Oakland Raiders: Bruce Armstrong

Our countdown of the worst Oakland Raiders draft picks since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger continues with offensive tackle John Clay checking in at No. 2…

OT John Clay (Missouri, first round, No. 15 overall in 1987)

Who else was available? WR Haywood Jeffires, OT Harris Barton, OT Bruce Armstrong

To be fair, the 1987 draft from top to bottom was probably overshadowed by its supplemental cousin later in terms of excitement -- paging Brian Bosworth -- and production -- future Hall of Famer Cris Carter.

That’s not to say this draft was without its pearls, though -- Bo Jackson in the seventh round, 183rd overall? Yes please.

But the Raiders paid dearly for the sin of missing so badly so early.

Clay was supposed to be the cornerstone left tackle for the next decade, a supposed upgrade from the aging Bruce Davis, who helped anchor a pair of Super Bowl championship O-lines with the Raiders.

Clay, though, could barely get on the field, let alone stay on it. He started nine games at right tackle as a rookie during the strike-ravaged 1987 season, including the season opener and finale.

Seemed promising enough, right? Yet before he had a second shot with the then-L.A. Raiders, Clay was shipped to the San Diego Chargers for an upgrade in fellow offensive tackle Jim Lachey, for a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick in the 1989 draft.

But here is where the initial pick of Clay becomes infamous in the streets of Silver and Blackdom. After just one game with the Raiders, the season opener, Lachey was flipped and sent to Washington for Jay Schroeder. While Clay’s NFL career lasted only two more games with the Chargers and Schroeder would rival Marc Wilson for most reviled Raiders QB in franchise history this side of JaMarcus Russell, Lachey was named first-team All-Pro left tackle in Washington from 1989 through 1991.

Bottom 5-plus Raiders draft picks since 1970 merger

Dishonorable mentions

No. 5: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey

No. 4: DE Bob Buczkowski

No. 3: MLB Rolando McClain

No. 2: OL John Clay

No. 1: ?

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