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Raiders history: The first picks of each GM

Dylan Parham joins new club

Oakland Raiders v Tennessee Titans
Tony Bergstrom
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

In the third round of the 2022 NFL draft, with the 90th pick, Memphis offensive lineman Dylan Parham became the first draft pick of new Las Vegas Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler and the two will forever be connected.

In the spirit of the history being made, let’s look at the other first picks of the Raiders’ major decision makers over the years.

Super Bowl XV - Oakland Raiders vs Philadelphia Eagles - January 25, 1981
Gene Upshaw (63)
Photo by Sylvia Allen/Getty Images

1967: This is difficult to pin down because Al Davis started as the Raiders’ head coach in 1963, but his first AFL draft as the general manager and owner of the Raiders was 1967 and it was a doozy. He took guard Gene Upshaw that year, so he was the first no-question-about-it Davis choice. Upshaw went onto to be a face of the franchise and a key to the Raiders’ Super Bowl teams. Upshaw was a lifetime Raider and ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So, I’m good with starting this list with him.

2012: Reggie McKenzie took over as the first general manager of the franchise after Davis died in October, 2011. His first draft was not unlike Ziegler’s. Because of the Carson Palmer trade and the Terrelle Pryor supplemental pick (which both happened before he got there), McKenzie’s first pick was until No. 95. Like Ziegler, he picked in the 90s and took an offensive lineman. It didn’t work out like the Upshaw pick, though. Tony Bergstrom started just four games for the Raiders. Perhaps Parham will land somewhere in the middle of Upshaw and Bergstrom.

Kansas City Chiefs v Las Vegas Raiders
Mike Mayock
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

2019: This was another one that hasn’t worked out(thus far). It was Mike Mayock’s first year as the Raiders’ general manager (he was fired in January and replaced by Ziegler). While Jon Gruden ran the show, Mayock was brought in to help with the draft primarily, so he had a hand in drafting Clelin Ferrell at No. 4. The Clemson defensive end was a huge reach and never made an impact. he is now a backup and Ziegler has declined his fifth-year option, making him a free agent after this season.