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Jury Still Out on Draft Picks

January 21, 2003|Steve Springer

While the Oakland Raiders were smiling at the price for Coach Jon Gruden -- two No. 1 picks from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two No. 2s and $8 million -- early returns from the draft picks are mixed.

The Raiders traded the 2002 Tampa Bay first-rounder, No. 21 overall, in a complicated deal involving the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons, to move up to No. 17. With that selection, Oakland chose cornerback Phillip Buchanon from Miami.

Buchanon became a starter by the third game, but he broke his wrist the following week against the San Diego Chargers and was lost for the season.

With the 2002 Buccaneer second-round pick, the Raiders, choosing 53rd, selected offensive tackle Langston Walker, a 6-foot-8, 345-pounder from Cal, who has become a key reserve.

The other No. 1 pick is next season, the No. 2 in 2004.

-- Steve Springer

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