1993 – Pick 12 Patrick Bates, DB, Texas A&M
Nearly two decades before the Raiders picked D.J. Hayden they also spent a top-15 pick on a defensive back in Patrick Bates from Texas A&M that ESPN named one of the 50 biggest busts in NFL history in an article from 2008. Bates was part of the famous “Wrecking Crew” defense for the Aggies but never played to his potential in the NFL.
Bates rarely saw much action in his rookie season and became a starter in his sophomore season in 1994, starting 9 games and notching 68 tackles but he was unhappy with the team and his role on it. The discontent grew and Bates chose to retire and sat out the entire 1995 season rather than suit up for the Raiders.
In an effort to recover something from the Bates selection, the Raiders shipped him off to the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a second round pick. After the trade, Bates described the situation in Los Angeles as “miserable” in an interview with the New York Times and said “it was a miserable atmosphere, and [he] wanted no part of it. It was tense and tight”.
The Raiders of course refuted that but the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. Some players and teams just don’t mesh but the Raiders appeared to have made the right decision in letting him go as Bates only lasted one season with the Falcons and never played again in the NFL.