Originally published on SBReport.net on April 26, 2012
Barring any trades, the Oakland Raiders first draft pick will occur on Friday night when they select 95th overall, the 32nd pick of the third round.
While their first pick is late into the draft, history has shown the potential to find major contributors with the 95th overall draft selection.
The New Orleans Saints drafted tight end Jimmy Graham with the 95th pick in the 2010 draft. Graham had a breakout year last season, hauling in 99 catches for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl.
Former Giants wide receiver and Super Bowl XVI hero Mario Manningham was also drafted in the same slot in 2008. Manningham, who now plays across the Bay for the San Francisco 49er’s, has since racked up 160 receptions for 2,315 yards and 18 touchdowns in his four-year, 49-game NFL tenure.
Other notable 95th overall selections include offensive tackle Jonas Jennings by the Buffalo Bills and running back Michael Pittman.
Jennings played for eight years, starting all 75 games he appeared in for both the Bills and the San Francisco 49er’s.
Pittman enjoyed an 11-year career in the NFL, including a six-year tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he won the Super Bowl against the Raiders in 2002. Pittman racked up 1,392 carries for 5,627 yards and 25 touchdowns during his NFL career.
Should general manager Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders keep the 95th overall pick, there should still be plenty of talent that could improve the young Raiders roster.
The Raiders have also proven that they can find solid football players in the fourth round. Like this year, the Raiders have had two fourth-round picks for the past five years. Of those ten fourth-round selections, five of them are still on the roster.
Safety Tyvon Branch has now recorded three straight 100+ tackle seasonsMost notably on the Raiders list of fourth-round draft picks in safety Tyvon Branch (100th overall) of the 2008 draft. Branch has emerged as a young star at the safety position, recording over 100 tackles his last three years in his short, four year NFL career.
Wide receivers Louis Murphy (124th overall of 2009 draft) and Jacoby Ford (108th overall of 2010 draft) are also notable current Raiders drafted in the fourth round.
Murphy had a solid first two years in the NFL with the Raiders before seeing a drop off last season due to limited playing time. Murphy totaled 75 receptions for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns his first two years, but only hauled in 15 receptions last year for 241 yards.
Ford has proven to be an explosive playmaker when healthy, totalling 625 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns on just 35 touches his first season. Ford suffered numerous injuries last season that limited his availability as Ford finished with 19 receptions for 279 yards and one touchdown in just 8 games played. Ford has also proven to be a threat in the kick-return game, recording four kickoff returns for touchdowns in his first 16 games played in
Ford has proven to be an explosive player when healthythe NFL.
Most recently, the Raiders selected running back Taiwan Jones (125th overall) and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (113th overall). Both saw relatively little playing time, as their stats can be read in this piece.
With little draft picks, McKenzie and the Raiders front office will have to make sure they capitalize on selecting the best player available.