In the 2000 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders used their first-round pick to select Sebastian Janikowski, a damn kicker. People laughed. People taunted. People thought the Raiders were crazy.
And that would turn out to be one of the team's smarter first-round picks.
This week, the Raiders released Darrius Heyward-Bey and Michael Huff. Which brings us to this sad, sad truth: The Raiders have made 12 first- round picks since 2001; 10 of them are no longer with the team.
By comparison, the 49ers still have nine of their 15 first round picks from that same stretch.
Five of the Raiders' 12 selections were top-10 picks. A few were at the back end of the round. Some were busts. Some were mediocre. And a couple turned out well. But of those 12 most recent first-round picks, only Darren McFadden and Rolando McClain still wear silver and black.
Here's how the rest of the group panned out:
- 2001, 28th pick: Derrick Gibson, safety. Started on '02-'03 Super Bowl team. Out of the league by 2007.
- 2002, 17th pick: Phillip Buchanon, cornerback. Started 23 games over three years, corralling 11 interceptions. Traded to the Houston Texans in 2005 for a second and third-round picks. Hasn't played since 2011.
- 2002, 23rd pick: Napoleon Harris, linebacker. Solid starter for three years. Traded to the Minnesota Vikings as part of the Randy Moss deal. Currently running for Illinois State Senate.
- 2003, 31st pick: Nnamdi Asomugha, cornerback. Easily the best selection among this group. The franchise's best player for most of his eight years in Oakland. An All-Pro. Named to USA Today's All-Decade team. Also a top-notch community guy. Became a free agent after the 2010 season and signed with the Eagles.
- 2003, 32nd pick: Tyler Brayton, defensive end. Started 48 games over five years. Released after 2007 season. Last played in 2011 with the Indianapolis Colts.
- 2004, 2nd pick: Robert Gallery, offensive tackle. Did not live up to the hype. Did turn out to be a consistent starter, though, eventually shifting to guard. Signed with the Seattle Seahawks after seven mediocre years in Oakland.
- 2005, 23rd pick: Fabian Washington, cornerback. Perhaps best known as the guy selected before Aaron Rodgers. Started 28 games over three years with the Raiders before signing with the Baltimore Ravens. Hasn't played since 2011.
- 2006, 7th pick: Michael Huff, safety. Regular started for seven years. A decent player on bad defenses. Overachieved as a cornerback this past season, stepping in for the injured starters.
- 2007, 1st pick: JaMarcus Russell, quarterback. Remembered as one of the worst first picks in draft history. Out of the league by 2010.
- 2008, 4th pick: Darren McFadden, running back. This one has worked out. Shown flashes of brilliance when healthy. But, due to injuries, hasn't played more than 13 games in a season yet.
- 2019, 7th pick: Darrius Hayward-Bey, wide receiver. Caught 11 touchdowns over four years. But didn't separate himself from the other names in the team's stable of young wideouts.
- 2010, 8th pick: Rolando McClain, linebacker. Started 38 games over three years. Hasn't played to expectations. In November, coaches kicked him out of practice for an undisclosed incient. "Officially no longer an Oakland Raider!!" he wrote on his Facebook page that night. "Well technically I am. But I'm mentally done. Just waiting on my papers... Looking forward to playing for an actual 'team."
And that was the team's most recent first round pick. They'll have another shot on April 25. The Raiders have the 3rd pick in this year's draft.