Before it all came crumbling down for the Del Rio-McKenzie led Raiders, the team was fresh off a playoff berth entering the 2017 NFL Draft and…
What followed was an extremely poor harvest of players, which eventually cost the duo their job and has yielded very little success for the Silver and Black. Knowing that, let’s see where each player has fared two seasons after being drafted by Oakland.
Round 1 (Pick 24) Gareon Conley
Conley is the only pick from the draft that has had a major positive impact for the team. After his his stock fell due to rape accusations, which were later disproved, the Raiders picked Conley at 24. Injuries derailed his first season in Oakland, but in year two, Conley proved his worth, became the team’s primary corner and had three interceptions. Conley is the only piece from this draft that can be viewed as a building block going forward.
Round 2 (Pick 56) Obi Melifonwu
Melifonwu was, at one time, the Raiders great project. He has all the physical tools to be the next Kam Chancellor. Unfortunately, he hasn’t put it together thus far in his young career. Melifonwu played in just five games his rookie season. He never played another down for Oakland. He was waived last season and was picked up by the Patriots. He served as a special-teamer for New England for two games last season.
Round 3 (Pick 88) Eddie Vanderdoes
Vanderdoes started 13 games at defensive tackle for the Raiders as a rookie and was horrendous while doing so. He managed only 18 total tackles and had no sacks. This could be chalked up to the learning curve of college to the pros at the time. Unfortunately for him, his 2018 season was ended during the last game of the 2017 season with an ACL tear. Vanderdoes is still on the roster, but his job isn’t safe. He will need a good preseason to make the team with Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall, Jonathon Hankins, Justin Ellis currently on the roster.
Round 4 (Pick 129) David Sharpe
Sharpe has never suited up for the Raiders. He got two starts his rookie season after injuries forced him into the lineup. Last season, he was waived and landed on the Houston Texan’s practice squad re-signing in Oakland. Sharpe faces an uphill battle making the Raiders roster in 2019. Trent Brown, Kolton Miller, Brandon Parker all outrank him at offensive tackle.
Round 5 (Pick 168) Marquel Lee
It is never a great sign for a draft class when the second best player was picked in the fifth round. Lee has found a nice little niche as a good special-teamer and a proficient run defender. He can play in certain situations and against certain formations. He is not the 3-down linebacker Oakland has been lacking for so long, but he’s been a solid contributor.
Round 7 (Pick 221, 231, 242) Shalom Luani, Jylan Ware, and Elijah Hood
Luani, Ware, and Hood never panned our. Luani was traded to the Seahawks, where he currently serves as a special teamer, for a conditional seventh round. Ware played in one game as a Raider and is now trying to make the Giants roster. Hood played in one game as a Raider and he is now trying to make the Panthers roster.
Round 7 (Pick 244) Treyvon Hester
Treyvon Hester was a Raider for a single season and in that season, he outplayed fellow 2017 draftee Eddie Vanderdoes. Hester failed to make the roster in 2018 but ended up being a rotational piece for the Eagles and he did manage to earn his first career sack. Hester has the most notable play of any player on this list, just ask Bears fans. Hester will look to keep his spot as an Eagle in 2019, either way, he’ll be loved in Philly and hated in Chicago for the rest of his life.
To conclude, this draft class has worked out terribly in the NFL. Just two seasons later and Oakland can only count on two of these guys, Conley and Lee, to make the roster. Drafts like this are what keep teams out of the playoffs and make people lose their jobs. I’m sure the Raiders have done worse, I just can’t remember a lighter haul in recent years, excluding McKenzie’s first year where the team didn’t have a first or second round pick.