Last year, the Oakland Raiders ended the season last place in the AFC West with a 3-13 record. This was their twelfth year having a losing season and finishing last. The Raiders have long been considered a team of veterans and older players. In the last few years, they have become a younger, improved team. Young teams tend to start slow but mesh together after a few years. It appears that the Raiders are starting to mesh and should not be taken lightly going into the 2015 season.
The Raiders have not had stellar performances at the quarterback position since they appeared in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2003. In fact, they have had nine quarterbacks since 2002. The team drafted Derek Carr out of Fresno State in the second round of the 2014 draft. At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Carr showed promise in his rookie year. He played every game in 2014 and ended the season with 3,270 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and 10 fumbles. The Raiders are hoping that Carr will be a long-term quarterback and boost the offense.
In an effort to provide Carr with more weapons at the wide receiver position, the Raiders drafted Amari Cooper out of Alabama and signed Michael Crabtree in free agency.
Former head coach Dennis Allen was fired last year after going 0-4. He was 8-28 as Oakland’s head coach. In the offseason, the Raiders hired Denver’s defensive coordinator of three years, Jack Del Rio, to be the new head coach. They hired Ken Norton Jr. as the defensive coordinator and Bill Musgrave as the offensive coordinator. Norton was the linebackers coach with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014. Musgrave served as the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. The changes in the coaching staff will make looking at film from last year almost impossible as a means to assess the 2015 Raiders.
After three preseason games, it appears that the defense is the more dominant aspect of the Raiders. Khalil Mack — playing predominantly at defensive end and some outside linebacker — is making quite the impression in the preseason. Mack was drafted in the first round in 2014 from the University at Buffalo. At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, he had 75 tackles for loss and 16 forced fumbles in 4 years with UB. Last year, the 24-year-old recorded 76 tackles, three passes defensed, one forced fumble and four sacks.
Despite what many of us would consider to be a difficult time – waiting this long for the draft to occur, that is – we are less than a week from the NFL’s premiere offseason activity. The cattle call that is the NFL draft will be taking place before you know it. I’ll be in New York City in the blink of an eye. I’m on a plane as we speak, heading to Charlotte to see my amazing children. Then it’s time to take over NYC and the NFL draft. ( Editor’s Note: I began writing this on 5/3)
This is a big year for the Chargers and Tom Telesco. After having what many of us consider to be a solid 2013 draft class, the hope is to replicate last year’s success. Telesco nailed three potential first rounders in the first three rounds of the draft in his first go-around as an NFL GM. Perhaps, the expectation level increases knowing that a player like Stevie Williams, a fifth-round selection, has yet to play in a regular season game. Tourek Williams made the occasional play as well, despite being a sixth round pick. Additionally, Brad Sorensen managed to stay on the ’13 roster as the third quarterback. That could say a lot about what the team has in mind for the former Southern Utah signal caller.
I find it safe to say that the 2013 draft was a success. And, I think that most people in here would agree. But does that put even more pressure on Telesco to trump his rookie attempt at building the team through the draft? Sure, I can get behind that kind of thinking.
Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Marcus Martin, C, USC
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
The NFL did a great job, in my opinion, of mixing up the prospects. So, the question remains, and I’ll leave it to you, is the next Charger going to be an invitee to Radio City Music Hall? Popular mock draft choices landing in America’s finest city such as Louis Nix III and Kyle Van Noy were not invited ( That is according to the above list which is credited to NFL.com).
Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Since it is the bye week and we have no Charger football to watch, I started to take an early look at the draft. I was looking at players “projected” to go between 15th and 25th to try and narrow down who we’d have a chance at. Defense is going to be an emphasis IMO, even with our need at LT. Our Defense is pathetic, esp at OLB, CB, and S next too Weddle, despite having decent defensive outings the past 2 weeks.
Here are the guys I will start keeping my eye on for the 1st round:
Khalil Mack, Sr. OLB Buffalo Sr. 6-3 250lbs (Estimated 40 time 4.64) Guy is a freak, yes it’s against mostly lesser competition but he is a freak none-the-less. In his first 3 seasons, he had 227 Tackles including a whopping 56 TFL, 18 sacks, 1 INT, 15 passes defended and 11 FF. He is a playmaker with a high motor and looks extremely strong. So far this year he has added 6 sacks, 2 INT’s (both returned for TD’s) 4 Passes defended and if I read correctly 8.5 more TFLs. And his best game of the season (9 tackles, 2.5 sacks, pick 6) was against Ohio State. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8cifq0S0yI
Kyle Van Noy, OLB BYU Sr. 6-3 240ish (Estimated 40 time 4.65) He is listed at 245 but looks closer to 235. Which makes him look smaller, but damn he is quick. He has a great 1st step and gets off the ball fast. He, like Mack, has been a disruptive force behind the line of scrimmage. In his first 3 seasons he had 156 tackles, 44.5 TFL, and 22 sacks while forcing 11 Fumbles. He has slightly better coverage stats than Mack with 14 Passes defended and 5 INT in his first 3 years. This season he has added 3 more sacks, 10 TFL, a pick 6 and 4 passes defended. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2tL4xUZP_8
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB Oregon Jr. 5-10 185 (Estimated 40 time 4.44) This guy is basically the opposite of Cox. He is fast, can tackle (big hitter), and makes plays happen. He is like “Peanut” Tillman for the bears. In his only season as a starter, last year as a sophomore, he had 4 INT’s, 20 passes defended, 63 tackles, and forced 6 fumbles. He also had 8 PD in his freshman year in a limited role. He is nfldraftscout.com’s #1 ranked CB if he declares. I’d love to see us grab this guy but I dont envy anyone having to try and announce his name next year haha. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM5-orWujdU
Marcus Roberson, CB Florida Jr. 6-0 195 (Estimated 40 4.48) Roberson has a better size/speed combination than Ekpre-Olomu but doesn’t appear to be as physical. He is more of a smooth cover corner. Based on what I’ve read is that Florida leaves him out on an island mostly matched up against opposing team’s WR’s and basically takes them out of the game, which explains his lower stats. He has 17 PD and 3 Ints in 2 years as a starter to go along with 45 tackles. He could stand to be a little more physical and needs to learn how to get off of blocks in the run game but has the size and skill to be a #1 CB and he is Florida’s main punt returner avg 12.2 ypr on 10 returns. The biggest downside to Roberson, he has missed at least 3 games both last season and this season with injuries. With the poor luck we have had with injuries, that might bee too much of a risk for TT and crew to pull the trigger. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqXfJtvVYW8
I don’t like the look of Bradley Roby who most people considered the #1 corner heading into this season. I have seen 3 of his games this season and in 2 of them he got destroyed deep and had multiple pass interference penalties. I also don’t see any Safeties that will be there when we pick in the first round that are worth a 1st rounder unless HaHa Clinton-Dix out of Alabama slips to us. Two other CB names to watch are Aaron Colvin(decent cover corner, good aggressive tackler) out of OU and Loucheiz Purifoy (good cover corner, special teams demon) out of Florida as well.