Oakland Raiders: Potential Is the Name of the Game


When Al Davis makes a draft pick, he usually looks at this one quality: potential.

Al Davis' problems have stemmed from not finding a consistent quarterback, making horrible free agent signings, and changing coaches with too much frequency.

Davis is often insulted for his "poor drafting."

I don't get it.

With exception to 2007's pick of JaMarcus Russell, Al Davis has been spot on with his first round selections. What people tend to neglect is that it takes years to evaluate a draft class. Al Davis tends not to draft NFL ready players with his first rounders.

The Raiders longtime owner can do this because he is patient. Davis is the owner and GM, so he can wait awhile on a draft pick, and not fear for his job.

But when Al Davis gives up on a draft pick, you know that the player just can't get it done at the NFL level.

Slowly but surely, the Raiders first round draft picks have been quietly developing into very good players since 2003.

Nnamdi Asomugha was seen as a major reach when he was taken out of Cal in 2003. He struggled with his transition to cornerback for the better part of three seasons, before transforming into one of the best in the business in 2006.


He caught eight interceptions that year, and opposing quarterbacks don't even bother to throw in the vicinity of Asomugha anymore.

Robert Gallery was taken by the Raiders in 2004 with the second overall pick. Like Asomugha, Gallery also struggled at his drafted position. When the Raiders moved Gallery to left guard permanently in 2007, he thrived.

Gallery now is considered one of the league's top guards.

Fabian Washington, one of the leagues fastest players, failed to live up to expectations as the 23rd overall pick in 2005.

It was curious when the Raiders traded him after the 2007 season. We l...

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