Three months before Al Davis died; he bestowed one of his final gifts on the NFL. Granted, Davis’ last few drafts did little to help the Raiders emerge from the abyss of losing. 2011 lines up as a decent effort. Not for the Raiders in particular, but for the longevity of the players. With apologies to Van Dyke, Moore, Gordon, Ausberry, and Chekwa, this focuses on the other four.
Stefan Wisniewski (48th overall): While bloodline could’ve played a role in the Raiders drafting him, technical ability and dedication keeps him a starter. Of his 93 total games in the NFL, Wisniewski started 83 for the Raiders, Jaguars, and now Eagles. For what he lacks in measureables, he compensates in heart and versatility. Teams look for the ability to play multiple offensive line spots. On March 10, the Eagles re-signed him to a three-year, 8 million dollar deal.
Joseph Barksdale (92nd overall): Barksdale is the epitome of a late bloomer. By the same token, he put all of his skills together and thrives on the right side. When the Raiders released him on September 26, 2012, his career truly began. To put it another way, Barksdale needed a situation where no pressure existed. Playing under the dim light of St.Louis allowed him to focus. Not to mention, his unemployment lasted one day. Moving on from St.Louis, Barksdale settled with the Chargers. Like Wisniewski, Wisniewski, Barksdale cashed in, inking a four-year/ 22 million dollar contract.
Taiwan Jones (125th overall): If there were a mold to craft a typical Al Davis draft pick, Jones would serves as a prototype. Selected out of Eastern Washington, many only knew Jones from his outstanding combine numbers. He’s never lived up to his lofty physical traits n the field, switching from running back to corner and back. Instead, Jones prospers as a special teams gunner in Oakland. Although, the position lacks prestige, gunners cover kicks and prevent great returns. Plus, earning a million dollars per year helps soothe any ego.
Terrelle Pryor (Supplemental): The former Ohio State quarterback drew attention when the Raiders picked him in the supplemental draft. RaiderNation’s infatuation with his skills as a passer grew with the failure of other starting quarterbacks. Meanwhile, calls for a position change went unanswered and ignored. Pryor is phenomenally gifted as a runner. Upon leaving Oakland, Pryor bounced around before heading to Cleveland. After establishing himself as a lead receiver, Pryor left for Washington in 2017. At 27 years of age, Pryor enters his prime with uncanny speed and size for a wideout. Be that as it may, RaiderNation remembers him for one particular play.
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All things considered, Al Davis’ last draft unearthed talent that makes millions of dollars today. Despite three of them profiting elsewhere, these selections show that Davis maintained an eye for talent.