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Oakland Raiders Top 10 first round NFL draft busts

The NFL draft is always a time for optimism for fanbases. This year, the Raiders have three chances to grab premium players in the first round. But if recent history is an indicator, there is also a high probability that at least one of those picks will be a bust.

If you are a Raiders fan and you’re not in your late 30s, unfortunately, you haven’t gotten the chance to see a lot of winning football.

The Raiders last played for (and lost) the Super Bowl in 2002. And their successes, what little there has been lately, are punctuated by vast stretches of mediocrity.

The three-time Super Bowl champions last hoisted the Lombardi trophy back in 1983. The glory years for the Silver and Black were between 1967 and 1985; an 18-year stretch that saw 15 playoff births and three Super Bowl wins. In the 33 years since that run, the Raiders have only made the playoffs seven times.

With the draft coming up, fans are hoping there are a few picks sitting out there that can help right the ship. And no fanbase is looking forward to the draft than the Raiders’, who possess three first-round selections this year (4th, 24th and 27th.) With a bevy of selections, the Raiders are in good shape to land a star. But they’re probably more likely to snag a bust, too.

Here is a list of the Top 10 first-round NFL draft busts in Raiders history:

2007 – QB – Jamarcus Russell (1st)

No list of Raiders’ draft busts will be complete without including Jamarcus Russell. Ever. Jamarcus is an all-time bad pick for the entire NFL. And his selection came at a time when top rookie contracts were astronomically high. His rookie contract was for 6-years $68 million, $32 million of which was GUARANTEED. When it was all said and done, Jamarcus played three seasons with the Raiders, tallied 4,083 yards, 18 touchdowns to 23 interceptions.

2010 – MLB – Rolando McClain (8th)

McClain’s first two years with the Raiders looked solid. He played in 30 games and started 29 of them. During his best season in 2011, he recorded 99 tackles and 5 sacks. That all came crashing down in his third season. He was passed on the depth chart, reportedly was kicked out of a team meeting for an unspecified altercation, according to reporting by NFL.com, and finally burned his last bridge with the organization after a string of negative Facebook posts. He went on to play two decent seasons with the Cowboys before retiring after the 2015 season.

1991 – QB – Todd Marinovich (24th)

Marinovich was supposed to be a franchise-altering quarterback for the Raiders. It didn’t work out that way. Marinovich played only two years in the NFL, both with the (Los Angeles) Raiders. He only saw action in eight games over that span, producing 1,345 yards passing with 8 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Marinovich was the second quarterback taken in the 1991 draft. The third? Some guy named Brett Favre.


2009 – WR – Darrius Heyward-Bey (7th)

The Raiders took DHB as the number one receiver in the draft and passed on the likes of Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin. Even Clay Matthews was available at the time. DHB has had a long career, but his production took a nosedive after the 2012 season; his last as a Raider. Since 2014, he’s played with the Steelers, but could hardly be considered a receiving threat. Overall, DHB has had a nice NFL career. But *nice* doesn’t cut it when you’re the 7th overall pick.


1993 – DB – Patrick Bates (12th)

Bates was another highly-regarded college player that did not pan out as a pro. During Bates’ three seasons with the Raiders, he started just nine games and only recorded one interception. He was with the Falcons for the 1996 season but didn’t record any stats with them either.


2013 – CB – D.J. Hayden (12th)

Hayden never lived up to his lofty selection. In four seasons with the Raiders, Hayden played in 45 games, but only started in 25 of them. After leaving the Raiders, Hayden has bounced around, first to Detroit and then to Jacksonville. All told, Hayden’s stats aren’t terrible. They’re just not the kind of numbers you’d expect from a Top 15 pick.

2004 – T – Robert Gallery (2nd)

You have to give this to Robert Gallery, he kept himself healthy. Over his 8-year career in the NFL, seven with the Raiders, Gallery started in 103 out of 104 games. But that is really about it. And being taken as the number two overall pick, you’d expect a little more out of the deal. Gallery certainly got his from the Raiders, with a 7-year $60 million contract. But over his seven years in Oakland, Gallery did not make a single Pro Bowl.

2008 – RB – Darren McFadden (4th)

Darren McFadden was the first running back taken in the 2004 draft, but he was not the best available. Over his 10-year career in the league, McFadden only rushed for more than 1,000 yards twice, and only once with the Raiders.  Like many of the Raiders’ post-2000s draft selections, McFadden got himself a fat contract: 6 years, $60.1 million. If it wasn’t for where he was selected, McFadden could have been considered a good contributor. But he was never a franchise running back.

1987 – T – John Clay (15th) 

Clay only played one season for the Raiders in the strike-shortened season of 1987. He was traded to the Chargers in 1988 where he only played two more games. For the 15th overall pick, Clay only played in 12 *total* NFL football games. If that’s not a bust I don’t know what is.

2002 – CB – Phillip Buchanon (17th) 

Phillip Buchanon could best be described as a journeyman NFL player. He spent three mostly lackluster years in Oakland though he did record six interceptions in 2003. His last season with the Raiders was in 2004. After that, he had stints with the Texans, Buccaneers, Lions and Redskins before finally hanging up the cleats in 2011.

**Stats from NFL.com

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