Since their inception in 1960, the Oakland Raiders have been one of the proudest and most storied franchises in NFL history. The Silver and Black own three Super Bowl titles, and have been the home of some of the NFL's most elite players and coaches. Through it all, the Raider Nation fan base has remained some of the most loyal and rabid in the entire world, and the Black Hole is one of the more historical seating locations in sports history. The last 56 years have been a whirlwind, and, up until recently, the franchise had seen better days.
Since their defeat in Super Bowl XXXVII to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the franchise slowly spiraled out of control, and the team became the laughing stock of the league. One of the biggest reasons for the struggle was poor drafting. Over those thirteen dreadful years, the Raiders drafted some of the biggest busts of all time, including Jamarcus Russell, who may in fact be the worst first round pick of all time. However, things have taken a turn for the Raiders, who, thanks to some incredible drafting, are currently having themselves a fantastic season.
With the emergence of rookie first round pick Karl Joseph, the Raiders roster is filled with contributors on both sides of the ball that came to the team through their recently discovered drafting prowess. While I've only highlighted the bad picks, the Raiders have had the unique distinction of finding gems in the later rounds. However, a closer look would have you see that they have managed to strike gold in the opening round as well. While some names on this list may bring back fond memories of the old days, some newer names will have you looking ahead to a bright future. So join us, as we list "The 15 Greatest First Round Draft Picks in Oakland Raiders History."
15 Amari Cooper, 4th Overall (2015)
14 Sebastian Janikowski, 17th Overall (2000)
13 Don Mosebar, 26th Overall (1983)
12 Raymond Chester, 24th Overall (1970)
11 Khalil Mack, 5th Overall (2014)
10 Darrell Russell, 2nd Overall (1997)
9 Chester McGlockton, 16th Overall (1992)
8 Terry McDaniel, 9th Overall (1988)
7 Jack Tatum, 19th Overall (1971)
6 Nnamdi Asomugha, 31st Overall (2003)
5 Ray Guy, 23rd Overall (1973)
4 Charles Woodson, 4th Overall (1998)
3 Tim Brown, 6th Overall (1988)
2 Marcus Allen, 10th Overall (1982)
1 Gene Upshaw, 17th Overall (1967)
For fifteen years, the Oakland Raiders would lay claim to having one of the greatest players of all-time donning the Silver and Black. Upshaw was more than just one of the best players at his position; he was one of the best player ever. Selected in the 1967 NFL/AFL Draft, Upshaw's fifteen year career saw him playing in a rapidly changing league. He was an AFL champion and an AFL All-Star before becoming a Super Bowl champion and a Pro Bowl pick. An absolute bully on the line, Upshaw, along with Hall of Fame player Art Shell, would go on the form one of the greatest offensive line duos fans have ever had the pleasure of watching. Upshaw is only the second man on this list to be named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, and is also part of the NFL 1970's All Decade Team. Given his play, his accolades, and his legacy, it's quite clear that Gene Upshaw is the greatest first round draft pick in the history of this storied franchise.
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