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In past 6 years, Raiders’ draft pick retention goes from near league worst to among league best

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The draft retention arch is looking very promising for Raiders.

This past offseason, the Raiders put up little to no resistance as they watched the remaining players from their 2013 draft class leave as free agents. The same thing occurred the previous offseason with their 2012 class, leaving the team without a single draft pick on the team from Reggie McKenzie’ first two drafts.

After those classes, things have gotten better as a study by Jeff Hunter of SBN site Buffalo Rumblings shows.

NFL Draft pick retention
Jeff Hunter, Buffalo Rumblings

Currently the Raiders maintain just 4.2% of the players they drafted from 2011-13. That’s the third lowest retention rate in the league. That 4.2% is represented by 2011 4th round running back Taiwan Jones.

After the 2013 draft class, things improve considerably when compared to the rest of the league. The Raiders sit at 80% retention which is 9th best in the league.

One reason for the sharp jump is the fact that the 2014 class is still under contract for the upcoming season. For that reason you can’t compare the 2014 and 2013 retention rate in a vacuum.

That’s why it’s important to compare it to the rest of the league. Only ten teams currently hold a 2014-16 retention rate of 80% or more which tells you keeping players on their rookie deals isn’t automatic.

An argument the other direction would be that better teams may actually be less likely to retain draft picks such as the Patriots and Seahawks which have the worst draft retention rates the past three years.

Likewise, tied for the highest draft retention the past three years is the Jaguars. Kinda seems backwards.

A telling factor may be revisiting the 2014 draft retention this time next year. After all, another look at the Jaguars shows they went from ZERO picks retained from 2011-13 to the highest retention rate the past three years. That suggests their picks are either not earning a second long term deal or they are simply getting those deals elsewhere.

With the Raiders, the figures could look even better this time next year. The top three picks of their 2014 class have absolutely earned long term deals.

First up is second round quarterback Derek Carr, then third round guard Gabe Jackson. Fifth overall pick pass rusher Khalil Mack is sure to still be here with the team picking up his 5th year option. Fourth round defensive tackle Justin Ellis and 7th round corner TJ Carrie also stand out from that class, but their future in Oakland is less certain.