The Oakland Raiders nailed the draft in 2014, picking OLB Khalil Mack, QB Derek Carr and OG Gabe Jackson. The three have since gone on to be among the best players at their positions. In 2016, Carr was an MVP Candidate before getting injured and Mack was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
In 2015, the Raiders nailed it again, picking WR Amari Cooper and DT/DE Mario Edwards Jr. Cooper is the first Raiders WR in 11 years with over 1,000 yards and has done so in back to back years. And Edwards flashed dominance in 2015 as a rookie before an injury kept him out for most of 2016.
In 2016 the Raiders picked S Karl Joseph, who may be the best player in that draft. A torn ACL that caused him to miss most of his last year is the only thing that kept him from going higher. Joseph flashed as a rookie but wasn’t 10o percent and we can look forward to that this year.
Then in 2017, the Raiders picked CB Gareon Conley, SS Obi Melifonwu and DL Eddie Vanderdoes. Conley is a steal that should have gone in the top-10 if not for a case that should be resolved soon. Melifonwu is a big freak athlete that can play in the box and cover tight ends.
And Vanderdoes is a top-10 talent that played heavy last year due to a torn ACL the previous year. And of course, the Raiders have put together the best O-line in football mainly in free agency. The team has also added weapons in TE Jared Cook and big-play WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson.
Then of course, the Raiders had RB Marshawn Lynch come out of retirement to play for the Raiders. That is a huge collection of talent that would keep any opposing coach up all night. And San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame RB LaDainian Tomlinson is favoring them to win the AFC West.
I say San Diego because that’s where he played and he told Mighty 1090 AM:
“This year, Kansas City takes a step back so you still gotta put the Raiders up there at the top of the list because the talent that they have. A young nucleus of players that have grown together, that’s scary. So I think you go Raiders and everybody else [rest of AFC West] is right there.”