These days the 4th round leads off day three of the draft. The third day of the draft is when the really good General Managers can separate themselves by finding great value. The draft hits triple digits at that point, with most teams having already selected three times, so you have to be good to land a star who had been passed over.
This year the Raiders ended up with three fourth round picks, giving them a better shot at landing a talented player. With those picks they landed edge rusher Maxx Crosby, cornerback Isaiah Johnson, and tight end Foster Moreau.
In the past few years, the Raiders have done fairly well in the round which if you hit on even half of your picks, you’ve done considerably well. It’s too early to judge last year’s 4th round pick, Nick Nelson, but of the previous four years they hit on Justin Ellis and Jon Feliciano and missed on David Sharpe and Connor Cook.
As you continue back through the years, it’s hit or miss. Some hit much bigger. One stands above the others.
Cliff Branch (1972)
Arguably the biggest slight for the Hall of Fame. Branch was an elite receiver. He won three Super Bowls with the Raiders and for many years held the NFL’s all-time lead in playoff receiving yards.
Oh, he did it in the regular season too. Branch had the 5th most receiving yards from 1972-85 (8685) and the 10th most all-time in 1985 in both catches (501) and receiving. Seven of the top nine are all Hall of Famers. Just ahead of Branch at 8th and 9th are Fred Biletnikoff (8974) and James Lofton (8816).
These numbers helped Branch become a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All Pro. And the best 4th round pick the Raiders ever made. An Al Davis spent the rest of his life trying to find another, but talent like Cliff Branch is not so easily duplicated.
Steve Beurlein (1987)
Greg Townsend (1983)
Mickey Marvin (1977)
Dave Dalby (1972)
Clarence Davis (1971)
Charlie Smith (1968)
Also see: Best Raiders third round pick