The Las Vegas Raiders have had some of the most legendary plays and players. However, they also have some big misses when it comes to draft picks. These are three of the biggest blunders in the last 30 years.
Who are the Raiders’ three biggest draft mistakes?
The Raiders held the number 12 overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. In the end, they decided to go with Patrick Bates the 6-foot-3, 215-pound safety from Texas A&M. Bates was part of the Aggies defense known as the “Wrecking Crew”. At the time, it seemed to be a solid pick and someone who could possibly carry the torch for the secondary as Willie Brown and Jack Tatum had done before.
That didn’t turn out to be the case, as Bates didn’t start a game in 1993. Although he did start nine games in his second season he did not appear in a single game in 1995. The Raiders traded him to the Atlanta Falcons the following year. He started nine games in ‘A-Town’ but later lost his job and that was it for his professional career.
How bad was this miss? Everybody remembers that the late Al Davis wanted Jamarcus Russell after watching him play against Notre Dame. The beginning of this marriage was extremely rocky. Russel held out until the second week of the 2007 season and only ended up throwing 66 passes in his rookie year. He missed so much opportunity to get extra offseason work in.
In 2008, he became the starter but made plenty of head-scratching decisions. He won the final two games of the season, including an upset of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that knocked them out of the playoffs. Momentum was there for the 2009 season and he was the starter to begin the season. However, then-head coach Tom Cable benched him following an abysmal performance against the New York Giants in Week 5.
Eventually, in that season he was dropped to 3rd on the depth chart. Following injuries to Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye, Russell did come back to play part of a game vs the Denver Broncos in which he led the team back to a victory. The Raiders released the LSU product the following season and never played another down in the NFL. What makes the Russell pick more infuriating is the fact the Raiders could’ve had Calvin Johnson.
This one hurts the more time passes. Fabian Washington was the 23rd pick in 2004’s draft. It stings because the Nebraska product only played three seasons with the Raiders, was never impressive, and his numbers were less than stellar. Oh yeah, and the next pick was Aaron Rodgers, who has won a Super Bowl and he is still playing at a high level.
Washington ended his Raider tenure with 123 total tackles, 28 passes defensed, and one interception. He was traded in 2008 and was out of the league after 2010. The pick hurts more because of where Rodgers is still at and the many questions that the Raiders have had at quarterback since 2003.
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Top Image: Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group