With the release of Jonathan Abram, the Las Vegas Raiders officially completed a stretch of historically bad drafting.
From 2019-21, the Las Vegas Raiders picked several of what they thought at the time were franchise-changing quality college football players.
They were quality players, again, for the college level. Still, in the pros, it was a different game, and now, with the release of safety Jonathan Abram, the five key players from the 2019-2021 drafts for the Raiders are either off the team or not receiving a second contract.
2019 was bad. The club selected defensive end Clelin Ferrell 4th overall, one spot ahead of linebacker Devin White. While White has been dreadful recently, he is still a very good player and made a game-sealing interception in the Super Bowl, helping out a guy named Brady.
The new two picks were courtesy of trades with the Bears and Cowboys for Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. The Raiders chose running back Josh Jacobs and Abram. Jacobs had his moments, but he’s plateaued.
2020 was beyond frightening—wide receiver Henry Ruggs III and cornerback Damon Arnette. The former is in prison. The latter? Who knows where he is now? Long story short, ouch. 2021 was not as terrifying a blow, but a massive mistake in offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood. The right idea to protect your quarterback and get him help, but the wrong player at the wrong time. Now, Leatherwood is trying to work his way with Chicago.
The Las Vegas Raiders had a horrifically bad stretch of drafts
What’s the common denominator? If you study closely, most of these guys came from Alabama. One Clemson, One Ohio State, and then Mississippi State. All came from prominent college programs and were expected to bring that level of success to the Raiders. It didn’t work out. The Raiders also drafted Trayvon Mullen out of Clemson in 2019, but he’s been shipped off to Arizona for a late pick.
There’s reason to believe that former head coach Jon Gruden and former general manager Mike Mayock had a fetish for Alabama and Clemson players during their tenures. On the bright side, that fetish was justified because there were reasons to be optimistic.
That is unlike the fetish that Rex Ryan has. Whoops, can’t say that. Might as well put a foot in the mouth for doing that.
But back to the story. The Raiders screwed the pooch many times, and even with the new regime, it’s not looking good. The silver of the silver and black is dulling with each wrong decision, and at this point, it might take a miracle to clean up this mess.