Top Pick Russell Earns Kiper’s Praise in ’07
How inexact a science is predicting the likelihood of a player’s NFL success? Even a famed draft pundit such as ESPN’s Mel Kiper can be wildly off-base.
When the Oakland Raiders selected JaMarcus Russell No. 1 overall in 2007, Kiper had the following to say about the former LSU star:
“JaMarcus Russell is going to immediately energize that Raider Nation, that fan base and that football team, on the practice field and in that locker room. Three years from now, you could be looking at a guy who’s certainly one of the elite Top 5 quarterbacks in that league ... You’re talking about a 2-3 year period once he’s under center, look out. The skill level he has is certainly John Elway-like.”
Ironically, it was approximately three years later — the time in which Kiper predicted it would take Russell to become a star — that the Raiders released Russell after he went 7–18 as a starter while throwing just 18 TDs against 23 INTs. An NFL free agent since then, Russell (who is currently attempting a comeback) is widely considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history. JaMarcus Russell profile