Photo Essay  


For every Russell, the Raiders also found a Stabler


The Raiders picked quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the NFL supplemental draft on Monday, and immediately the haters started the JaMarcus Russell comparisons, to the point the team's all-time bust was even trending on Twitter.

Hey, do not let me stand in the way of poking fun of the Raiders and some of the organization’s questionable draft picks. But in fairness to Pryor and to the Raiders, they have had some steals, too. So here are some of the Raiders' most notable draft hits and misses.

Miss: Todd Marinovich

Before there was Russell, the Raiders took a gamble on a fiery redhead from USC. Many saw Marinovich as the next Stabler. Eh, yeah. Well, they were both left handed and were well known for some extracurricular activities away from the field. That is about where the comparisons end.

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Hit: Ken Stabler

Sure, Stabler was a second-round pick for the Raiders in 1968, but he was also the second quarterback the Raiders picked in that draft (bonus points for you if you remember the name Eldridge Dickey, who was later converted to receiver). Stabler went on to lead the Raiders to a win in Super Bowl XI and many believe that he should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Miss: Napoleon Kaufman

The Raiders took Kaufman in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft, and while he had a serviceable career, it clearly was not the tenure that you would expect out of a back taken in Round 1. It's a miss that was further cemented when Kaufman abruptly retired following the 2000 season.

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Hit: Bo Jackson

The Raiders made a genius move when they selected Jackson in the seventh round of the 1987 NFL Draft, one year after the Buccaneers had made him the first overall selection (Jackson refused to sign, allowing him to be eligible for the draft again). Jackson played part-time for the Raiders, but was one of the most dominant running backs in NFL history. Who knows what could have happened if he did not get injured.

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Miss: Darrius Heyward-Bey

Maybe it is a little early to put Heyward-Bey on a list of busts, as he is only entering his third NFL season. But the early returns -- two touchdowns in two seasons -- are not promising.

Cary Edmondson/US Presswire

Hit: Cliff Branch

Converting sprinters into receivers does not always work out (just ask anybody who watched Ron Brown play for the Rams), but Branch was one of the exceptions. The Raiders took him in the fourth round of the 1972 NFL Draft, and he became one of the most feared deep threats in NFL history. Branch was a member of all three of the Raiders' Super Bowl championship teams.

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Miss: Rickey Dudley

The Raiders took Dudley with the ninth overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, and he never lived up to the hype. The more depressing thing for Raiders fans to consider is that Eddie George, Marvin Harrison and Ray Lewis were picked in the first round after Dudley.

Bob Galbrait/Associated Press

Hit: Zach Miller

Miller developed into the team's most reliable receiver the past three seasons after he was selected in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft. So at least there was something positive that came after that selection of Russell. Well, until Miller signed with the Seahawks this offseason.

Kirby Lee/US Presswire

Miss: John Clay

Robert Gallery can relax, he was not the worst lineman ever drafted by the Raiders. That would be Clay, who played only one season for the Raiders in 1987, spent the following season with the Chargers and then was out of football.

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Hit: Art Shell

The Raiders grabbed Shell in the third round of the 1968 NFL Draft, one pick after landing Stabler. Not a bad draft class. There was nothing bad about Shell's career with the Raiders. Well, playing career at least. Shell, along with Gene Upshaw, formed one of the most dominating offensive lines in NFL history.

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Hit: Greg Townsend

The Raiders selected Townsend in the fourth round of the 1983 NFL Draft, and he was a solid anchor of the defensive line for over a decade. Townsend retired with 109.5 career sacks, which ranks 16th all-time in NFL history.

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Miss: Napoleon Harris

Harris was the second of the Raiders' two first-round picks in the 2002 NFL Draft (along with Phillip Buchanon) and initially lasted just three seasons with the team. However, he re-signed with them in 2009 but was released for not being in shape.

G. Newman Lowrance/Associated Press

Hit: Rod Martin

Martin went in the 12th round of the 1977 NFL Draft and he played 12 seasons for the Raiders. The highlight of his career was when he set a Super Bowl record with three interceptions as the Raiders defeated the Eagles in Super Bowl XV.

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Miss: Patrick Bates

Bates started in only nine games during his three years with the Raiders after being drafted 12th overall in 1993. He didn’t go on to bigger things in the NFL when he was traded to the Falcons, finishing his career with one interception.

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Hit: Lester Hayes

Hayes might have kept the workers at the Stickum factory employed, but he was also one of the game's most feared cornerbacks after the Raiders selected him in the fifth round of the 1977 NFL Draft. Hayes does have his own rule named after him, "The Lester Hayes rule," which bans the use of the sticky substance on clothing.

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