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Derek Carr elevated his play in all ways last season after a solid rookie campaign in 2014. Last year he completed 61% of his throws for 3987 yards with 32 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. He has all the tools, swagger and knowledge to be the next elite NFL quarterback for the next decade. He has good, young receivers to get the ball to and has the respect of his teammates. Expect continued growth this season.
McGloin played a lot as a rookie in 2013 and actually put together pretty solid numbers for an undrafted, non-heralded quarterback from
Penn State. He completed 56% of his passes with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Last year in limited play, he completed 23 of 32 passes for 142 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. He is not a bad backup for the Raiders.
I was a little surprised that the Raiders used a draft pick on a quarterback but there is a lot to like about Connor Cook. He has great size, a live arm, played in a great system and has all the tools to stick around the NFL although what role he will have behind a young and talented Derek Carr I have no idea.
Murray is a huge running back at 6'3 and 230 pounds and he had his first 1000-yard rushing season last year with the Raiders. and he has a surprising burst of speed with cutback ability to go along with that size. He was not as effective last year with his bigger role however as his rookie campaign and his yards per carry dropped from 5.2 to 4.0. He also caught 41 passes but only for 232 yards. He needs to elevate his yards per touch to reach the next level but his skill set does intrigue. Finished as the tenth best fantasy running back last year and he could elevate from there.
I love rookie Deandre Washington and his potential as a role running back at the NFL level. He has great hands, a great burst, a quick twitch and can do a lot of good things for NFL teams although he is not capable of being an every down back at the next level. Expect him to have an immediate role as a 3rd down back.
Helu has good size, quickness and ability but it has never come together in his NFL career and he did next to nothing with the Raiders last season. Taiwan Jones has good quickness but doesn't look like he has the skill set to become a full time running back at this level. Fullback Marcel Reece averaging almost 40 receptions a season over the last four years giving him some value in PPR leagues.
The Raiders found themselves an elite receiver in Amari Cooper. Built like a running back with a terrific burst, good agility, powerful and a good route runner, Cooper caught 72 passes for 1070 yards and 6 touchdowns in his rookie campaign.. The best young receiver brought into the fold with the Raiders since Tim Brown, his stats will only progress in year two. Could be a 90-reception and 1300 yard guy this season.
Veteran Michael Crabtree was brought over from the San Francisco 49ers last year and he didn't disappoint with 85 receptions for 922 yards and 9 scores. He has great hands and is an amazing underneath pass route player. He compliments the explosive Cooper well.
Seth Roberts, an undrafted receiver from West Alabama became a surprise option for the Raiders passing attack last year, catching 32 passes for 480 yards and 5 touchdowns. Great size and good body control helped him to become a dependable target and he should continue to have a role this season.
Andre Holmes has terrific size at 6'4 and 210 pounds and has had some nice moments in the NFL. He has surprising speed and quickness but his questionable hands keep him from reaching the next level. He did have 4 touchdowns on his 14 receptions last year.
Last season saw former starter Mychel Rivera slide down the depth charts with the rise of rookie Clive Walford of the U. Rivera has done a solid job as a former 6th round pick but last year his numbers fell to 32 receptions for 280 yards and only a single score, his worst numbers by far in his first three seasons. Walford on the other hand caught 20 passes in the final eight games of the season for 235 yards and looked more explosive and dynamic than his teammate. Both offer a nice one-two punch here but Walford has the better upside of the two players. Both are solid pass receiving tight ends and gives the Raiders some freedom in their offensive formations they can attack defenses with.
Projected Starters: LT Donald Penn, LG Gabe Jackson, C Rodney Hudson, RG Kelechi Osemele, RT Menelik Watson
Key Backups: Austin Howard 6, Vadal Alexander - rookie, Matt McCants, Jon Feliciano
The Raiders are trending upwards in a number of key areas including along the offensive line. Donald Penn is one of the best left tackles in the NFL and his experience and talent anchor this group. Gabe Jackson is a very good guard on one side with free agent signing Kelechi Osmele (formerly of the Ravens) at the other guard position. The only real battle taking place here is between Austin Howard and Menelik Watson and it is a 50/50 guess at this point which player will win out. I love how this group fits together and the Raiders will be able to run block and pass block equally well. Rookie draft pick Vadal Alexander from LSU should provide decent depth as well.
While the Raiders took a lot of ridicule for drafting a kicker in the first round back in 2000, Janikowski is now a
sixteen-year veteran who has only missed two games in his career. In fact he is the only 1st round pick still active in the NFL. He has hit on 363 of 448 field goals with the Raiders.