Las Vegas Raiders franchise has struck gold at pick No. 17 before

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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1967 NFL Draft: Raiders select future Hall of Famer Gene Upshaw

The then-Oakland Raiders drafted Texas A&M-Kingsville star Gene Upshaw with the No. 17 overall pick in the 1967 AFL Draft and little did they know that he would go on to become one of the best Raiders of all-time. Upshaw was the left guard for the Silver and Black for 15 seasons, leading them to not only an AFL title but two Super Bowl titles as well.

A perennial Pro Bowler, Upshaw was named First-Team All-Pro three times and was named to the NFL’s 75th and 100th Anniversary teams. He and his offensive line teammates paved the way during the greatest dynasty in team history, and he would then go on to become a key player for the NFLPA.

When he shockingly died in 2008, the NFL had all 32 teams were a black patch with “GU 63” on it in Week 1, showing just how much he meant to the game. Oakland wore the patch all season long.

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Many feel that Upshaw is the greatest Raiders player of all-time, and while that can be debated, there is no doubt about how much he meant to this organization, and to the game of football. Upshaw was everything you look for in a player and loved being a Raider, and the only hope is that whoever Las Vegas gets at pick No. 17, embodies the same kind of attributes.