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Raiders’ freezing cold draft takes: From Nnamdi Asomugha to Joe Burrow

A look back at some swing and misses

Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders - November 12, 2006 Photo by Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary

As we prepare for this week’s NFL Draft, all of our communities are looking back at some of our biggest draft-take blunders. Where did we screw up the most?

Frankly, there isn’t a ton of Raiders’ bad draft-take material in recent memory. Let’s face it, the Raiders have struggled often in the early rounds — and many of those decisions looked dubious from the start. So there aren’t a lot of glaring options. We can look at the 2019 selections of stars Maxx Crosby (fourth round) and Hunter Renfrow (fifth round), but no one thought they were going to be for-sure stars when they drafted.

My worst recent Raiders’ draft take:

I didn’t hate the Kolton Miller pick in 2018. But I thought he’d be just OK and I thought the Raiders had better options at No. 15 (or they could have stayed at No. 10). And yes, there were some good options out there. They could have taken Minkah Fitzpatrick or Vita Vea at No. 10 and they could have taken Derwin James at No. 15. But to his credit, Miller has became a very good left tackle and he was a solid pick.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

My worst recent overall NFL draft take:

I didn’t love the Cincinnati Bengals taking Joe Burrow at No. 1 in 2020. I liked Burrow’s moxie but I was worried he was too slight and I thought his video game numbers at LSU were a product of his teammates and his scheme. Yes, I was leaning to Tua Tagavailoa with the No. 1 pick. Of course, I was terribly wrong. Burrow is already an elite player and he took his team to the Super Bowl in his second season. Tua, meanwhile, has struggled. I’m glad I was wrong about Burrow. He is a joy to watch.

Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders - November 12, 2006
Nnamdi Asomugha
Photo by Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary

Most memorable NFL miss on a Raiders’ draft pick:

Back in 2003, I wasn’t even covering the Raiders. When discussing the first day of the draft with an NFL general manager, he offered me his opinion on the Raiders’ selection of Cal cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Mind you, I didn’t ask this GM what he thought of the Raiders taking Asomugha at No. 31. He brought it up. He was laughing saying that his team couldn’t believe the Raiders took Asomugha in the first round and explained that his team had him rated as seventh-round pick. Wow. Sometimes teams’ opinion differ on draft picks, but that is a wild difference in round evaluation. Of course, Asomugha went on to become a star, so the Raiders were right and this bragging GM was wrong. Later, as I covered the Raiders, I developed a good relationship with Asomugha. One day, I told him of the story back on his draft day. He loved it.

What’s your coldest draft take?