NFL

The Las Vegas Raiders’ Mount Rushmore of Draft Mistakes

Oh, yeah, there’s no way that JaMarcus Russell and Todd Marinovich don’t make it onto the Mount Rushmore of Las Vegas Raiders draft mistakes. So, we won’t force you the read to the bottom of the page to confirm the obvious.

The problem, however, is that Mount Rushmore has four faces carved into it. With Russell and Marinovich firmly in place, there are only two additional spots available. Even the most devoted Raiders fans understand that’s not nearly enough. For a franchise with so much success over the years, the Raiders have definitely made their share of awful selections in the NFL draft.

The Raiders’ Mount Rushmore foundation: JaMarcus Russell and Todd Marinovich

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What can one say about JaMarcus Russell that hasn’t already been said, including %#$@&! and $*!#&? Well, for starters, it’s not as though at least a dozen other NFL teams wouldn’t have used the No. 1 pick of the 2007 draft on the LSU career. Honest to God, he looked like a pro quarterback coming out of college.

Unfortunately, he looked lost from the start after holding out before his rookie season. And then he looked apathetic after that.

The rap on Russell, and what lands him on this Mount Rushmore, is that he and the projector in the film study room were only casual acquaintances. Russell’s lazy approach to preparation and practice led to him starting just 25 games in three seasons and throwing more interceptions (23) than touchdowns (18).

After the Raiders waived Russell in May 2010, the Washington Football Team and Miami Dolphins took a look but declined to sign Russell.

Here’s all you need to know about the Todd Marinovich debacle: The Raiders drafted him 24th in 1991 and the Atlanta Falcons took Brett Favre at No. 33. Marinovich’s strict, sheltered upbringing didn’t hinder him at USC, but he was woefully unprepared for the NFL’s fame and fortune. Two unproductive seasons were followed by a one-year suspension for multiple violations of the NFL drug policy. Marinovich didn’t even get onto an NFL field often enough to reach double digits in TDs of interceptions.

Rolando McClain lost his job and lost interest

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Middle linebacker Rolando McClain came into the NFL with impressive credentials that justified the Raiders using the No. 8 overall pick in 2010 on the Butkus Award winner. He began his pro career by making 29 starts in two seasons and recorded five sacks in 2011. Everything unraveled after McClain lost his starting job a month into his third season and soon after went public with his desire to play elsewhere.

The Raiders were happy to say goodbye after the 2012 season. They knew they had made the right decision when McClain signed with the Baltimore Ravens in April 2013 and the retired five weeks later at the age of 23.

McClain came back to football the following year to log two somewhat productive seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Three suspensions in 17 months for violations of the NFL drug policy led to the end of his career and a place on this Mount Rushmore.

Patrick Bates completes the Mount Rushmore

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The Raiders drafted safety Patrick Bates 12th overall in 1993. They should have taken him again in 1994, because the Raiders didn’t get all of Bates the first time. He couldn’t crack the starting 11 as a rookie, then made only nine starts in 1994 and decided to take a break from the NFL for the following season.

The Raiders realized their mistake and salvaged a second-round pick in 1996 courtesy of a trade with the Atlanta Falcons, who got nine starts out of Bates in his final NFL season, making him a candidate for Atlanta’s Mount Rushmore of bad trades.