Four-Year Draft Review: Reggie McKenzie Edition

It’s only April, but the Raiders are already a trendy pick to make the playoffs next season. There has been hype at times, but Oakland hasn’t had a team this talented in over a decade.

Mr. Danny Kelly – the boss over at Field Gulls – laid out what it’s taken to get to this point for McKenzie and the Raiders. I’d highly recommend this piece via SBNation:

I’m in agreement with Danny: Reggie’s brought this team so far, but could use another strong draft effort to push it over the top.

While adding in free agency gives fans something to talk about (and a quick win), McKenzie values each pick, and believes in truly building a competitive team through the draft.

With that in mind, I figured it’d be fun to take a look at each selection made during the “McKenzie Era” and handout a report card of sorts.


03.95 – Tony Bergstrom (OT) — The first pick of Reggie McKenzie’s tenure was, well, underwhelming.

04.129 – Miles Burris (ILB) — A fan favorite early on, he drew Clay Matthews comparisons, which was as weird back then as it is now.

05.158 – Jack Crawford (EDGE) — Waived. Currently a Cowboy.

05.168 – Juron Criner (WR) — A Twitter personality more than a football player, from what I can remember. Not currently on an NFL roster.

06.189 – Christo Bilukidi (DL) — Landed in Washington, his fourth NFL team, where he signed a future’s contract back in January.

07.230 – Nathan Stupar (OLB) — A special teams player, Stupar is now playing for the Saints, his sixth NFL team.

A rough start, which is being polite. Looking back on this haul – obviously missing early round selections – you could understand the frustration of some fans. Nowadays, really makes you appreciate the hole McKenzie had to dig out of.


01.12 – D.J. Hayden (CB) — The much debated D.J. Hayden, who certainly hasn’t lived up to 12th overall pick; plagued with injuries.

02.42 – Menelik Watson (RT) —  Speaking of injuries, meet Menelik Watson. What felt like a bit of a reach on draft day, Watson will now resume his battle for the starting RT spot.

03.66 – Sio Moore (OLB) — Another fan favorite, Sio was viewed as a “core contributor” by many. Didn’t quite click with Del Rio, and was traded for a 6th round pick. Now in Indianapolis.

04.112 – Tyler Wilson (QB) — Cut at the end of preseason, which says it all. He’s never thrown an NFL pass and is currently not on an NFL roster.

06.172 – Nick Kasa (TE) — Nick Kasa has a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Denver Broncos. Life’s crazy.

06.181 – Latavius Murray (RB) — Value in the sixth round. I’ve summed my thoughts up here.

06.184 – Mychal Rivera (TE) — Reportedly being dangled for some sort of late-round compensation.

06.205 – Stacy McGee (DT) — Depth, I guess.

07.209 – Brice Butler (WR) — The former Southern California (and San Diego State) product was shipped to Dallas for a conditional 5th rounder.

07.233 – David Bass (EDGE) — Been waived twice. Now playing for the Titans.

Not much to say about the Hayden selection that hasn’t already been said. I understand what McKenzie was trying to do here, but at the end of the day, a reach is a reach and it only complicates things when said player can’t stay on the field. With Sheldon Richardson and Desmond Trufant still on the board (and obviously other notable names like DeAndre Hopkins), Reggie would love to take a mulligan.


01.05 – Khalil Mack (OLB) — Enough said.

02.36 – Derek Carr (QB) — The franchise (I hope).

03.81 – Gabe Jackson (OG) — An absolute steal in the third round, Jackson could push for All-Pro. One of the best guards in the league.

04.107 – Justin Ellis (DT) — Jelly’s been consistent in the middle; strong rotational player.

04.116 – Keith McGill (CB) — Has the size at 6’3″, but missing the hips, along with other question marks. Still a work in progress? Fourth round felt high.

07.219 – Travis Carrie (CB) — A decent find in the seventh round, Carrie’s played well in an otherwise suspicious secondary. Relied on too heavily at times, he’ll get some much needed support this season.

07.235 – Shelby Harris (EDGE) — He’s still on the roster, right?

07.247 – Jonathan Dowling (FS) — Released for “maturity” reasons, he now finds himself on the Bills practice squad.

Coming off of a questionable 2013, McKenzie hit it out of the park here. Not sure owner Mark Davis would’ve actually pulled the plug, but if there was any uncertainty, Reggie killed all of that. The 2012 Seahawks’ set the standard (and immediately come to mind) when talking impressive drafts, and this group is in that same discussion. Franchise-changing classes.


01.04 – Amari Cooper (WR) — Hit the “rookie wall” late in the season, largely due to a nagging foot injury. Expecting some serious magic during his sophomore campaign – Coop’s the real deal.

02.35 – Mario Edwards Jr. (DL) — This pick was ridiculed by many (myself included), but Edwards really made an impact before his season was cut short due to a neck injury. Thought to be career-threatening at one point, there’s now a sense of optimism.

03.68 – Clive Walford (TE) — Flashed a bit during his rookie season. He can do it all, and this staff loves him.

04.102 – Jon Feliciano (OG) — Depth, at this point, behind one of the best guards in the league.

05.140 – Ben Heeney (ILB) — Heard he’s gotten his weight up, and Norton Jr. loves him some Heeney. Depending on how the draft shakes out, he could be the starting Mike (for better or worse).

05.161 – Neiron Ball (OLB) — One of the better stories you’ll read, Ball looked serviceable in limited action before being placed on season-ending IR with a knee injury.

06.179 – Max Valles (OLB) — Drafted to play on the edge, the Bills have since signed Valles’ off the Raiders’ practice squad.

07.218 – Anthony Morris (OG) — Tice might see something here?

07.221 – Andre Debose (WR) — Waived with an Achilles injury, but he’s back competing for return duties.

07.242 – Dexter McDonald (CB) — Size/speed kid.

This class is all about Amari, of course. Reggie did the right thing by giving his young quarterback an explosive target to grow with. Despite the news involving Mario and his neck, it appears McKenzie’s connected the dots and put together another useful group. If Edwards returns to 100%, Clive takes that second year leap, and Heeney finds himself starting (effectively), this class only gets better.

The Raiders hold the 14th overall selection in this year’s draft. If McKenzie is able to land another 2-4 impact players, the yet-to-be-sponsored Coliseum in Oakland will be rocking like it’s 2002.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive


1 thought on “Four-Year Draft Review: Reggie McKenzie Edition

  1. Here’s the biggest reason I support the hell out of Reggie. He’s learned from his mistakes and he’s only gotten better. Not many people show up to work their first day and crush it. haha. He’s learning, and developing a skill set of his own.

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