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A Look Back: Grading Raiders 2011 draft

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Highlighted by Stefen Wisniewski and Denaruis Moore, the 2011 draft provided a pair of heavy contributors in Oakland. Unfortunately, the other six picks they made that year haven't fared nearly as well.

Thearon W. Henderson

With another season in the books, it's another opportunity to look back and evaluate Oakland's ability to add talent and develop it.

Before the season, we took a look at the 2008, 2009 and 2010 drafts, so now we move on to look at the 2011 draft — Al Davis' last at the helm in Oakland.

As is the norm in Oakland, the team was lacking draft picks — notably a first rounder, which was sent to New England in exchange for Richard Seymour. (As a note, the Patriots used that pick to select offensive lineman Nate Solder, who has started 31 games for them in the past two seasons at right and left tackle).

Overall Grade: B-

No first rounder hurts, and to add two solid contributors despite that is impressive. That said, their whiff on every pick beyond the second round (except for one) is unacceptable.

Good teams are built on stars, great teams are built on role players. Oakland has failed to draft either of those lately.

Second Round, 48th overall — Stefen Wisniewski (B+)

To get a player as productive as Wisniewski at the end of the second round is impressive — especially for a team with as poor a track record in the draft as the Raiders.

While Wis has never really developed into a dominant lineman like many people had hoped he would, he has started 45 games in three seasons mostly at center but some at guard as well.

For versatility and durability alone, Wisniewski's pick has been a success. Now the Raiders are hoping that he can make the leap into an being elite offensive lineman — something that will become easier if Oakland continues to improve the line around him.

Third Round, 81st overall — Demarcus Van Dyke (F)

The final pick categorized as an "Al Davis pick" was Van Dyke, the speedy corner from Miami (Van Dyke was clocked at 4.25 in the 40-yard dash at the combine). Unfortunately for Davis, as was the case with most of his "speed" picks towards the end of his life, Van Dyke was a major bust.

Van Dyke was in Oakland for all of one season, where he recorded just 13 tackles and one interception before being cut. He was then signed by the Steelers, where he played in parts of two seasons and recorded just four tackles.

While many people criticize Oakland's inability to nail their first round picks, it's also wasted picks like this one, in the middle rounds, that have really cost them their organizational depth.

Third Round, 92nd overall — Joe Barksdale (F)

Barksdale, a tackle out of LSU, started zero games in parts of two seasons in Oakland before being cut by the team.

One positive for Barksdale is he was then signed by St. Louis, where he has stuck for the last two seasons, including 13 starts this past season.

Sometimes, missing on a draft pick is a major problem, but giving up on a guy that eventually sticks on another team is equally as detrimental — especially given the disaster that has been the Oakland offensive line.

Fourth Round, 113th overall — Chimdi Chekwa (C-)

It's always refreshing to get to the fourth round and see a guy who is actually still on the roster.

After four seasons at Ohio State, Chekwa was added to a defensive backfield in dire need of NFL-caliber players. Unfortunately, Chekwa didn't really fit the bill, spending most of his first two seasons on the practice squad.

The good news with Chekwa is that he's still around — playing in 15 games this past season (although just one as a starter). Unfortunately, that's probably more a reflection of the depletion in the defensive backfield than anything else.

Fourth Round, 125th overall — Taiwan Jones (C-)

Although a fan favorite, Jones simply hasn't been worthy of a fourth round pick in any capacity. Like Chekwa, the best news is that he's still around.

Jones has played in every facet -- offense, defense, and special teams. He began at running back and now plays mostly on special teams as a reserve defensive back. Unfortunately, while he's done lots of things, he hasn't necessarily done any of them very well.

Fifth Round, 148th overall — Denaruis Moore (A)

Probably one of the best draft picks Oakland has made in a long time, Moore was an absolute steal in the fifth round.

As a rookie, Moore recorded 33 catches for 618 yards in just 13 games. In the two seasons since, Moore has added 97 more catches and 1,436 yards with 12 touchdowns.

The biggest problem for Moore is that he has been treated like a No. 1 receiver by defenses thanks to the lack of talent surrounding him. I think if Moore and Rod Streater got a true No. 1 receiver to play with, both would improve by leaps and bounds.

Sixth Round, 181st overall — Richard Gordon (F)

Yet another miss.

Gordon was brought into a team in desperate need of a tight end, but in two seasons he recorded just 3 catches for 11 yards. Known more as a blocker than a receiver, Gordon did play in 27 games in two seasons before moving on to Pittsburgh and then Kansas City.

Seventh Round, 241st overall — David Ausberry (F)

The expectations for a seventh round pick are low, and so maybe the fact that Ausberry is still around should be viewed as a positive.

Then again, in three seasons in Oakland, Ausberry has recorded just 9 catches for 106 yards. In 2013, Ausberry missed the entire season due to injury.

Every pre-season, Ausberry is talked about as an intriguing option at tight end, but he has yet to produce. With the selection of two tight ends last spring, the writing is on the wall for what Oakland really thinks about his potential.