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A look back: Grading Raiders' 2009 draft

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In one of the most infamous drafts in Oakland history, the Raiders picked Darrius Heyward-Bey and Mike Mitchell with their first two picks. Four years later, was this draft as bad as the experts said it was?

Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

For years, the Oakland Raiders have gotten killed for their inability to draft successfully and in most peoples' minds, 2009 is a prime example.

One year after drafting Darren McFadden and Tyvon Branch (see 2008 grades here), Oakland had seven picks (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 6th and 6th) to improve upon their 5-11 season under Tom Cable.

Overall Grade: D

With a full slate of picks, Oakland was primed to improve the disastrous roster they were saddled with — unfortunately, they simply didn't do it.

While they got killed for the Heyward-Bey pick at the time, four years later the pick doesn't looks just slightly better than it did at the time.

The Mike Mitchell pick, however, was as bad as advertised.

Oakland was able to find late-round value with Brandon Myers and Matt Shaughnessy, but those two picks weren't enough to push this grade higher.

To make matters worse, not a single player from this draft class remains on the roster.

First round, seventh overall — Darrius Heyward-Bey (D)

Looking for a receiver, Oakland found one they wanted.

Unfortunately, DHB was the third-best receiver in the draft (as ranked by experts), and probably turned out to be the sixth-best receiver in the first round.

Initially, the competition was between DHB, Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin — but after a couple of years it appeared as if maybe Oakland hadn't made the worst decision.

With Crabtree riddled with injuries, DHB had shown signs of steady improvement and appeared to at least be on par with his competition.

Note: other receivers taken in the first round were Percy Harvin (22nd), Hakeem Nicks (29th) and Kenny Britt (30th).


In 2011, DHB had his best season as a Raider — catching 64 passes for 975 yards and four touchdowns.

Just to add insult to injury, here are players the Raiders passed on in the first: BJ Raji (9th), Brian Orakpo (13th), Brian Cushing (15th), Brandon Pettigrew (20th), Michael Oher (23rd) and Clay Matthews (26th).

Second round, 47th overall — Mike Mitchell (F-)


That was the reaction of nearly every expert watching the draft as Oakland selected a guy many had projected as un-drafted in the second round.

And unfortunately for the Raiders, it appears everyone else was right.

In four seasons, Mitchell has recorded just 139 total tackles with just two interceptions while playing mostly on special teams.

Honestly, if he hadn't been a second round pick, Mitchell would probably have been out of the league by now.

Third round, 71st overall — Matt Shaughnessy (B-)

Not a bad pick for Oakland in the third round to find a guy who started a lot of games for them at defensive end.

In four seasons in Oakland, Shaughnessy notched 100 tackles and 15.5 sacks in 51 games.

Unfortunately, his 2011 season was cut short to just three games thanks to injuries, but otherwise Shaughnessy played in all 16 games in his other three seasons.

Fourth round, 124th overall — Louis Murphy (B)

When looking at the grade, you need to consider that it's given relative to where the player was taken during the draft.

Obviously, DHB has been a more effective receiver at the pro level, but if given the choice between DHB in the first or Murphy in the fourth, I'm taking Murphy every time.

In his first two seasons in Oakland, Murphy flashed serious potential, tallying 75 catches for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns.

Unfortunately, Murphy's third season was cut short by injury and Murphy was eventually traded to Carolina for just a seventh-round pick.

Fourth round, 126th overall — Slade Norris (F)

In just four games with the Raiders, the linebacker out of Oregon State logged just two tackles.

Norris logged two more tackles the following year with Jacksonville but has been out of the league ever since.

Sixth round, 199th overall — Stryker Sulak (F)

Sulak never played a snap in the NFL.

Sixth round, 202nd overall — Brandon Myers (B)

For three years, this pick would have seemed to be a total miss as Myers had just 250 yards in three seasons.

And then, he was given the chance to start.

Last season, as the team's top tight end, Myers became the team's top receiver with 79 catches for 806 yards and four touchdowns — pretty incredible production for a sixth-round pick.

Naturally, Myers' breakout season came the year before he was a free agent and he has since moved on to the Giants on a $2.25 million deal.