Did the Oakland Raiders make another Terrible Mistake with Matt Flynn?

matt-flynn-oaklandThe Oakland Raiders’ recent history is littered with failed draft picks and overpriced free agent signings. From draft busts like JaMarcus Russell and Robert Gallery to disappointing pickups like Javon Walker and Kevin Boss, it’s easy to see why the Raiders haven’t had a winning season since 2002.

This offseason, Oakland hoped to put one of the cornerstones in place for a franchise turnaround by signing Matt Flynn. The sixth-year man out of LSU has been highly touted ever since he torched the Detroit Lions for 480 passing yards and six touchdowns back in 2011.

So this offseason, the Raiders inked a two-year, $11.5 million contract with Flynn – $6.5 million of which is guaranteed along with a $3.25 million signing bonus. Now Raider Nation is already beginning to question the deal after Flynn’s atrocious play last Friday.

matt-flynn-oakland-1The former backup to Aaron Rodgers completed 3-of-6 passes for 19 yards and two interceptions. The performance was so bad that the O.co Coliseum faithful booed their star free agent signing off the field. It didn’t help matters that the Chicago Bears were winning 27-0 at this point. But the reality is that, after just three preseason games, fans are already calling for backup Terrelle Pryor to take the starting role.

Of course all of the blame can’t be put squarely on Flynn’s shoulders. After all, Oakland’s line is once again terrible and few pocket passers could put up solid numbers with this unit blocking for them. But the unfortunate truth is that the once-promising Flynn might find himself in a losing situation for the second year in a row.

Last season he signed a three-year, $19.5 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks, and everybody fully expected him to start. His competition was the mediocre Tavaris Jackson and third round pick Russell Wilson – both players who weren’t considered serious threats. However, Wilson would outplay Flynn in the preseason, take over the starting role, and emerge as the Rookie of the Year.

terrelle-pryor-raidersThis essentially meant that Seattle paid $10 million in guaranteed money to a backup, so they traded Flynn away before having to honor the entire $19.5 million deal. Considering what Seattle paid, the Raiders didn’t give a ton for the backup. But Oakland did make a significant enough of an investment that they were expecting him to start.

Interestingly enough, it’s beginning to look like Seattle all over again for Flynn. The ultra-athletic Pryor has been announced as the starter for the final preseason game, with Flynn sitting out due to “arm soreness.” The Ohio State product played very well last Friday after completing 7-of-9 passes for 93 yards, adding 37 yards on the ground, and combining for two total TD’s.

If Pryor seizes the opportunity this coming weekend, it’s likely that Flynn will spend his sixth year in a row holding the clipboard. What’s more is that he’ll be pigeonholed as a career backup after blowing yet another opportunity to start.

Top 10 Worst NFL Draft Picks since 2000

jamarcus-russellThe 2013 NFL Draft is set to begin tomorrow, on April 25th, and 32 teams will be looking to find some gems. Of course, this might be a little difficult because the 2013 Draft class isn’t expected to feature many superstars. In fact, this week’s draft could be downright bad as an anonymous executive told NFL.com the following:

Worst draft in past 10 years or longer. When we look back at this draft in five or 10 years we might view it as one of the worst we’ve seen in some time. There will be 13-15 players picked in the first round that are true first-rounders. That’s a fairly low number.

This NFL exec isn’t the only person who’s questioning the 2013 NFL Draft. John Elway, who now serves as the Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations, bluntly said “It’s not top-heavy.”

With what many perceive to be a weak draft class, there figure to be plenty of duds picked this week. But hopefully, none of them live up to the 10 worst drafts picks since 2000, which you can see below.

10. Peter Warrick, WR Cincinnati Bengals – 4th Pick in 2000 Draft

peter-warrickAfter an outstanding college career in which he caught a record 32 touchdowns at Florida State and achieved All-American honors twice, Warrick seemed like he could be a pretty dynamic pro player. However, the smallish 5’11” receiver never gained more than 667 receiving yards in his first four seasons.

Warrick finally had a solid year in 2004, when he caught 79 passes for 819 yards, rushed for 143 yards, and scored seven touchdowns. But he was injured for most of the 2004 season and watched seventh-round pick T.J. Houshmandzadeh take over his spot. Warrick was released by the Bengals in 2005, had a short stint with the Seahawks after that, then bounced around the CFL and Arena League.

9. Robert Gallery, OT Oakland Raiders – 2nd Pick in 2004 Draft

Robert GalleryComing out of Iowa, Gallery was the ideal left tackle size at 6’7″, 325 pounds. This being said, he was expected to be a star in the NFL who could follow in the same vein as five-time All-Pro left tackle Orlando Pace. However, Gallery never quite lived up to these expectations.

He was moved from left, to right, and back to left tackle in his first three years. 2006 was especially a disaster because Gallery gave up 10.5 sacks in just 10 games. By 2007, he found his calling at left guard; however, you don’t draft left guards with the second overall pick. This is especially bad when you consider the talented players that Gallery was taken over, including Larry Fitzgerald, Philip Rivers, DeAngelo Hall and Ben Roethlisberger.

8. Courtney Brown, DE Cleveland Browns – 1st Pick in 2000 NFL Draft

courtney-brownYou can’t exactly fault Cleveland for taking Brown with the first overall pick in 2000. Not only did he rack up 33 sacks and 70 tackles for losses at Penn State, but Brown also ran a 4.52 forty-yard dash, had a 37-inch vertical, and benched 225 pounds 26 times. Add in the fact that Brown was 6’4″, 285 pounds, and you have the perfect defensive end.

But size and combine performances don’t always equal success, which turned out to be the case with Brown. He had a solid rookie season with 70 tackles and 4.5 sacks. But injuries started coming in 2002 and drastically cut down the South Carolina native’s time on the field. When Brown retired in 2006, he had just 19 sacks over a five-year career.

7. Aaron Maybin, LB Buffalo Bills – 11th Pick in 2009 Draft

aaron-maybinSome people might think it’s unfair to put Maybin on this list because he was only drafted four years ago and even had a solid year in 2011 – recording 6 sacks for the New York Jets. However, this doesn’t erase three other years in which Maybin was almost nonexistent on his teams.

After the Bills drafted Maybin 11th overall out of Penn State, he responded by pitching in just 18 tackles and 0 sacks. The next year was even worse since the 6’4″ linebacker recorded just six tackles in 11 games. Buffalo simply scratched Maybin from several contests, despite him being healthy. Most recently, the Jets released him after he made only one tackle in 2012.

6. R Jay Soward, WR Jacksonville Jaguars – 29th Pick in 2000 Draft

r-jay-sowardThe 2000 NFL Draft was certainly a big one for busts since Soward is the third player from 2000 to make this list. The California native was so talented that, despite scoring 32 touchdowns during his career at USC, he fell short of expectations. The Jaguars were willing to spend their first round pick on the troubled wide receiver based on his potential alone.

However, this potential never materialized because he was frequently late to team meetings, violated the league’s substance abuse policy several times, and was arrested for threatening police after being pulled over. Soward was suspended by the league, and the Jaguars released the wideout after he turned in 14 catches for 108 yards in one year. These would be Soward’s only NFL stats because he never played in the league again.

5. Matt Leinart, QB Arizona Cardinals – 10th Pick in 2006 Draft

Matt LeinartFew college players ever had as storied of a career as Matt Leinart. He compiled a 37-2 record as the starting quarterback for USC, won two national championships, and earned the Heisman Trophy in his junior year. Based on his impressive collegiate resume and size (6’5″, 225 pounds), Leinart was a top prospect going into the 2006 NFL Draft – despite concerns about his weak arm.

After being drafted by the Cardinals, Leinart had a lengthy holdout, which lasted up until preseason games. But the holdout did end, with the rookie picking up a 6-year, $51 million contract. Leinart’s lucky that he got a fortune upfront because he certainly wasn’t worth the money. He started just 13 games in four seasons for the Cards and eventually lost his job to Kurt Warner.

4. Mike WIlliams, WR Detroit Lions – 10th Pick in 2005 Draft

Minnesota Vikings v Detroit LionsWilliams has never exactly lit the league on fire, with 127 catches, 1,526 yards, and 5 touchdowns in seven seasons. Of course, Williams career didn’t get off to a very good start when he left USC after his sophomore year and hired an agent, thinking he was draft eligible because Maurice Clarett successfully challenged eligibility rules. However, a federal judge overturned the ruling, which meant both Clarett and Williams had to sit out the 2004 season.

When the 6’5″ receiver was finally draft eligible, he was taken by the Detroit Lions in a very questionable move. Detroit had already spent first round picks on Charles Rodgers (2003) and Roy Williams (2004) the previous two years, and overloaded on wideouts when they scooped up Williams. But then again, foolish moves like this were a staple of the Matt Millen era in Detroit.

3. Vernon Gholston, DE New York Jets – 6th Pick in 2008 Draft

vernon-gholstonLike Courtney Brown, Gholston is another player who looked and worked out like a future Hall-of-Famer. The 6’3″, 260-pounder had an incredible bodybuilder physique, ran a 4.58 forty, had a 41-inch vertical leap and benched 37 reps at the combine. Gholston was also coming off of a season at Ohio State where he tallied a school record 14.5 sacks.

Unfortunately, neither his physical tools nor college production paid dividends for the New York Jets. Gholston failed to record a sack in three seasons with the Jets after being shuffled around from outside linebacker to a traditional defensive end role. He was eventually released in 2011 and has been waived by both the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams since.

2. Charles Rogers, WR Detroit Lions – 2nd Pick in 2003 Draft

charles-rogersRogers put together a spectacular college career at Michigan State, where he set an NCAA record with 13 consecutive games with a touchdown catch. The 6’3″, 220-pounder had enough highlight reel plays that the Lions decided he was worthy of the second overall pick. Things started out alright for Rogers since he caught 22 passes for 243 yards and three TD’s in his first five games.

However, he’d soon break his clavicle in practice and go on injured reserve. Rogers suffered the same injury in 2004 and was granted permission to leave the team after being very distraught. He was suspended for four games after violating the league’s drug policy in 2005 and barely played much when he returned. The Lions cut him the following offseason, thus bringing an end to Rogers’ football career.

1. JaMarcus Russell, QB Oakland Raiders – 1st Pick in 2007 Draft

jamarcus-russell-1It isn’t exactly original putting Russell here because just about every draft busts list ranks him number one. However, that’s a testament to just how big of a failure the LSU product was in his three-year stint with Oakland. And this is mind-boggling when you consider his 6’6″ frame and cannon arm.

After holding out until the first week of the regular season, Russell finally inked a deal worth $61 million, with $31.5 million guaranteed. This resulted in him only starting one game and playing four games total in his rookie season. His second year was fairly decent since he threw for 2,423 yards, 13 TD’s and 8 INT’s. However, Russell’s third season was a disaster as he threw for 1,287 yards, 3 TD’s, 11 INT’s and lost his starting job.

2010 would mark the end of his Raiders career as he showed up to the Oakland mini-camp weighing between 290-300 pounds. With five quarterbacks on the roster, Russell was an easy cut going into the regular season.