COMMENTARY | The Oakland Raiders were once a gold mine for draft prospects. Back in the glory days, Al Davis used his smarts to take players nobody else would even waste their time on.
Davis was even crazy enough to spend his first-round pick of 1973 on a punter. But as time would prove, that 23rd overall selection of 1973 was a punter named Ray Guy, the best punter in NFL history.
But as his football genius began to dwindle away with his growing age, Davis made several "questionable decisions" in the draft towards the final stages of his life. The Raiders became known more for their outlandish picks of players who would disappoint rather than surprise the league like they used to do during the 1960s and '70s.
It was difficult narrowing this list to only five, especially given Oakland's recent string of horrible first-round picks.
Here are the top-five draft busts in Oakland Raiders' history.
1. JaMarcus Russell, QBIt goes without saying that JaMarcus Russell was the worst draft bust in Raider history. As a matter of fact, he's the biggest draft bust in NFL history.
Russell was the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 and finished with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and a passer rating of just 65.2 in three NFL seasons. The man was horribly inaccurate and incredibly out of shape as he blimped up in every year he played.
Just six years after being the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL, Russell finds himself out of a job and desperately searching for a team to give him another chance.
Although it's painful to hear, the Raiders could have spent their 2007 pick on the guy who was eventually taken No. 2, Calvin Johnson.
2. Todd Marinovich, QBTodd Marinovich lived a crazy lifestyle filled with drugs, and horrible play on the football field. The Raiders took him No. 24 overall in 1991, and needless to say the honeymoon was short lived.
Marinovich started in just eight games during his two years in the pros and threw a grand total of eight touchdowns and nine interceptions during his brief tenure in the NFL.
As Marinovich's poor play and drug addiction began to get the best of him, he found himself playing in the Canadian Football League and the Arena Football League.
3. Bob Buczkowski, DEAfter a stellar college career at the University of Pittsburgh, Bob Buczkowski was one of the worst picks in Raiders' history after they drafted him No. 24 overall in 1986.
It really doesn't get much worse for the Raiders and Buczkowski after the defensive end finished with just one sack in two career games in Oakland. You're not exactly getting your money's worth with that kind of production.
In what has continued as a trend of "Raider fashion," Buczkowski found himself continuously in trouble with the law and was out of the NFL by 1990.
4. Robert Gallery, OTThe Raiders took Robert Gallery with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 draft and he seemed to fit the Raider image immediately.
He was a big, Midwestern guy with tattoos as far as the eye could see. He wreaked of intimidation.
Unfortunately, Gallery didn't do much of anything during his seven years in Oakland, and he retired in 2011 after spending one year with the Seattle Seahawks.
Instead of using the No. 2 pick to bolster their line in 2004, the Raiders could have had Larry Fitzgerald, Ben Roethlisberger or Vince Wilfork.
5. Rolando McClain, LBIn hindsight, this pick made sense for the Raiders when they took Rolando McClain No. 8 overall in 2010.
He was a gifted, Butkus Award-winning linebacker who was bred under the football genius that is Nick Saban at the University of Alabama.
Unfortunately, McClain failed to display any sort of professionalism during his three years in Oakland and after a disappointing season in 2012 where he lost his starting role and had multiple run-ins with the law, he found himself out of the bay area.
McClain made it clear he did not want to be a Raider, and his wish was granted when Reggie McKenzie gave him his release over the offseason.
Steven Slivka is a Freelance Writer for the Oakland Raiders. You can follow him on Twitter @StevenSlivka
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- Todd Marinovich
- JaMarcus Russell
- Bob Buczkowski