With the exception of Derek Carr, Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie struggles mightily in the second round of the draft. As a result, Oakland fails to turn what should resemble a likely starter into a long-term solution. With that said, here are McKenzie’s notable flops.
When scouts graded Watson, they saw an older project-type player (25) with upside. Yet, no one thought the Raiders would select him that high. When Oakland chose Watson, they expected a dominant tackle with room to learn. However, the received an injury-prone lunger that tallied almost as many penalties (10) as starts (17)
Short provides the Carolina Panthers with the cat-quick 3-tech that good teams desire. Ironically, the Raiders are still looking for a disruptive defensive tackle. Meanwhile, all Bell does is play at an elite level, defeating defenses with a versatile skill set. Arguably, the best back in the NFL
Although Edwards shows violent hands and burst, his injures mount and reliability wane. If the Raiders cannot start him due to health issues, that entire explosion goes to waste. Granted, none of these issues are Edwards’ fault. In contrast, an honest assessment merits that his injuries set the Raiders back. To this very day, Oakland still looks for another pass rusher.
Missed Pick: Preston Smith (38th overall0
In Washington, Smith realized his potential with two eight-sack seasons in three years. In addition, the former Mississippi State standout picked off three pass and forced four fumbles. More importantly, Smith evolved for a situational rusher to every-down starter. 48 games played with 34 starts.
Jihad Ward (44th overall, 2016)
If focused solely on his on-field production, Ward’s status as a second-round pick looks dubious. In two seasons, he tallied one sack. At times, Ward did not get the best jump off the snap and would appear lost. Like Watson before, McKenzie saw malleable upside. So far, the Raiders still wait for that potential to show through.
Missed Pick: Deion Jones (52nd overall)
While they play two different positions, Jones immediately provided the Falcons with a defensive upgrade. Again, Jones occupies a spot that remains a bane of Reggie McKenzie’s existence. How many middle linebacker did the Raiders funnel through? By all accounts, they will draft another one next month. Jones racked up consecutive 100-tackle, three interception seasons in Atlanta.
For the most part, the Raiders under Reggie McKenzie addressed glaring need via the draft. Nevertheless, the failure to hit on a second round pick outside of Carr is a glaring issue. With another chance in less than a month, the Raiders need to succeed in.