Just down the road from the O.Co Coliseum on Friday night, a certain college quarterback dazzled fans and NFL scouts alike as the Oregon Ducks torched the Arizona Wildcats to advance into the College Football Playoff. That same quarterback is also all but assured of winning the Heisman Trophy and becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft.
Unfortunately, that No. 1 pick no longer belongs to the Oakland Raiders.
With their second win of the season, the Raiders invigorated their fanbase, energized their roster, and prolonged a rebuilding project that has been a decade in the making. With the win, the Raiders fell from No. 1 to No. 5 in the draft order (by virtue of owning the most difficult schedule in the league) and all but disqualified themselves from having a chance to "earn" the No. 1 pick and trade it for the bounty Marcus Mariota would surely have attracted.
In 2012, the Rams found themselves in a similar situation to the one Oakland could have found itself in — holding the No. 2 pick in the draft with an elite QB prospect still on the board. Desperate for a quarterback, the NFL team from Washington DC gave up three first round picks and a second round pick for the rights to draft Robert Griffin III.
In case you're wondering, that is the same Rams team that decimated the Raiders last week behind many of those acquired players.
You see, it's the Rams who should have been the franchise model for Oakland. In just three seasons, the Rams have become an extremely competitive NFL team thanks to their accumulation of draft picks. In fact, if Sam Bradford had panned out, they would probably be one of the top teams in the NFC.
With Derek Carr already on board, the Oakland Raiders were perfectly set up to duplicate the St. Louis model. Lose out, acquire the No. 1 pick and then sell it to the highest bidder.
Instead, Oakland is left currently with the No. 5 pick (assuming they don't keep winning), and rather than 7 top-50 picks in the next two seasons, Oakland is left with just four (and remember, St. Louis traded the No. 2 pick for that haul).
Now, don't get me wrong — I love the Oakland Raiders. I love watching Derek Carr succeed. And I hate watching guys like Charles Woodson lose.
But I also don't want to watch the Raiders reside in the conference basement for the next three seasons.
This win was great for morale and confidence, but when other teams are drafting Marcus Mariota and Amari Cooper come the spring, this win won't be doing anything for the Raiders or their fans.
Other than keeping them a few more draft picks from the playoffs, of course.