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Notes: Raiders passing on Calvin Johnson named among history’s biggest draft blunders

Hindsight is 20-20.

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The 2007 NFL Draft Photo by John Dunn/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

Whether it’s wasting a top pick on an eventual bust or finding a late-round diamond in the rough, drafting is not an easy process.

There is no blueprint. There is no real way to know that a player will work out — that their success in college will translate to the NFL. The stakes are high, but each year, league executives gather their notes and as much courage as they muster and take a chance on player after player. Inevitably, many regret their picks. I’m sure former Lions general manager Bob Quinn would take a few back—ever heard of the Lions’ second-round curse?

But that’s the name of the game. CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan looked back at some of the biggest draft misses in the first round dating back to 2000. Near the top of the list — when JaMarcus Russell was selected over Calvin Johnson in 2007.

“It’s never a good thing when the highlight of your pro career is draft day, but that’s exactly how it unfolded for JaMarcus Russell. The former Raiders No. 1 overall pick is looked at as one of the biggest busts in NFL history,” Sullivan writes.

Obviously, the hope is a quarterback—especially one taken first overall—has a long and fruitful career with a team, but Russell only made it three seasons. He appeared in 31 games and started in 25, going 7-18. Russell finished his career in 2009, completing just 48.8% of his passes, throwing 11 interceptions and just three touchdowns.

Keeping all that in mind, the very next pick of the 2007 NFL Draft was none other than Megatron himself. You know, the Pro Football Hall of Famer. I don’t need to remind you of his legacy but a little taste to drive home the point—731 receptions for 11,619 yards, and 83 touchdowns, starting 130 of his 135 career games in nine seasons in the NFL, plus all the records he held when he retired in 2015. Doesn’t even scratch the surface of his accomplishments.

“Every which way, Megatron was a dominant force on the field, which the Raiders just missed out on having. To make matters worse with this pick, legendary left tackle Joe Thomas came off the board at No. 3 overall. That means two Hall of Fame talents were called right after Russell. Ouch,” Sullivan said.

By all accounts, Detroit Lions' current general manager Brad Holmes seems to have this drafting thing down, but let’s hope the Lions don’t make future lists like these.

And onto the rest of your notes.

  • Speaking of, our own Jeremy Reisman hopped on X’s and BrO’s with Anthony Bellino to talk about Jameson Williams, just head to the 1:36:00 to hear that discussion.

  • More offseason workout pics to kick off your week:

  • A fun behind-the-scenes look at draft headquarters.

  • CBS Sports’ Will Brinson placed each team in a tier based on how likely they are to draft a quarterback. The Lions fell under the second-highest tier, as the writer explains why they might go with a new man under center or why they might not. Also, I did not enjoy this line: “Some people are even throwing out ‘The Lions won’t be drafting this high again for a while’ as if they don’t know the entire existence of the Detroit Lions for the last 4,000 years.”

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