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Top 5 Oakland Raiders First Round Draft Busts

With the NFL Draft a few weeks aways, lets put aside all the horrible news with the labor talks and stroll down memory lane and take a look at the top 5 worst draft day picks that the Oakland Raiders have ever made.. Yes, we all know who is at #1,  but who are some of the other players drafted by The Raiders that amounted to a wasted pick?  Lets see…

#5 –  With the 23rd overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, out of the University of Washington, Offensive Tackle Curt Marsh..  In 1981, Marsh was one of the best OTs in the country. 

The Raiders made Marsh their first draft pick and as a rookie, he lived up to his billing.  Starting at left guard for most of the season, Marsh opened up cavernous holes for Marcus Allen and earned a spot on the 1981 All-Rookie team. “He had the whole package,” says former Raider linebacker Matt Millen. “If he had stayed healthy, he would have been All-Pro over and over and over.”

But Marsh did not stay healthy. In fact, after his rookie season, injuries plagued him for much of the next six years, eventually forcing him out of the game in 1987. By the time Marsh finally called it quits, he had endured 12 operations, including four on his right ankle and right foot. He had also broken his right arm, his left hand and a finger, and he had torn a ligament in his left knee.  In Sept of 1994,  Marsh underwent amputation of his right foot and lower leg from 8 inches below his knee.

#4 –  With the 24th overall pick in the 1991 draft, the Raiders picked USC QB Todd Marinovich..

Groomed from birth to be a “perfect athlete,”  Marinovich never lived up to such high expectations.  He had an up and down college career, in  1989 becoming the first freshman to start at QB for USC since WWII,  taking the Trojans 9-2-1 and defeated Michigan in the 1990 Rose Bowl.  That year he was named UPI and The Sporting News College Freshman of the Year for 1989.

In 1991, Oakland selected Marinovich with the 24th overall pick.  That year he only played in the final 2 games of the season.  In the 92 season, after the Raiders went 0-2 with Jay Schroeder at QB, Marionvich was named starter.  He threw for 395 yards in a loss in his first start that season and lost the following week as the Raiders started 0-4. He then won three of his next four games before losing to the Cowboys.  His best game during that span was against Buffalo on October 11, 1992, where he completed 11 of 21 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-3 win.  The following week Marinovich started against the Eagles, seeing three of his first 10 passes intercepted. Schroeder regained the starting job and Marinovich never played again in the NFL.

His post-NFL career reads more like the arrest record for Lindsey Lohan than it does someone who was “bred to be the perfect athlete.”  Marinovich has had a number of arrests, many of which have been related to his ongoing drug problems, including nine arrests in Orange County, California alone..

#3 – With the 24th overall pick in the 1986 draft, Oakland selected DE Bob Buczkowskiout of the University of Pittsburgh.  His NFL career was brief as he only played 3 games in 2 years with Oakland and was more known for his cheap after-play shots at other players than actually tackling them.  Buczkowski was cut by the Raiders before the start of the 1988 season.  He went on to play for a number of other teams in the NFL, but never lived up to first round status. 

His post-NFL career is a bust as well as in Sept 2005, he was arrested along with his girlfriend for helping run a million-dollar prostitution ring out of his parents basement…

#2 – In the first round of the 1968 NFL Draft, Oakland selected Eldridge Dickey, QB, out of Tennessee State University with the 25th overall pick.  At the time, Dickey was the first African-American QB to be selected in the first round.  Despite reports that Dickey outperformed Kenny Stabler, (whom Oakland drafted in the second round) at training camp, Dickey was moved to wide receiver for the start of the season.  Dickey accepted the position hoping for an opportunity to play his preferred position.

It is believed that this change affected Dickey’s performance on the field.  Dickey made just one catch for 34 yards and 6 punt returns for 48 yards in 11 games in the 1968 season.  He didn’t play in another game until 1971 where he made 4 catches for 78 yards with 1 touchdown and was cut from the Raiders just 7  games into the season after dropping a pass against Kansas City that could have been a touchdown.  He would never play in the NFL again..

In Dickey’s post-NFL career, he became a minister before dying on May 22, 2000 of a stroke..

Finally the #1 Oakland Raider First Round Draft Bust.. In 2007, the Oakland Raiders drafted with the first pick of the draft, out of Louisiana State University, QB JaMarcus Russell.  Touted by many due to his arm strength and size, Russell was drafted as the Raider’s future QB.  Things turned ugly quickly between Oakland and Russell.. After failing to reach a contract agreement with the Raiders, Russell held out through training camp and into the first week of the 07 season,  until September 12, when he signed a six-year contract worth up to $68 million, with $31.5 million guaranteed.

His play with the Raiders his rookie season was not what the Raiders expected from their#1 pick.  Russell finished  with 36 completed passes on 66 attempts, 373 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.  At the end of the 07 season, Oakland Coach Lane Kiffin named Russell the started for the 2008 season.  His play was erratic at best, finishing that season playing 15 games, completing 198 of 368 passes for 2423 yards.  Russell threw for 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.  He was sacked 31 times and lost 7 of 12 fumbles.. Still, at the end of the 08 season, Russell was again named starter for the 09 season..

Following a loss to the Chiefs on November 15, Russell was benched indefinitely by coach Tom Cable due to mediocre play in favor of Bruce Gradkowski.  Gradkowski led two fourth quarter comebacks and upset the Bengals and Steelers in the following two weeks, throwing 5 touchdown passes . After Gradkoswki was injured against the Redskins, Russell finished the game for the Raiders, which resulted in a loss. After the game, coach Cable decided to start backup Charlie Frye rather than Russell, which moved Russell down to #3 on the depth chart. When Frye was injured against the Broncos, Russell played near the end of the game. The game resulted in a win, however, this was Russell’s final game as a Raider.  For his millions of dollars, Russell finished his career withOakland as 7-18 as a starter in his 3 seasons with 18 TD’s, 23 INT’s for 4083 yards..

Russell was officially labeled a “bust” as Oakland released him on May 6, 2010.. Although he did try out with the Saints, the Dolphins, and the Redskins, he never re-signed with an NFL team, and his career as an NFL quarterback is more than likely finished. 

His post NFL career is highlighted by his arrest on July 5, 2010, at his Mobile, Alabama home for being in possession of codeine syrup without a valid prescription.   His arrest was the culmination of a two-month investigation that did not initially target Russell, but his name and address surfaced repeatedly during the investigation. 

So there you have it.. 5 players.. High hopes.. Millions of dollars spent with little or no return.  We would like to believe that Al Davis and the Raiders have learned from these past mistakes and continue to re-build the team into a solid, play-off bound team in the seasons to come..

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5 Responses to “Top 5 Oakland Raiders First Round Draft Busts”

  1. Punanisher says:

    To call Curt Marsh a bust is almost offensive. He was an excellent player that was injured. Hell, injured to the point of losing part of his leg. I mean, a bust is someone that doesn’t pan out because they were over hyped, lazy, or just plain sucked on the pro level. Marsh was a monster that got hurt.

    • Michael Loede says:

      Tagged as a bust because if you would read further into him (Marsh) you will learn that his injuries are the direct result of him admittingly using steroids for many many years.. Had he better conditioned his body instead of relying on steroids, I would not consider him a bust.. Fact is, he IS a bust because he never played to expectations of a first round pick other than 1 season.. Quite possible that he never would have suffered so many injuries had he refrained from using steroids…

  2. RAIDER CHRIS says:

    I already knew Jamarcus Russell was going to be a bust from the beginning, I wasn’t really impressed with him in college, his release was too slow for the speed of the RAIDERS offense, and his touch was horrible. And I’m a die hard RAIDER fan, but i knew that this team was going to be set up for failure if we drafted him, and it set us back for 3 seasons. I was screaming through the T.V. saying aloud “Man get Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, or Brady Quinn” and when it didn’t happen I was so pissed. Everybody kept trying to tell me that this guy was a great pick, but I knew what i seen was right. Those same people who gave my squad all this praise for drafting this guy call him the biggest bust in NFL history now. In my opinion the RAIDERS should’ve drafted LARRY FITZGERALD instead of ROBERT GALLERY as well. Now we are still looking for that young stud of a wide reciever now, although we have some potentially great ones in FORD,MURPHY, and SCHILENS, Schilens is gonna have to prove he can stay healthy or he is gonna be another sad story to talk about in the RAIDERS book of history. (GREAT TALENT but has to stay healthy. GO RAIDERS

  3. Washie says:

    What no Ricky Dudley at TE ?

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