The Oakland Raiders, on the heels of back to back stellar draft classes, have returned to respectability. Adding yet another elite draft class this spring would put them in postseason contention. General Manager Reggie MacKenzie is on the way towards building a winner.
Although below .500, their 7-9 finish in 2015 is still a marked improvement from where this once proud franchise has been lately. The Oakland Raiders haven’t won a division title or finished above since 2002. In those past 13 years, they’ve managed just two 8-8 seasons (2010, 2011).
Everything else has been brutal in the black hole during this past decade and change.
That is changing though. Look no further than the late season win at Denver, and think about that a bit when you wach the Super Bowl this Sunday.
Oakland Raiders Quarterback Derek Carr is for real. He’s a top ten QB in the NFL. Khalil Mack is a cornerstone. He’s the best young defender in the game right now, and don’t be surprised if a year from now, or two years from now, we’re regarding him at J.J. Watt’s level among the game’s best defensive players.
Amari Cooper made the Pro Bowl in his rookie year. Mario Edwards, you know what he brings to the table. That’s all built through the past couple drafts, one more good class and they’re in the thick of it it again. 2015 was about respectability. 2016 will be about having a winning record.
In 2016, they should probably prioritize offensive tackle or cornerback above all else in the draft. Both tackles are unrestricted free agents, so that could be a major need area. How about Michigan State’s Jack Conklin?
“Adding Conklin who played left tackle and played it very very effectively for MSU, he’s an outstanding football player,” said Mel Kiper Jr.
“Conklin would be a great pick and then you wait to add the corner, a lot of great corners have gone second or third round. That’s a position where there’s going to be some really good ones dropping into the second and third round.”
So maybe Conklin at #18 and then say Notre Dame’s KeiVarae Russell in the second or third round? Sounds good to me.
Kiper on the overall direction of the Oakland Raiders and what they have built through the draft.
“You got to feel this draft (2015), along with the one that they had leading up to it has allowed the Raiders to be a team that you have to believe can be in playoffs next year. If Carr continues to evolve into one of the better young quarterbacks in the league, and they add an offensive lineman like Conklin, and then a cornerback or two, they’re well on their way.”
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