At the end of the 2009 training camp, the Raiders traded this year’s first round pick to the New England Patriots for Richard Seymour; obviously, Al Davis and his staff were hoping that with Seymour on the roster, the pick they had traded away would be a late pick in the round — meaning the Raiders would become a playoff team with the veteran Pro Bowl defensive tackle.
While the Raiders did improve immediately with Seymour on their defensive line, they still have yet to reach the NFL’s post season. Rather than handing over a pick in the 20’s, the Raiders will watch New England use their 17th pick of the draft.
At least it’s not a top five pick.
Seymour, who turns 32 this coming season, signed a two year contract prior to the deadline making him the highest paid defensive player in the league. After Seymour plays out his contract, he will have given the Raiders four years of service and only time will tell if both the Raiders and their highly paid defensive tackle will add more time then.
Is Seymour, at this stage in his career, worth the 17th pick of the draft?
When you take a look at the 17th pick from 1990 through 2005, the answer begins to depend on what you value more: time in service or quality of that service. Players drafted after 2005 were excluded since they would skew the results downward unfairly.
Of the 16 players selected from ’90 to ’05, the average length of career is 8.5 years, but that stat is incomplete due to the fact that six of those players will likely be on a team at the start of next season.
The most notable selection of the bunch is Emmitt Smith, who was selected in 1990. Smith, a member of the Hall of Fame, had a 15-year career that saw him go to the Pro Bowl eight times and be selected to the All-Pro team four. Only offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson of the Minnesota Vikings has comparable accolades — and he was drafted by Seattle. Hutchinson has seven Pro Bowl selections and five All-Pro awards.
Smith and Hutchinson are the only two players of the 16 that were selected as All-Pro’s and only Damien Woody has been to the Pro Bowl once. In comparison, Seymour has six Pro Bowl invites and three All-Pro selections.
As Raiders’ head coach Hue Jackson told reporters on Thursday, the draft is not an ‘exact science.’ It’s obvious that the Raiders value the known over the unknown, and judging by their two 17th picks from ’90 to ’05, there’s good reason.
The Raiders arguably struck gold with Sebastian Janikowski in 2000. Even without a Pro Bowl invite or being named as an All-Pro, the kicker has broken nearly every Raiders’ record at his position and is still going strong.
Instead of striking gold on their second 17th pick in 2002, the team struck out with the selection of Phillip Buchanon. Buchanon, who is still playing on his fifth team, wasn’t the type of corner back who could play the Raiders’ bump and run style.
Another former Raider was selected with the 17th pick by another team in 1995 — Tyrone Wheatley was drafted by the New York Giants. Many Raiders fans remember Wheatley fondly as the thunder to Charlie Garner’s lightening, but the running back rushed for over 900 yards just twice in his career (’99 & ’00) and averaged 4.0 yards-per-carry in just two of his 10 seasons in the league (’00 & ’03).
The following players were selected in the first round with the 17th pick from ’90 to ’05:
- YR – Player (drafting team) NFL career (in yrs); Awards
- 1990 – (RB) Emmitt Smith (Cowboys) 15 yrs; HOF inductee; 8 Pro Bowls; 4 All-Pro selections.
- 1991 – (DT) Bobby Wilson (Redskins) 4yrs;
- 1992 – (CB) Kevin Smith (Cowboys) 8 yrs;
- 1993 – (CB) Tom Carter (Redskins) 9 yrs;
- 1994 – (WR) Charles Johnson (Steelers) 9 yrs;
- 1995 – (RB) Tyrone Wheatley (Giants) 10 yrs;
- 1996 – (OLB) Reggie Brown (Lions) 2 yrs;
- 1997 – (DE) Kenard Lang (Redskins) 10 yrs;
- 1998 – (ILB) Brian Simmons (Bengals) 10 yrs;
- 1999 – (OC) Damien Woody (Patriots) 12 yrs; Still Playing (with Jets); 1 Pro Bowl;
- 2000 – (K) Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders) 11 yrs; Still Playing (with Raiders);
- 2001 – (OG) Steve Hutchinson (Seahawks) 10 yrs; Still Playing (with Vikings); 7 Pro Bowls; 5 All-Pro selections.
- 2002 – (CB) Phillip Buchanon (Raiders) 9 yrs; Still Playing (with Redskins);
- 2003 – (WR) Bryant Johnson (Cardinals) 8 yrs; Still Playing (with Lions);
- 2004 – (OLB) D.J. Williams (Broncos); 7 yrs; Still Playing (with Broncos);
- 2005 – (LB) David Pollak (Bengals); 2 yrs;
Even if the Raiders get four seasons from Seymour, his contributions could last the length of the careers of his linemates Matt Shaughnessy, Lamarr Houston, Tommy Kelly, and others. Much can be said of a ‘Hall of Fame’ influence on younger players.
Prior to Jerry Rice joining the Silver and Black, Tim Brown’s receptions would dwarf the rest of the receivers’ combined totals annually. Other than James Jett or Andre Rison in 2000, most receptions went to runners or tight ends while Brown led the team doubling, or nearly doubling the closest receiver for the season in receptions.
Just two years after joining the Raiders (2002), Rice led the team with 92 passes caught, followed by running back Charlie Garner (91 rec’s), Brown (81 rec’s), and converted safety Jerry Porter (51 rec’s). The impact Rice had on the rest of the receiving corps eventually led to the Raiders no longer needing the services of either Brown or Rice — or so they and others around the league thought at the time.
When Rice was finally traded, the Raiders receiving corps consisted of Jerry Porter, Ronald Curry, Doug Gabriel, Alvis Whitted, and Johnnie Morant. At the time, the Raiders were considered to have one of the best receiving rosters in the league, but unfortunately history tells another story. The closest the Raiders have come to having a receiver catch 80 passes or more since ’02 was Porter’s 76 receptions in 2005.
Will Seymour’s legacy be as fleeting as the legacy Rice left behind? If it is, then the value of trading the 17th pick of the draft for an aging veteran decreases only slightly when you consider that with Rice, the Raiders did get to a Super Bowl.
Last year’s 8-8 record is far from Super Bowl quality, but Seymour has two years remaining on his contract. If the Pro Bowl defensive tackle helps the Raiders get to the ultimate stage in football, Al Davis will be glad he sacrificed this year’s 17th pick.