RaiderRamble.com’s Robert Wykowski shares some brief thoughts on the Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are part of the ever competitive AFC West, meaning they’ll face the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs twice this season; a task that only gets harder each season.
If rising superstar quarterback Derek Carr can stay healthy, he can lead them to victory and even to a Super Bowl within the next few years; something that was unimaginable just three years ago when the team was the league’s doormat.
Teaming up with Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper, newly acquired tight end Jared Cook and captivating running back Marshawn Lynch, the team can put up a fight with anyone including the reigning Super Bowl champs. Ironically, the Silver and Black won’t have to wait too long to be tested as they’ll face the champs in what’s sure to be the biggest regular season game of 2017.
Carr’s protection is anchored by Rodney Hudson who was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs from 2011 to 2014 before signing a five-year $44.5 million contract with the Raiders, where he was ranked the best pass blocking center in his first season with them. Similarly, he played all 16 games and every snap of the 2016 season while being named to his first Pro Bowl. This past season, Hudson did not allow a single quarterback sack or hit, and it was the second straight season in which he held the league’s highest Pass Blocking Efficiency with a 98.9 rating in 2016, and 98.7 in 2015.
Another member of Oakland’s offensive line, Kelechi Osemele started his career with the Baltimore Ravens before striking a deal with the Raiders in 2016. As a member of the Raiders, he was elected to his first Pro Bowl and was named First Team All-Pro this past season. In the same manner, he was also ranked #95 on the NFL Network’s Top 100 list in 2017. At the guard position, Osemele allowed 11 total pressures and had a pass block efficiency of 98.6, which was tied for 5th place among guards and centers in 2016. Moreover, Kelechi was one of four guards that didn’t give a sack last year.
In his third season with the Raiders, defensive end Khalil Mack has established himself as a two-time Pro Bowler, named First-team All-Pro twice, and won defensive player of the year in 2016. Mack has totaled 226 tackles and 30 sacks in his three seasons in the league. During the 2016 campaign, he recorded his first interception against Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and returned it six yards for a touchdown. He was also able to force five fumbles and recovered 3 of them and helped lead the Raiders to their first playoff appearance since 2002. Furthermore, Mack was also named #5 in the Top 100 players list in 2017.
With Hudson and Osemele protecting Carr and giving him time to make the right calls on offense along with the help from Mack by making big stops on the defensive part, extraordinary things will happen.
I believe the Raiders can make a big playoff run and possibly make it to the Super Bowl within the next five seasons; perhaps becoming the NFL’s next dynasty, whether the league likes it or not.