Las Vegas Raiders: Biggest draft misses in the past five NFL Drafts

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The Raiders franchise has struggled to nail the NFL Draft in recent years, and here, we look at a few big misses in each of the last five drafts.

The Las Vegas Raiders added nine players during the 2023 NFL Draft, a haul that the franchise hopes can springboard them into being a perennial contender in the AFC. In recent drafts, the Raiders franchise has struggled to get it right, seemingly passing on franchise-caliber players every step of the way.

Here, we look at the five biggest draft misses in the past five NFL Drafts for the Raiders.

Las Vegas Raiders: Biggest draft misses in the past five NFL Drafts

  • 2018: Raiders Missing out on a potential franchise CB in Jaire Alexander

The 2018 NFL Draft was the first with Jon Gruden calling the shots, someone, that certainly knew how to fumble first-round picks. His first selection, however, was Kolton Miller, a standout offensive tackle from UCLA who has gone on to be an anchor of the Raiders offensive line in his six seasons with the team.

While Miller was certainly not a miss, could the Raiders have benefited more from passing on him, and instead selecting a cornerback on Day 1? Miller was selected by the Raiders at pick No. 15, and after him, a string of Pro Bowl defensive players were picked starting with Tremaine Edmunds at No. 16.

Derwin James followed at No. 17, then Jaire Alexander at No. 18, while Leighton Vander Esch capped the run at No. 19 overall. All four of those defensive players could have helped a Raiders defense that has been one of the worst in football in recent years, but Alexander could have been the standout cornerback this team is still searching for.

Alexander has been a key for the Packers defense in recent years, making second-team All-Pro in both 2020 and 2022. Had the Raiders selected him instead of Miller, they would likely have had issues at offensive tackle these last couple of years, but passing on Alexander was a big miss when you consider how bad the Raiders have been at cornerback.