Recently NFL media’s Gil Brandt put together a top ten list of the best 2nd round picks since 2012. Two of those players mentioned wear a Raiders uniform.
Starting with 2012 is interesting from a Raiders perspective because that was the first year Reggie McKenzie came on board.
Landing at number two on the list, just behind Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is Derek Carr who the team chose with the 36 overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Here is what Brandt had to say about Carr
Why he was available: I thought he'd be picked about 25th overall and invited him to come to New York for the draft, but he declined. Carr was probably dinged for the level of competition he faced at Fresno State. He also didn't play well against USC in the Las Vegas Bowl, and I think that hurt him a little bit, leading to the slight drop from 25 to 36. I think sometimes in these situations we tend to focus on the bad rather than considering the broader picture of a player's entire career and ability.
What he became: Carr threw 53 touchdown passes in his first two seasons, the second most all-time in a player's first two NFL campaigns, behind only Dan Marino (68). He also elevated the Raiders from also-ran to contender and earned two Pro Bowl nods while showing he has the ability to get a team to the Super Bowl -- in fact, if not for a broken fibula in Week 16, he might've gotten Oakland there last season. He's a very good athlete with a quick release, a strong arm and great leadership skills. It's hard to ask for much more out of a young quarterback.
Not only is Carr worthy of being among the best second round picks in the McKenzie era, he may be the only Raiders second round pick in that time who is even worth mentioning.
The others are Menelik Watson, Mario Edwards Jr, and Jihad Ward. Watson (who is now with the Broncos) and Edwards have had issues staying healthy and Ward had a rough rookie season in 2016.
McKenzie has only had four second round picks in the past five years because he didn’t have one in 2012. Last offseason he went out and got his 2012 second round pick back by signing former Ravens 60th overall pick in that draft Kelechi Osemele to a blockbuster free agent deal.
With a dominant season in 2016, leading to being named All Pro and heading to his first Pro Bowl, Osemele made the number ten spot on Brandt’s list.
Why he was available: Osemele started four years at Iowa State, which is always a good sign. But there were doubts about his ability to play left tackle in the NFL, and when your perceived ceiling is as a right tackle, it's going to hurt your stock.
What he became: It took him awhile to learn the NFL, but Osemele eventually blossomed into a very good player. By the time his first four years with the Ravens were over, he'd advanced to the point that he landed a five-year deal from the Raiders last offseason worth up to $60 million. Osemele has long arms, big hands, power and strength, though he has to keep his weight down. In 2016, he was outstanding, earning Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors as part of a line that made Oakland the least-sacked team in the league.
Osemele wasn’t a Raiders draft selection, but he’s in Silver & Black now. He arrives in his prime, just in time to help a resurgent Raiders squad. In part by protecting for the man at the 2 spot on the list.