I’m not the biggest fan of re-grades, typically. Grading past drafts are good, but if your first grade was based on projected talent and your latest is anything other than a grade of where we are now, in my view you’re doing it wrong.
Even still, a grade three years in is a good time to get a real feel for how a team performed in a given draft. All players have had a chance to reach their potential by that point, and have at least one more year on the rookie contracts.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke took a look back at how each team drafted in 2014 and as you might suspect, the Raiders scored quite well. In fact, they received the highest grade of any team in that draft. Here is what Burke had to say:
Best pick: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State (Round 2, No. 36)
Worst pick: Keith McGill, DB, Utah (Round 4, No. 116)
Drafting Carr went a long way toward reversing the Raiders’ franchise fortunes, but he’s not even the most talented player they landed. That would be DE Khalil Mack (No. 5), who only gets booted from "Best Pick" honors because the entire league passed on Carr in Round 1. Third-round guard Gabe Jackson (No. 81) is a rock-steady blocker on a very good line. DT Justin Ellis (No. 107) is a 27-game starter for Oakland inside. Even seventh-round CB T.J. Carrie (No. 219) and McGill, now a safety, have remained on the roster.
No other team in the 2014 draft earned a flat A grade from Burke. The closest was the New York Giants and Green Bay Packer. The Giants selected Odell Beckham Jr in the first round and center Weston Richburg in the second while the Packers got Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first, Carr’s favorite target at Fresno State, Davante Adams in the second along with center Corey Lindsey and Cal tight end Richard Rodgers.
I too gave the Raiders’ 2014 draft a solid A grade when I did my grade earlier this offseason. The difference being we tend to focus only on the Raiders around here. We know they had an outstanding 2014 draft, but it’s interesting to see how it stacked up against the rest of the league.