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Oakland Raiders: Best and worst draft picks


In the days leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft, will allow users to determine the best and worst draft picks for every team. The series continues with the team that owns the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft, the Oakland Raiders.

Best picks


Jim Otto -- 1960 AFL Draft
A member of the Raiders inaugural draft class, Otto played his entire 15-year career with the Silver and Black. However, for 66 days he was a member of Minneapolis' AFL squad. Shortly after the draft, Minnesota was offered a franchise in the NFL and withdrew from the AFL, with their picks ultimately being handed off to Oakland. Otto went on to be the only all-league center the American Football League ever had, earning the distinction every year from 1960-1969, and was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
» Photos: Otto through the years


Fred Biletnikoff -- 1965 AFL Draft (No. 11)
Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988, Biletnikoff retired ranked fourth in NFL history with 589 receptions. The MVP of Super Bowl XI was also drafted by the Detroit Lions in the third round of the NFL draft, but opted for the warm California weather and pass-happy AFL instead of life in the Motor City. The choice seemingly paid off -- the Raiders won more games than anyone else during Biletnikoff's 14 seasons in Oakland, while the Lions managed only four winning seasons and one playoff berth from 1965-1978.
» Photos: Biletnikoff through the years


Art Shell -- 1968 (No. 80)
The 14th tackle taken in the 1968 draft and the only Pro Football Hall of Famer to play collegiate ball at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Shell was an anchor at left tackle for the Raiders throughout the 1970s, earning trips to the Pro Bowl every season from 1972-1978. The Raiders suffered only one losing season during Shell's 15-year tenure, twice hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XI and XV.
» 1968 NFL Draft | Photos: Shell through the years


Gene Upshaw -- 1967 (No. 17)
Shell's dominance might not have been possible if not for the Raiders' first selection in the draft the year prior, and vice versa. The 1987 Hall of Fame inductee became the first person enshrined in Canton to play guard exclusively, missing only one game in his 15-year career -- playing in 207 consecutive regular-season games before missing a game in 1981, his last season in the NFL.
» » 1967 NFL DraftPhotos: Upshaw through the years


Bo Jackson -- 1987 (No. 183)
Most teams are excited if their seventh-round draft pick makes the team. To draft a player with the skill and ability of Jackson in the seventh round -- after 24 other running backs had already come off the board -- is beyond ridiculous. Other teams were skeptical of Jackson, who had spurned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the year prior and opted instead to play professional baseball fulltime. Although he never had a 1,000-yard season and played in only 38 games during his NFL career, Jackson was one of the greatest athletes of all time, the likes of which will probably never be seen again.
» 1987 NFL Draft | Photos: Jackson through the years

Follow Drew Christensen on Twitter @christensendrew.

Worst picks


JaMarcus Russell -- 2007 (No. 1)
He was widely regarded as the next big superstar in the NFL. Before his rookie season holdout, weight trouble, bad work ethic, and his dalliance with codeine syrup, people forget that in 2007 he was coming off the performance of a lifetime against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. He was set to be the Shaquille O'Neal of the NFL. Even the critics were splitting hairs. But we all know how his career turned out. And his presence is still hanging over the team: Terrelle Pryor, vying to be the Raiders' starting QB this season, had worn No. 2 (Russell's jersey number in Oakland) his entire collegiate career. When he got to practice, he was wearing No. 6, saying he wasn't allowed to wear his Buckeyes number when he reached the Raiders.
» 2007 NFL DraftPhotos: Russell through the years


Marc Wilson -- 1980 (No. 15)
With Wilson on the roster, the Raiders managed to win two Super Bowls with Jim Plunkett at quarterback. Here's how nuts the Raiders were back then. Wilson sat behind Plunkett his rookie season as the Raiders won the Super Bowl. He took over for Plunkett in 1981, but then was Plunkett's backup again in 1982. He backed him up again in 1983, but took over the starting job midway through the season, only to get injured and have Plunkett take the position back and again lead the Raiders to another Super Bowl victory. Wilson flip-flopped with Plunkett again in 1984, but in 1985 he led the Raiders to the AFC West title. Finally! Well, not really. He eventually was replaced by Plunkett again in 1986. He spent one more year in Oakland before being let go. I guess the Silver and Black linings playbook would say that it's pretty impressive to win two Super Bowls despite a first-round draft pick not contributing, but then again the flip side is the Raiders HAD a quarterback who won two Super Bowls in Plunkett.
» 1980 NFL Draft


Todd Marinovich -- 1991 (No. 24)
Yes, when Marinovich's name is only third on a list of team busts, you know how impressive this list actually is. His story is well-documented: the born-to-be-a-QB, bred by his father, not allowed to eat Big Macs among many other things. But let's fast forward to his sophomore (and final) season in college at USC. He got suspended for a game by head coach Larry Smith, later Marinovich was seen yelling at Smith on the sideline on TV during the Sun Bowl. That was followed by a cocaine bust. After this, he jumped to the NFL draft. His play in the NFL was erratic, and he started eight games in two years before being benched midway through 1992. He never threw a pass in the NFL again. Substance abuse issues have dogged him throughout his life, but what I really wonder about him was this: Had he been a late-round selection, and had to fight to earn a big contract and playing time was not handed to him, could he have straightened out his life and maybe things would have turned out differently?
» 1991 NFL DraftPhotos: Marinovich's art work


Robert Gallery -- 2004 (No. 2)
It's not that Gallery had an awful career, he was a journeyman who played three different positions on the Raiders offensive line in his first four seasons. The Raiders didn't go out on a limb to draft Gallery, as he was in everyone's top five. It's just when you're drafting that high you can't swing and miss.
» 2004 NFL Draft


Bob Buczkowski -- 1986 (No. 24)
The one thing you expect out of a first round pick is that he's going to start for you. Sure, he might not pan out, but at least he'll be one of the guys whose names you'll see and hear when the announcers go over the starting lineups before the first two plays from scrimmage elapse. Well, he did start. Twice. In two seasons. Yes, a back injury played a huge part of what kept him off the field, but he was a shocking selection by the Raiders in that spot to begin with. And then to have him encounter back trouble during his first practice with the team when he had never had any back issues before? It proves the old theorem: Questionable scouting + bad luck = nothing good/Raiders draft pick.
» 1986 NFL Draft

Follow Jason Smith on Twitter @howaboutafresca.

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