Mount Rushmore of Raiders Offensive Linemen

Parsing out a top four offensive linemen in Las Vegas Raiders history is incredibly tricky. They have had three Hall of Famers (not including Bob Brown and Ron Mix) and several others enjoyed multiple All-Pro seasons. As a matter of fact, the honorable mentions here would be on a lot of other teams’ Mt. Rushmores.

Honorable Mention

Lincoln Kennedy, Right Tackle 1996-2003

In his seven seasons with the Silver and Black, Kennedy went to three Pro Bowls and was a two-time All-Pro. He is dangerously close to being on the actual Mt. Rushmore, but was barely beaten out by one of his teammates.

Don Mosebar, Center 1983-1995

Mosebar flew under the radar for being part of some less-than-stellar teams for a good portion of his career. However, he still made three Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl in his rookie year.

Rodney Hudson, Center 2015-Present

Hudson has been phenomenal since ditching the Chiefs for the Raiders in free agency. He has been to three Pro Bowls and was a second-team All-Pro in 2019. If he keeps this level of play up for another three to five years, he could find his way onto Mt. Rushmore.

Now, to the top four.

Related: Top Overlooked Raiders Players: Marv Hubbard

Steve Wisniewski, Guard 1989-2001

  • 8x Pro Bowler
  • 2x first-team All-Pro
  • 6x second-team All-Pro
  • NFL 1990s All-Decade team

Wiz’s accolades speak for themselves. In his 13 years in the league, he absolutely dominated. He is considered one of the greatest NFL offensive linemen of the 90’s, an era that had no shortage of generational talent in the trenches. Wisniewski is the only player on this Mt. Rushmore not in the Hall of Fame. However, he is more than deserving of enshrinement. It’s likely his exclusion is due to his reputation for being a dirty player, which I think is unfair.

Jim Otto, Center 1960-1974

  • 3x Pro Bowler
  • 2x first-team All-Pro
  • Second-team All-Pro
  • Hall of Famer
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time team

In his 15 seasons, Otto became both a Raiders and an NFL legend for his exceptional play while wearing his iconic ’00’ jersey. He played through the entire existence of the AFL and was named to the league’s All-Time team. Also, he has become somewhat of a folk hero in NFL lore. In reality, Otto was an undersized center (6’2″, 255 lbs) and wasn’t even the team’s best offensive lineman for the latter part of his career. However, he is a fan favorite and played an important part in the history of the league. For those reasons, Otto holds off Mosebar and for now, Hudson.

Gene Upshaw, Guard 1967-1981

  • 2 Super Bowl rings
  • 6x Pro Bowler
  • 3x first-team All-Pro
  • 5x second-team All-Pro
  • NFL 1970s All-Decade team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time team
  • Hall of Famer

Where should I even begin with Upshaw? The man earned pretty much every honor there is and deservedly so. He was dominant for 15 years and is one of the greatest offensive linemen of all time. Throughout the ’70s, Upshaw was half of an unstoppable duo on the left side of the line with the last guy on our Mt. Rushmore…

Art Shell, Tackle 1968-1982

  • 2 Super Bowl rings
  • 8x Pro Bowler
  • 2x first-team All-Pro
  • 2x second-team All-Pro
  • NFL 1970s All-Decade team
  • NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time team
  • Hall of Famer

Shell and Upshaw are locks to be on this Mt. Rushmore permanently. If you were doing a Mt. Rushmore of all NFL offensive linemen, you could make strong arguments for both of these men. Shell spent his entire 15-year career with the Raiders, holding down the most important position on the offensive line. While most teams typically run the ball to the right side, the ’70s Raiders won a lot of games by pounding the ball to the left. This was in part because of left-handed quarterback Ken Stabler, but primarily because of the sheer dominance of Shell and Upshaw. Those two are probably number 1A and 1B in terms of greatest Raiders offensive linemen ever.

If you have an issue with any of my picks here, feel free to call me out on Twitter at @blackman_dalton and we can fight about it.

All stats and accolades courtesy of Wikipedia and Pro-Football-Reference.

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Top photo: Bill Smith/Getty Images

 

 

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