The upcoming NFL Draft this April is undoubtedly one of, if not the most important draft in Oakland Raiders history. If Gruden and Mayock get this one right, they’ll set the franchise on the right track for years to come. While the Raiders have been known to strike out on these picks in the past, they’ve definitely hit some home runs as well. Let’s take a look at the Raiders’ five best first-round picks of all time.
#5 Marcus Allen, RB
Kicking this list off, and coming in at number five is Marcus Allen. Allen was picked by the Los Angeles Raiders with the 10th overall pick in the 1982 NFL draft. Over 15 seasons, from 1982-1997, he played for the Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs, where he rushed for 12,243 yards while racking up 123 touchdowns. Allen also had 5,411 career receiving yards, and 21 career receiving touchdowns.
Allen was named to six Pro Bowl teams and was a First-team All-Pro twice. His best season came in 1985-86, when he racked up an insane 1,759 yards, to go with 555 receiving yards and 14 total touchdowns. Allen was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
#4 Khalil Mack, LB/Edge
Khalil Mack makes his appearance on this list at #4 and is the only active player on the list. Mack was selected with the fourth pick in the 2014 draft, one of the best drafts in Raiders’ history. In his five year career, Mack’s already got 53 career sacks and 350 tackles. Mack has been selected to four Pro Bowls, he’s been named to the All-Pro first team three times, and he won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2016. If Mack continues this standard of play, he’ll easily become a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
#3 Tim Brown, WR
Tim Brown was selected by the Raiders with the sixth pick in the 1988 Draft. For the first few seasons of his career, the Raiders used him primarily as a return specialist. In his rookie year, he led the league in kick returns, return yards, and yards per average. It took him a while to fill into his role as a top receiver, as he only managed 147 catches through his first five seasons. However, after that rocky start, he went on to record nine consecutive 1,000+ yard campaigns.
Brown was released by the team in 2004 when he refused to accept a smaller role in the offense. He would then go to Tampa Bay to play his last year in the league with his former coach, Jon Gruden. He retired in 2005 and was elected to the Hall of Fame 10 years later, in 2015.
#2 Charles Woodson, CB/SS/FS
Woodson was drafted by the Raiders with the fourth overall pick in 1998 and has since become one of the most infamous players to ever don the Silver & Black. Woodson, who kicked off his career by winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, went on to be named to his first Pro-Bowl, and receive three consecutive All-Pro nominations from 1999-2002.
A history of nagging injuries led to the two sides splitting up, and Woodson went on to win a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers. Woodson has been named to nine Pro-Bowls, and three first-team All-Pro selections. He has one of the most decorated resumes in NFL history and is easily one of the greatest defensive players of all time.
#1 Gene Upshaw, G
Upshaw was one of the earliest draft selections ever for the Raiders, being selected in 1967. He would go on to play a storied 15-year career with the team. Upshaw became the first player ever to play in the Super Bowl in three different decades (something Jerry Rice and Bill Romanowski would accomplish in 2003). Upshaw was a part of many iconic moments, such as The Immaculate Reception, the Sea of Hands Game, the Ghost to the Post, and many others.
All of these players are legendary, making them nearly impossible to rank. What we do know is that Marcus Allen, Khalil Mack, Tim Brown, Charles Woodson, and Gene Upshaw are the five greatest first-round draft picks in Raiders’ history.