Some people might bemoan the fact that the Oakland Raiders do not have a first round pick for this year's draft, which takes place Saturday and Sunday. The Raiders traded the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, a status they earned based on their 5-11 record in 2004, and linebacker Napoleon Harris to the Minnesota Vikings for wide receiver Randy Moss. Now, the Raiders will not have their first pick until the second round (38th overall), unless they trade their way back to the first round.
We've talked ad nauseam about Moss' combination of ability and baggage. Let's say for a moment that Oakland kept the No. 7 pick, therefore not trading for Moss. Would that individual the Raiders select, whether it was Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson or Oklahoma defensive end Dan Cody, be able to come in and make an immediate impact? Granted, Oakland's defense needs all kinds of help and nothing against the talent of Johnson and Cody but, chances are, none would make the instant impact Moss will make.
The Raiders bringing in players with baggage is nothing new. Look no further than last year when Oakland signed defensive tackle Warren Sapp. That move did not work out and Sapp continued his three-year decline. Moss, however, can still be an impact player.
Anyhow, back to the draft. Everyone has their own idea of "boom" or "bust." The bust part, however, should be more applicable to a first or second round draft pick because the team is counting on that player to be a starter and has a good amount of money invested in them. From rounds three and beyond, teams are mostly looking for depth. If those players turn out to be contributors, great. If not, it's not the end of the world. One also has to take into account that some players take longer to develop.
Here's a closer look at the last five Raider drafts:
Sebastian Janikowski, Florida State, kicker, first round: Many people snickered at the idea of taking a kicker in the first round but with the exception of a rough start to his rookie season Janikowski has lived up to expectations.
Jerry Porter, West Virginia, wide receiver, second round: Spent four years as an understudy to two future Hall-of-Famers, Jerry Rice and Tim Brown, before enjoying a breakout season in 2004. The Raiders gave him a new deal. Can he and Moss blossom as most expect?
Junior Ioane, Arizona State, defensive tackle, fourth round: The team spent a lot of time trying to develop him – but it never happened.
Shane Lechler, Texas A&M, punter, fifth round: Punters are rarely considered a "steal" but Lechler warrants being an exception to that rule. Has set Raider franchise records and could potentially be labeled as the best ever at his position before his career ends.
Mondriel Fulcher, Miami (Fla.) tight end, seventh round: Came with a reputation for being a solid blocker but couldn't stay healthy.
Clifton Black, South West Texas State, safety, seventh round: Didn't hook on with another team after the Raiders cut him at the close of training camp.
Derrick Gibson, Florida State, safety, first round: Despite missing all of 2004 with a shoulder injury, Oakland is still convinced that Gibson can be a starter even though he's done nothing to show it.
Marques Tuiasosopo, Washington, quarterback, second round: We still don't know any more about him now than we did then. Has been nothing more than a clipboard holder except for a few appearances.
DeLawrence Grant, Oregon State, defensive end, third round: Played decently as a starter on the Raiders 2002 AFC Championship team but has since not been a factor as either a defensive end or linebacker. Oakland evidently sees something in him. The Raiders resigned him shortly after releasing him.
Raymond Perryman, Northern Arizona, safety, fifth round: Out of the NFL.
Chris Cooper, Nebraska-Omaha, defensive tackle, sixth round: Decent and versatile backup but the "Baby Howie" nickname given by teammates was a little premature. Now playing across the bay.
Derek Combs, Ohio State, running back, seventh round: Tried his hand as both a running back and cornerback with little success.
Ken-yon Rambo, Ohio State, wide receiver, seventh round: Two nondescript years with Dallas after the Raiders cut him.
Phillip Buchanon, Miami (Fla.), cornerback, first round: His nickname is "Showtime" but he his NFL career has not been a box office hit. Electrifying when intercepting passes or returning punts but gives up more big plays than he makes.
Napoleon Harris, Northwestern, linebacker, first round: Regressed after a solid rookie season which might have been more a reflection of the strong veteran presence around him. Now a Viking as a result of the Randy Moss trade.
Langston Walker, California, offensive tackle, second round: Could be a capable starter if he had the opportunity, which he has had only sporadically.
Doug Jolley, BYU, tight end, second round: Perhaps a tight end trapped in a receiver's body. Has plateaued since enjoying a solid rookie season.
Kenyon Coleman, UCLA, defensive end, fifth round: One season in Oakland and now a backup in Dallas.
Keyon Nash, Albany State, safety, sixth round: A few cups of coffee at training camp and practice squad.
Larry Ned, San Diego State, running back, sixth round: Two different teams since Oakland cut him.
Ronald Curry, North Carolina, quarterback, seventh round: Made a very good transition to wide receiver. Enjoyed an outstanding 2004 season before an Achilles injury ended his season.
Nnamdi Asomugha, California, cornerback, first round: Has shown some promise in his two seasons and should play more this season.
Tyler Brayton, Colorado, defensive end, first round: Decent as an end but lost as a linebacker. Faces a key year in 2005.
Teyo Johnson, Stanford, tight end, second round: Showed a better work ethic in the second half of 2004 and could have a vital role this season.
Sam Williams, Fresno State, linebacker, third round: Has shown promise when healthy but injuries have slowed his progress.
Justin Fargas, Southern California, running back, third round: Speed is his best attribute but too brittle to be an every down player.
Shurron Pierson, South Florida, linebacker, fourth round: Just a half-dozen games played in two seasons – one in Oakland and the other in Chicago.
Doug Gabriel, Central Florida, wide receiver, fifth round: Could be a decent backup and capable kickoff returner but not disciplined enough to be a starter.
Dustin Rykert, BYU, guard, sixth round: Didn't hook on with another team after the Raiders cut him in training camp.
Siddeeq Shabazz, NewMexico State, safety, seventh round: 11 games, two teams.
Ryan Hoag, Gustavus Adolphus, wide receiver, seventh round: Elevated from Minnesota practice squad last October.
Robert Gallery, Iowa, offensive tackle, first round: Still needs to hone his skills but looks like will be a fixture over the next decade or so.
Jake Grove, Virginia Tech, center, second round: Showed why he has a solid future by starting the second half of the season at guard but look for him to be a center at some point.
Stuart Schweigert, Purdue, safety, third round: Needs to sharpen his skills but looks like a good third round find so far.
Carlos Francis, Texas Tech, wide receiver, fourth round: Tremendous speed but a season-ending knee injury limited his chances to show it.
Johnnie Morant, Syracuse, wide receiver, fifth round: Has the potential but it's a matter of him realizing it.
Shawn Johnson, Delaware, defensive end, sixth round: Hooked on with Tennessee after the Raiders cut him.
Cody Spencer, North Texas, linebacker, sixth round: Also hooked on with Tennessee after Oakland cut him.
Courtney Anderson, San Jose State, tight end, seventh round: Looks like a steal but injury cut his season short.
Andre Sommersell, Colorado State, linebacker, seventh round: Eventually caught on with Indianapolis.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com