Del Rio obviously is not Jim Harbaugh, and may not even be the best candidate for the Raiders opening left available, but to categorize him as a failure and a re-tread is a gross error. Del Rio has a 71-72 regular season record as a head coach including his 3-1 mark as the interim man in Denver last year. His 71 wins give him more career wins as a head coach than Sparano, Mangini and Shurmur combined. The franchise he coached to 68 regular season victories has been a dysfunctional mess for years now, and in fact was already a dysfunctional mess when he was coaching them. To be frank, Del Rio is in large part responsible for the Jaguars being even respectable at all in the 21st century.
Throughout his best years in Jacksonville his good defensive units were anchored by Pro Bowl tackles John Henderson and Marcus Stroud, but Stroud left for Buffalo after the 2007 season and Henderson started to decline at the same time. Del Rio never had a truly dominant edge rusher, although he got solid production from Reggie Hayward and Bobby McCray, but McCray left after 2007 and Hayward was already in decline by that point. He was aided by having Pro Bowl running backs in Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, but he never had an optimal quarterback situation during his time in Jacksonville, and his quarterbacks never really had a quality wideout to throw to.
During his tenure in Jacksonville, the team wasted numerous high draft picks on players like Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Derrick Harvey and of course Blaine Gabbert. The franchise continues to struggle due to the same issues.
Del Rio is of course partially to blame for some of the Jaguars’ problems in his later years, as he was obviously a part of the evaluation process that had them make a lot of bad draft picks and questionable free agency decisions. Not being an offensive-minded coach, he couldn’t make the most out of Jacksonville’s spotty quarterback and receiver talent, nor could he find the right guys in the draft or free agency to turn it around. He stuck with a philosophy that won him games: play great defense and run the ball well, a philosophy that has been proven to work in the NFL. It’s a philosophy that the Raiders certainly could use more of.
The Raiders can also offer Del Rio something he did not have in Jacksonville: a franchise quarterback and a dominant edge rusher, along with a GM who has demonstrated that he knows what he’s doing in the draft. The Oakland roster has a lot of young talent at key positions and the team is flush with draft picks and cap space. If Reggie McKenzie can continue to find good young talent in the draft, Jack Del Rio can help the team win consistently.