Monday, June 3, 2013
Raiders wanted Kaepernick -- and Russell
By Mike Sando
The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers, among others, tried to maneuver in the 1983 NFL draft for a shot at selecting John Elway.
So did the Los Angeles Raiders.
Now, former Raiders coach Hue Jackson says via Peter King that the team also badly wanted Colin Kaepernick, another strong-armed quarterback whose athletic background included baseball.
King's piece has plenty of detail, including a captivating visual: Raiders owner Al Davis throwing a glass across the room when San Francisco traded up to select Kaepernick with the 36th choice of the 2011 draft.
Of course, teams miss out on players they wanted in every draft. Some of those players wind up leading their teams to the Super Bowl, as Kaepernick did last season. Other players fail to make much of an impact.
Since 1983, when Elway landed in Denver via the Baltimore Colts, the Raiders have drafted the following 13 quarterbacks: Tyler Wilson, JaMarcus Russell, Andrew Walter, Marques Tuiasosopo, Billy Joe Hobert, Todd Marinovich, Major Harris, Jeff Francis, David Weber, Steve Beuerlein, Rusty Hilger, Randy Essington and Scott Lindquist.
Those players were, by definition, quarterbacks the Raiders really wanted. To hear selectively about the ones that got away makes me wonder how many other forgettable ones the team also wanted at various points. We're unlikely to hear about those.
We should also acknowledge the role an organization plays in developing quarterbacks. Kaepernick had more than one season of seasoning in the 49ers' system before joining a talented, superbly coached offense, one that was backed by a strong defense. He gets credit for doing his part, but the situation obviously would have been tougher in Oakland.
The 49ers deserve tremendous credit for landing Kaepernick in the second round. They went into that 2011 draft without knowing how well Alex Smith would perform. They had the seventh overall choice and could have taken Blaine Gabbert or Christian Ponder. Instead, they used that pick for Aldon Smith, who has already set their franchise single-season record for sacks. Kaepernick, meanwhile, is looking far more dynamic than every other quarterback the 49ers were in position to select in that draft.
Note: The headline refers to JaMarcus Russell. Some in the comments section thought "Russell" referred to Russell Wilson. I'm sure the Raiders would like to have him, too, but they'll have to settle for Matt Flynn.