Four years ago today, Mr. Davis passed away on Oct. 8, 2011 changing the Raiders organization forever. Mr. Davis WAS the Raiders.
His son, Mark Davis, chose to hire a general manager (Reggie McKenzie) instead of running the team like his father did. Since then, McKenzie and the Raiders have continued to change their roster, leaving just a few Al Davis picks on the current roster.
Al took cornerback Charles Woodson in the 1998 NFL Draft out of the University of Michigan, where he played cornerback for the Raiders. Woodson was selected fourth-overall by Davis and has lived up to the hype. He has continued his stellar play with the Raiders in a second tenure, this time at free safety. Even at the age of 39, Woodson wears the Silver & Black with pride and will enter the Hall of Fame soon after his retirement to join his former owner.
Mr. Davis was known for taking his players when he wanted to, with no concern of what other general managers may think of him. He knew who he wanted, and he'd get him. This was the case when Davis drafted kicker Sebastian Janikowski 17th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. Many questioned the pick, but Janikowski remains with the team 16 seasons later and is now the organization's leading scorer.
Seven years later, Mr. Davis signed Marcel Reece. Reece played wide receiver at the University of Washington before Davis decided to transition him into being the fullback for the Raiders. Reece has turned into one of the most versatile weapons in the NFL since, recording 809 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns to go along with 182 receptions for 1,859 yards and five touchdowns. Reece's numbers have earned him three straight Pro Bowls,
"It's another step to my goal -- being a Raider for life. I plan on playing for as long as God will allow me to. If it's for a lot longer, I want it all to be with the Raiders," Reece said after signing his newest three-year contract. "Al Davis believed in me more than I did myself at times, and it meant a lot to me. I take it to heart and I take it seriously. Mark Davis has loved me the same."
And then there's Mr. Davis' final draft pick that remains on the team, Taiwan Jones. Jones was drafted in the fourth round (125th overall) as a speedy running back out of Eastern Washington. Jones struggled his rookie year and eventually moved to cornerback by former Raiders head coach Dennis Allen last season. Jones has since been converted back to running back and is playing a role in the offense for new head coach Jack Del Rio. For his career, Jones has accumulated 147 rushing yards and 110 receiving yards.
While there are just three current Raiders selected by Davis, there are 20 other former Raiders that join him in the Hall of Fame. There's no question that Al was the Raiders, and his legacy will forever live on in the Silver & Black.