In this year’s draft, we weren’t even ten picks into the second round and the Raiders already had four new prospects. The final of those picks came at 40 overall. After trading down twice from 35 to 38 and finally to 40, the Raiders pulled the trigger, landing Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen.
Obviously the Raiders are hoping Mullen will prove to be one of the better second round picks in franchise history, but we have a long way to go before we know that.
The second round has not been a good place for the Raiders to find talent lately. Derek Carr is, of course, an exception to that, but outside of him, the second round has been dismal the past few years, featuring washouts like Obi Melifonwu (2017), Jihad Ward (2016), Mario Edwards Jr (2015), and Menelik Watson (2013).
Those were all Reggie McKenzie picks, making for his biggest criticism. Prior to his time as GM, the Raiders actually had a string of very good looking second round picks including Stefen Wisniewski (2011), Lamarr Houston (2010), Mike MItchell (2009), Zach Miller (2007), Thomas Howard (2006), and Stanford Routt (2005). That’s six straight great looking second round picks (they didn’t have a round two pick in 2008).
But only one can be crowned the best second round pick ever.
Howie Long (1981)
The Hall of Fame edge rusher is an easy choice for the best second round pick in Raiders history. Selected at 48 overall in the 1981 draft out of Villanova, he spent his entire 13-year career with the Raiders. He would get his Super Bowl ring in his third year with the team. He was a big part of that Super Bowl run too, putting up a career-best 13.0 sacks that season on his way to his first Pro Bowl. It was the first of eight times he would head to Hawaii to represent the Raiders in the Pro Bowl. He was also named All Pro twice with 84.0 career sacks.
Howie has gone on to a long (ehem) and distinguished career as a color analyst for FOX. He also has a couple of incredibly talented sons who have had outstanding NFL careers in their own right. Both of his sons outdid their dad in becoming first round picks. No doubt being his offspring held them in higher regard among NFL folks.
His eldest son Chris Long was a fierce pass rusher out of Vriginia who became the second overall pick in the 2008 draft. He has gone on to be on two Super Bowl winning teams and is still playing at a high level at the age of 33. The younger son Kyle makes his hay on the other side of the ball. He is a three-time Pro Bowl guard heading into his seventh season in the league.
Not a coincidence that his sons are also fantastic human beings who give generously to charity. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
Sean Jones (1984)
Matt Millen (1980)
Mike Davis (1977)
Dave Casper (1974)
Monte Johnson (1973)
Phil Villapiano (1971)
George Buehler (1969)
Ken Stabler (1968)
Correction: Ken Stabler was originally an oversight and not listed (don’t ask, because I don’t know)