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Grading Raiders 2016 draft class after three seasons

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Denver Broncos v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Some say you can’t accurately judge a draft class until after their third NFL season. Well, here we are, looking at you 2016 draft class. Time flies, really. It doesn’t feel like it’s been three years since the Raiders made these selections. Probably mostly because not many of them have played a lot of football since they were drafted. Let’s take a look at that class, shall we?

Round 1, pick 14: Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia

We’ve waited impatiently to see Joseph become the dominant safety he was coming out of West Virginia. His rookie season was a wash mainly because he spent the entire offseason and training camp recovering from a major knee injury in his senior season of college.

He was expected to take a big leap in his second season, and that didn’t happen. Third time’s the charm? It might be.

The first part of the season, Joseph was still not a big part of the defense, but finally, over the final few games of the season, Joseph started to look like he may be worth considering as the team’s starting safety moving forward. At least the arrow is pointing up for him. The Raiders sure do need him to pan out.

Grade: B-

Round 2, pick 44: Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois

Two seasons of doing basically nothing, and Ward was traded to Dallas for WR Ryan Switzer. Switzer was later traded to Pittsburgh so the Raiders could move up one round from the 6th to the 5th. Not a great two-year turnaround on a 2nd round pick.

Ward was always a head scratcher in the second round. He was quickly a face palm second round pick. By the way, he didn’t make the Cowboys roster out of camp and was later signed by the Colts where he had 3.0 sacks in six games. Go figure.

Grade: D-

Round 3, pick 75: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State

Calhouns has been cut twice by the Raiders the past two years. Last year in the preseason we saw the first sign that Calhoun had a pulse, but it wasn’t enough to keep him on the roster. After being cut for the second time and again receiving no interesting on the waiver wire, he was signed the practice squad. He was later activated to the regular season roster. He has appeared in a total of 26 games with no starts in his career. In that time, he has amassed a half sack and 23 combined tackles.

Grade: F

Round 4, pick 100 Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State

The Raiders traded up to get cook at the top of the fourth round. He was active for one career regular season game and one playoff game and was never at any time named the primary backup to Derek Carr. Jon Gruden claimed to like him but it wasn’t long before it was clear he couldn’t be trusted even as a backup, so he traded for AJ McCarron and Cook was let go in the final round of cuts. He has since spent time on the practice squads for the Panthers and Bengals.

Grade: F

Round 5, pick 143: DeAndré Washington, RB, Texas Tech

Washington was outplayed by undrafted fellow rookie Jalen Richard from day one. And his numbers have only gone down in his last two seasons. He just doesn’t offer much. It seemed like he might not make the team out of camp last year, but somehow he did and was active for 10 games last season, running for 115 yards on 30 carries (3.8 yards per carry).

Grade: D+

Round 6, pick 194: Cory James, LB, Colorado State

Remember when James looked like he might be a late round gem? He started 9 games in 2017 and put up 56 combined tackles and 6 tackles for loss before landing on IR late in the season. By May, he was released and hasn’t been heard from in the NFL since.

Grade: C-

Round 7, pick 234: Vadal Alexander, G/T, LSU

Another guy who at one point seemed like he could be a late draft find. He appeared in 24 games with 9 starts over his first two seasons. Come May, he was suspended by the NFL for violating the league policy on substance abuse. He failed to report to training camp and hasn’t been heard from since.

Grade: C

Class grade: D


What do you think of my D grade for the 2016 class?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    It’s a bit too high
    (1065 votes)
  • 61%
    Seems about right to me
    (1986 votes)
  • 5%
    It’s a bit too low
    (163 votes)
  • 1%
    It’s way too low
    (36 votes)
3250 votes total Vote Now