The Oakland Raiders have a rich tradition of winning. However, in the past 12 seasons they have been left out of the playoffs. Under current head coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie, the Raiders have an 8-24 record in two seasons. One of the biggest reasons for their lack of success has been a pattern of missed first round selections in the NFL Draft.
McKenzie has only made one first round pick as the Raiders general manager when he selected cornerback DJ Hayden 12th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. The jury is still out on Hayden after injuries cut his first season short. The previous two seasons, the Raiders did not select in the first round of the NFL Draft because they gave up the picks in a trade for quarterback Carson Palmer. He played a season and a half in Oakland and was traded before last season. The new regime of McKenzie and Allen should look long and hard at the pattern of bad first round selections that, in part, put the Raiders in this situation.
Of the last five Oakland Raiders first round draft picks, excluding Hayden, zero will be on the team next season. In order from 2006, the Raiders selected Michael Huff, JaMarcus Russell Darren McFadden, Darrius-Heyward-Bey and Rolando McClain. McFadden is the only one on the current roster and will likely not be brought back this offseason. That's a big reason the Raiders have found themselves in this current culture of losing. Teams must take advantage of their first round selections, especially because all of them were top ten selections.
This year, Oakland will have to change those fortunes and find an impact player with staying power in the league. Teams are built through the NFL Draft and solidified in free agency. The Raiders hold the fifth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft with the opportunity to find a franchise player. Then they have the cap room to build a complete team.
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