Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Frank Schwab discuss the Silver and Black’s horrible string of first round draft choices. Where would the Raiders be if just half of these players played like first round picks? Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
CHARLES ROBINSON: I don't know that I've ever, ever, ever seen a more disastrous run of first round picks. When Alex Leatherwood gets cut, Henry Ruggs, obviously that situation goes horribly wrong for the Las Vegas Raiders, Damon Arnette, Clelin Ferrell obviously has not gone well. There are probably other, even-- other additions in there.
FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Some Raiders fans would probably be like, don't forget this guy. Don't forget that. It just-- I've never seen a regime have so much draft capital in such a short period of time and, in effect, waste it. I don't know any other way to say it, but it was-- I don't know.
And part of me wonders, with the Raiders, there was always this tension that went on between Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock. And it was always-- the way it was explained to me, it was a very Jon Gruden-driven situation, that Jon always drove the friction. Jon liked the friction. He sort of liked to operate inside some kind of dynamic tension, which other people were like, there's nothing dynamic about it. It's just tense as hell.
But for whatever reason, player personnel-wise, they just-- they did not operate well, figuring out what exactly-- what talent they wanted to pick up and what their-- remember the Khalil Mack trade? Oh, the Khalil Mack trade. Look at all the capital they get. And this is just going to-- this is going to align the franchise for years. And then you just destroyed it by making a ton of picks that--
I mean, you could even kind of say, look, even Josh Jacobs hasn't turned into, really, what they had hoped.
FRANK SCHWAB: They didn't pick up his fifth year option. I don't know--
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, that's another guy, you didn't pick up their fifth year. I mean, there's just a multitude of--
FRANK SCHWAB: [INAUDIBLE]
CHARLES ROBINSON: --high picks.
FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah, and I mean-- and the thing is, think about where the Raiders would be right now if they hit on these picks.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, if they hit on half-- Frank, if they hit on half--
FRANK SCHWAB: Right. They were in the playoffs last year. They'd be feeling pretty good. Not that they're not feeling good right now, but you'd be feeling like we have a Super Bowl window right now, which I don't think they really do.
The only other regime that comes to mind is the Matt Millen Lions, where they blew all those picks.
CHARLES ROBINSON: I covered it. I covered that--
FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah, he shows off for that one, I'm going to say. I shouldn't have to remind you.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Three years in a row, first round wide receiver. Amazing run of--
FRANK SCHWAB: Yeah.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --that was awesome.
FRANK SCHWAB: And it was like-- you had that-- the guy drafted after the Lions pick list, it's like, OK-- it just goes on and on.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Aaron Donald after Eric-- Aaron Donald after Eric Ebron will forever-- and I don't even know that that was-- I'm trying to think.
FRANK SCHWAB: That wasn't Millen.
CHARLES ROBINSON: That wasn't Millen, but still--
FRANK SCHWAB: The stink of the--
CHARLES ROBINSON: Forever.
FRANK SCHWAB: --Lions drafting goes on forever. Yeah, I mean, just the-- yeah, so I do push back. And I joke, and I eye roll a lot at the whole notion people put out there of every great pick the Raiders made over these years is Mike Mayock, and every terrible pick is Jon Gruden. Like, come on. Let's not do that.
But yes, I mean, there's a lot of blame to go around. And it just shows, yeah, you can have all the draft picks in the world. You've got to actually pick the right players.
And the thing about it, a lot of these picks at the time, we were like, Clelin Ferrell third? Really? Is that what we're doing? Alex-- even Alex Leatherwood, we're like, that's a reach. What are we doing with that one?
When you make picks like that, where you're obviously way ahead of consensus, you'd better get them right. Because it looks really stupid when you draft Clelin Ferrell third, and he has, like, six career sacks or whatever he has.
CHARLES ROBINSON: The Leatherwood one, though, forever, I think, will be--
FRANK SCHWAB: Oof. How many times has a first round pick not made it to a second year with a team? Like, that is really rare. Like, it's-- I mean, I'm sure it's happened a lot. But I can't remember one other instance where-- I mean, teams just hold on forever. Like, well, maybe year two or year three-- they were just like, nope. See you. We can't even make anything out of you. And they needed line help. They needed offensive line help.
CHARLES ROBINSON: And as you said, yeah, their line is jacked up as it is. And the benefits-- the crazy thing about this is, the benefit that the franchise saw and the new regime saw-- and frankly, look, it's not their fault. They're doing what they need to do. They're building it the way they need to build it.
I don't blame the new regime at all, Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels at all. The benefit, though, was, well, we actually know he's going to get claimed. Even though we tried to shop him, and no one was going to trade for him, they weren't trading for him because they knew we were going to release him.
But we know he's going to get claimed, which means there's going to be millions taken off the books by essentially them picking up the remainder--
FRANK SCHWAB: Chicago Bears--
CHARLES ROBINSON: --of guaranteed-- yeah, the Bears end up picking him up. So that ends up saving them, I want to say, between $5 and $6 million in cap space. That was the move. That was the benefit.
They rather would have-- they would rather have that little bit of cap space, which isn't a lot. You can't get a lot of quality players, certainly not offensive linemen, for that little bit. But that was the one sort of benefit they saw, even though that they had offensive line issues. So it's pretty remarkable.