Dec 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and owner Mark Davis on the field before the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated gives Oakland Raiders 2014 draft "A" grade

During the final days of the late (and it needs to be said, great) Raiders owner Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders often were the target of laughter after the NFL Draft as Davis’ scouting talent faded in the 00′s as several busts piled up and the stereotype of the Raiders as one of the worst drafting teams in the league marked their picks as easy ones to question.

Those perceptions of the Raiders carried over into general manager Reggie McKenzie’s first two years as a GM as a lack of first round selections and the bold moves in 2013 to take “project” players in DJ Hayden and Menelik Watson led many to paint the same old picture when it came to Oakland’s drafting. That hasn’t been the case in the aftermath of this year’s draft as the McKenzie is being lauded for a draft where the team has addressed many needs.

In fact Sports Illustrated has the Raiders as one of their highest graded teams in their recent recap of the 2014 Draft as writers Chris Burke and Doug Farrar lauded McKenzie’s draft, noting that the team added several players who can contribute right away in addition to their potential longterm answer at quarterback in Derek Carr. Those factors led to the Raiders being given an “A” grade by

From SI:

Oakland Raiders

Without question, this was one of Oakland’s best drafts top-to-bottom in recent memory. OLB Khalil Mack will be the face of the defense, while QB Derek Carr could carry the same mantle on offense. G Gabe Jackson, DT Justin Ellis and CB Keith McGill all ought to play early. Even Round 7 produced a couple of worthwhile projects in CB T.J. Carrie and S Jonathan Dowling. This is how your rebuild a team.

Grade: A

Draft grades are a rather meaningless metric of gauging future success, but it is a promising sign that most of the media (the same media Raider fans call biased all the time) is applauding the prospects the team has brought in for the future. With opportunities at playing time for nearly all of the team’s draft picks next season, there is a good chance that the hype being built up around Reggie McKenzie’s solid draft translates into successful on-field output from these 2014 rookies. Something that didn’t happen last season thanks to the injuries of DJ Hayden and Menelik Watson, already a deeper team in 2014 the Raiders could be far more competitive should they get some solid breakout performances from those praised rookie picks. For now, fans of the Raiders can bask in some rare praise being directed towards the team in the national media.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Derek Carr Gabe Jackson Justin Ellis Keith McGill Khalil Mack NFL Draft Oakland Raiders

  • raidernation

    Its exciting , I’ve don’t remember the last time Raider Nation was excited after a draft, if im not lying was JR #2 out of LSU….. lol

  • Chris Schroeder

    When RM stepped to the podium 2 years ago and said that this rebuilding process will take 3-5 years to get the Raiders back to relevance, I believed. I’ve been about as optimistic as anyone because I’ve familiarize myself with his plan from day one. This Draft has made me scream loud and proud as the chips fell our way. We NOW have something we (Raider Nation) can hang our hats on. We have waited long and we’ve have been strong. Sometime chanting or building upon players who ended up being a disappointment along the way. NOW we can see the into the future, not with blinders on hoping and praying for promise but for actual results. Results from years of waiting and know that history repeats itself. The Raiders and making their way back, back to glory. This is a proud time for us all. Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there, and GO RAIDERS!!!!

  • TheeLastMohican

    Raiders will win it all!!!

  • Kevin Lurker

    Good draft. Why did we pass on Pierre Desir?
    McGill is a project with a ton of upside. Watson and Hayden could take off this season. We got new blood!

  • Chris Schroeder

    That’s a good question. In short, they stayed true to their board. There are a lot of players they could have picked but instead of being faced with make or break decision with only so many minutes to decide, they stayed true to their board. Great draft with lots of potential and impact players. Our coaches are creaming themselves after this homerun. I can’t wait for football. Stoked!!!

  • Jimmy Conway

    I read somewhere online that the raiders need to hit triples and home runs with this draft. Did they do that?

  • Kevin Lurker

    I had Pierre Desir/ Matavis Bryant there in the 4th but McGill could be great if coached up well. Stiff hips. Philosophy is the same, Big Corner with reach and V-J.
    Yes…we are stoked!!

  • James

    I really liked this whole draft. I don’t want to be the guy who compares everything to the Seahawks, but the Pete Carroll era started with a great draft and a ton of Rookie starters and contributers. I would like to believe if these players pan out, this could be the beginning of something similar. Big Reg was always going to build through the draft, it was the Packer way. Mixed with sold leaders brought in through free agency, this could be a big leap towards becoming a winning team.

  • Arty G

    I was curious about the same thing, I was hoping we got him but aw well my man McGill is gonna be great!!!

  • Raider Grant

    Solid draft, excited about landing Mack! I really didn’t want to drat a QB, but wish Carr the best!.Watched multiple games & he appears to be solid pocket passer. His completion rate drops dramatically when rushed, but so does Peyton Mannings. Finally a positive step forward in the rebuilding process!!! Last year’s draft failures has NOTHING to do with a 3-5 year rebuilding plan, and was not conducive for any strategic game plan; hopefully it was just a lessoned learned. Holding my head high feels great, having POSITIVE results feels GREAT, LOVE IT! Go Raiders

  • TruAlBlvr

    Round 1 was the single round 2 was the double round 3 was a triple and round 4 made it a home run .the 7th round was 3 RBI which means the Raiders hit for the cycle and had 8 RBI’s.yes all of the above.Go Raiders!!!!!!!!

  • KloverJane

    You got 12 likes Chris. It’s about time. Lol. What a great season we’re going to have. The Autumn wind returns to glory.

  • Chris Schroeder

    I was chilling with my family Saturday night thinking about all the great moves the Raiders made this off-season, when all of a sudden out of nowhere I shivered my shoulders as if I had felt the chill. I was indoors and all the doors and windows were closed and I wasn’t even drinking a cold beer yet. Know what that was my friend? Yeah… You know what that was. The Autumn wind cometh.

  • KloverJane

    Oh I do indeed lol. Better get your North face out and a cold stein son. Because its time to laugh when we’ve conquered and won!

  • James

    Not sure why everybody thinks drafting 3 or 4 starters with limited draft picks is a failure? Not to mention a strong group of UDFA. Look at every other team in the league, those numbers are right in line. It is really hard to understand all of the heavy criticism on Reg with all of the other things he is fixing in the organization? Because they cut a QB who a lot of teams were high on but got out played in the pre season? All the draft gods thought he was a solid pick. Watson and Hayden might not be the popular picks but will be solid starters. Sio Moore looks like the real deal. I have no problem with what Reggie did last year and this year just proves he has a plan.

  • Raider Grant

    You never want to draft project players with 1st & 2nd round picks, you want immediate impact players.3rd & 4th picks can be impact players if your lucky. Project players are 5th round & on. That’s why we received a D for last year’s draft & B+ this year. All the other problems McKenzie addressed had nothing to do with the poor draft. Go Raiders

  • James

    I agree with you. They moved back as far as they could get trade partners to do so and took the guy they had on top of their draft board in Hayden. He was mostly ranked higher by experts than Milner, but everybody wants this to be Al’s Raiders so bad that it was considered a reach. They did fine with Watson. I don’t think it was a failure based off of 2 picks. Again, not everybody has to like the picks. Only one person has his job on the line and I think he is doing what is needed to keep it. I also think you don’t need to make an impact your rookie season to be worth a draft pick. Especially with the rookie wage scale. If they were paying a 20 million dollar signing bonus I would agree. We can agree to disagree as long as the Raiders get back to the top!

  • Raider Grant

    As long as positive moves for The Raiders being made I’m a happy camper. No problem with agreeing to disagree, but you want solid picks 1-4 no matter what, unless your team is stacked like chawks & niners. We could of had two B drafts in a row & that’s how teams are rebuilt! I’ve been waiting for the new regime all my life, and last years draft was more like an Al draft if anything! Go Raiders

  • Rifflicks

    21 from Canada…..a ringing endorsement of a vast knowledge, and experience in everything N F L.

  • Ervin Barrentine

    Don’t be crazy Watson and Hayden will display why they were picked up when they were. Overall we are so much more talented and deeper