Throwing Darts at the Draft
No other team in the National Football League likely has as much fun during the yearly first-year player draft in the spring as the Raiders. The only thing that makes us frustrated about their process is the fact that we don’t know what it is, and we wish they’d let us in on their decision-making.
We can only assume from the absolutely devastating results (in a bad, bad way) of the draft over the years that the Raiders have some arcade-like game at work to make their selections. I’m thinking a drunken game of blindfolded darts. Or maybe it’s way more boring than that, and they just ask Mark Davis what state the team should draft a player from. Maybe they tape a player’s name to all those robotic hedgehogs that pop up in a game at Chuck E. Cheese—you know the one you have to whack with the mallet as they surface—and then the one who gets hit first is the one who gets picked.
These two paragraphs have been stupid, and we know that, but they’re more useful than most picks have been for the Raiders over the last several years. In the last two weeks, the Raiders were forced to release both of their first-round picks from 2020 for off-the-field incidents: wide receiver Henry Ruggs III and corner Damon Arnette. Check this out:
Those weren’t the only bad picks in recent years. It’s reaching for Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall in 2019. It’s Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu in 2017. It’s Karl Joseph and Jihad Ward in 2016. They traded two star players they actually drafted themselves in Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack and then turned them into questionable picks on both sides of the ball, leaving them destined for more 6 to 8 win seasons for years to come.
Will this year be any different? Not if the chorus of jeers were right following the team’s “reach” for Alex Leatherwood in the first. Only time will tell, but the Raiders have lost any benefit of the doubt, at least with this current batch of leaders in place. And for now, Chiefs Kingdom couldn’t be happier.