Continuing our roundup of the NFL season just gone it is time to review the performance of the Oakland Raiders.
Record : 3-13
Finish : 4th AFC West
Draft Picks :
Round 1 Pick 5 - Khalil Mack (Linebacker)
Round 2 Pick 36 - Derek Carr (Quarterback)
Round 3 Pick 81 - Gabe Jackson (Guard)
Round 4 Pick 107 - Justin Ellis (Defensive Tackle)
Round 4 Pick 116 - Keith McGill (Cornerback)
Round 7 Pick 219 - Travis Carrie (Cornerback)
Draft Pick Grades : B
The first three draft picks all look to have been hits. Linebacker Khalil Mack looks like a stud. Derek Carr has franchise quarterback potential and Gabe Jackson looks like he could be a solid starter on the offensive line for years to come.
Best Player : Charles Woodson
Full Back Marcel Reese may have been the Raiders' only pro-bowl selection but he wasn't the best Raider of the season. That award goes to veteran free safety Charles Woodson.
Aged 38-years-old and still going strong Woodson had four interceptions on the season and capped off Oakland's best performance of the season when his interception led the Raiders to a win over the 49ers.
Worst Player : Matt Schaub
The Raiders had lots of money to spend in free agency last year and for reasons that can never be properly explained in a rational universe they choose to flush a lot of money down the garbage disposal by paying Schaub $4.5 million fully guaranteed salary and a $3.5 million signing bonus.
Schaub never started a game for the Raiders but he did become the NFL's most expensive holder. Fittingly, his most memorable moment in an Oakland shirt was throwing a pick on an attempted fake field goal against the Browns.
Season Grade : C-
Despite some preseason whispers out of Oakland that the Raiders were Championship contenders every non-biased sane person knew that the Raiders weren't going to be doing anything in 2014.
Given that expectations were set so low then it is unsurprising that the Raiders managed to meet them with a second two thirds of the season that saw the team pick up three wins and remain competitive against everyone but the Rams.
Hope for the future?
It may have been a pick that a 10 year old would have made but taking Khalil Mack with the fifth overall pick was a home run. In his first season in a poor team Mack has looked like a future all-pro and, barring injury, he will anchor the Oakland defense for years to come.
On top of Mack, and perhaps more importantly, there is also the rookie season of second round choice QB Derek Carr. Out of all the quarterbacks taken in this years draft Carr had the most encouraging season. In particular he seems to have adapted quickly to the mental aspect of playing in the NFL.
If Carr can continue to develop and become a franchise QB of at least Andy Dalton quality then the Raiders will have taken a huge step to becoming competitive and relevant again. Add in a new coaching staff and a potential move to the giant media market of LA and the future will at least be interesting for Oakland Raider fans.
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