ALAMEDA — Barring a trade, the Raiders will add a player to their roster Thursday when they make a selection with the No. 24 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
The 24th pick is the latest the Raiders have drafted in the first round since 2003, when they held the No. 31 overall selection after losing in Super Bowl XXXVII.
The last time they drafted at No. 24?
Well, that would be 1991 and it didn’t work out well. The Raiders selected quarterback Todd Marinovich out of USC — Brett Favre went eight picks later — and he lasted just two NFL seasons before drug issues essentially ended his career. (And he’s unfortunately still dealing with those issues, although he believes he’s finally on the road to recovery).
But who else have the Raiders taken at 24? Besides Marinovich, the Raiders have drafted at 24 three other times and their 1970 pick of tight end Raymond Chester is easily the highlight.
Picked with the third to last selection of the first round out of Morgan State, Chester was a four-time Pro Bowler who totaled 364 catches, 5,013 yards and 48 touchdowns in his NFL career, which included seven seasons with the Raiders. He was a member of the Raiders’ Super Bowl XV championship team.
The Raiders’ other No. 24 picks were defensive back Neal Colzie of Ohio State in 1975 and defensive end Bob Buczkowski of Pittsburgh in 1986.
Colzie spent nine seasons in the NFL (four with the Raiders) and had 25 career interceptions. He also was a standout punt returner and still ranks second in team history with 168 career punt returns and 1,747 yards. His 655 punt return yards is a team record and second all-time in NFL history. He returned four punts for 43 yards in the Raiders’ Super Bowl XI victory, including a 25-yarder that set up a touchdown.
Buczkowski was another draft bust though. He played only two career games for the Raiders — he had one sack — and just 21 games over three NFL seasons. He also was arrested in 2007 in a prostitution ring.
So as the Raiders and Reggie McKenzie prepare for Thursday’s draft, they’ll be hoping to land a player more like Chester and much, much less like Marinovich.