pro Bowl (I'm not counting Devin Hester as a DB).That is an even 10 percent.

For whatever it is, worth the success rate with DBs and OLs is remarkably similar.

I wondered if a high percentage of the Pro Bowl players from the studied groups were from non-power colleges, and consequently fell a bit in the draft. Nope. Almost all of them were from powerhouses. What is interesting is that the Raiders had success from the smaller schools. Howie Long was from Villanova and Barret Robbins was from TCU.

And that ties this all together. Going only on history, let's decipher who the best pick is for the Raiders. The chance of the Raiders selecting a successful QB is miniscule, and when they did take one that late, Stabler, he was from a much bigger program (Alabama) then Mr. Kaepernick's Nevada.

So, QB is off the list. In a recent poll only seven percent answered that corner should be the main priority in the 2011 NFL Draft. Combine this with the fact that nothing uncovered here should change that opinion, and we are crossing corner off of the list.

That leaves us with the offensive line, and history tells us the Raiders should go for a player from Villanova, like Howie, or TCU, like Robbins. So, it's got to be either Ben Ijalana (Villanova) or Marcus Cannon (TCU).

I say go for the big guns, Cannon. Since many of us already agreed Cannon should be the guy he gets the tie-breaker. Obviously, given the TCU connection, the Raiders should make sure he is not Bi-Polar first.