2010 NFL Draft: Oakland Raiders Late Round Picks Reason for Optimism

As draft time approaches, it is natural to look back at your team's recent draft picks.  For Oakland Raiders fans, looking back at the draft may not be an easy thing. The Raiders will own a top 10 pick for the fifth year in a row.

Their last four first round picks have yet to make the impact that is expected of a 10 pick. Michael Huff, JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darrius Heyward-Bey all have yet to validate their top 10 selection.

Luckily for Raiders fans, the draft goes beyond the first round, and they have plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

Emerging young stars like Zach Miller, Michael Bush, Tyvon Branch, Louis Murphy, Trevor Scott, Matt Shaughnessy, and Chaz Schilens give Raiders fans plenty of reason for optimism.

Branch, Scott, and Shaughnessy have made impacts on the defensive side of the ball, and are quickly becoming fan favorites.

Branch was drafted in 2008 out of Connecticut in the fourth round. In just his second year, he earned the starting spot at safety and recorded 124 tackles, which was good for second on the team.

Scott was also drafted in 2008. He was a sixth round pick out of Buffalo and nobody has recorded more sacks on the team since he was drafted.

Shaughnessy was a third round pick out of Wisconsin in 2009 and is also a young sack machine. He recorded four sacks in his rookie year, and perhaps his contribution to the team late in the season made the decision to cut veteran Greg Ellis an easy one.

The talent isn't only on the defensive side of the ball. The offense has some picks outside the first round that are making their impact felt.

Miller is no secret anymore. He was a second round pick from Arizona State and he has led the team in receiving for the last two years. With a little more help from the receivers, he can become an even more dangerous weapon.
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Oakland Raiders