At one time, the Raiders were well known for being the place where players went to resurrect their careers. I chronicled these resurrections in my top ten Raider career resurrections on both offense and defense. To continue with that theme, we take a look at some current Raider players who are looking to add their names to that legendary list.
Though it was Al Davis who was known for taking chances on players other teams gave up for dead, Reggie McKenzie seems to have fit that glove pretty well already in his short time with the team. With the team's financial situation, he has needed to sift through the rough in the hopes of finding a diamond. Those new faces will add their names to the list.
Here are the top potential resurrection story candidates for the Raiders:
LB Aaron Curry- Curry was the most highly touted defensive player in the 2009 draft. He wowed scouts at the combine which only added to his already stellar numbers at Wake Forest. The Seahawks chose him with the fourth overall pick and after just two seasons as a starting outside linebacker, the team benched him and then traded him midseason to a willing partner in the Raiders. He started the remainder of the seasons and showed some flashes that he could be a good player for this team. He signed an extension with the team and if his progression continues, his contract could be for as much as five seasons.
G Cooper Carlisle- He's practically eligible for the resurrection list already. He had spent seven seasons in Denver but wasn't the fulltime starter until the last two. He has been the Raiders fulltime starting right guard for the last five seasons, missing just one game during that five-year span. And though he gets little respect from fans, he has been the most solid lineman the Raiders have had in a long time. The team would like to bring in some young talent to eventually replace him but who knows if/when that will happen?
CB Ron Bartell- The former second round pick, didn't break into the starting lineup until his third season. He had a nice five-year run in St Louis from 2007-10. But he broke his neck at the beginning of the 2011 season and instead of waiting to see if he could return to form, the Rams let him walk. He checked out physically and appears completely healed from his neck injury. The Raiders worked him out and signed him to a one-year deal. He is the odds on favorite to be the starter this season. From potential career over to starting job and new life.
LB Philip Wheeler- The former third round pick didn't become every game starter until last season. He didn't start a single game his 2008 rookie season and started 13 games over the next two. He will be looking to continue his progress with the Raiders. He had a career best 85 tackles in 11 starts last season and is the projected started at strong side linebacker for the Raiders this season. If he can rack up 85 tackles in 11 starts, it could spell great things for him over a 16 game season.
CB Pat Lee- Lee was a second round pick by the Packers in 2008. As a rookie, he was expected to compete for the third cornerback spot but after appearing in just five games that season, he was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. That same lingering knee injury kept him out all of 2009. He was on the Packers 2010 Super Bowl winning team but primarily as a kick returner. He is looking to prove he was worthy of his second round pick status as a corner with the Raiders.
RB Mike Goodson- This speedy back was taken by the Panthers in the fourth round of the 2009 draft and put in the role of kick returner. He stepped up in his second season as an injury replacement and ran for 452 yards with just three starts that season. But last season it was back to kick return duties and then he went out for the season with a hamstring injury. He wasn't in the Panthers plans so they traded him to the Raiders for the oft inactive Bruce Campbell. Goodson is hoping his new team will have a more active role for him.
OT Khalif Barnes- He started the whole season last year. It was his first season as a fulltime starter since 2008-his last in Jacksonville. He was a second round pick for the Jaguars and the fulltime starter at left tackle for his first four seasons in the NFL. But he was not cutting it and the team moved on. In his first two seasons with the Raiders, he struggled with the fact that he just wasn't good enough to be the starting left tackle. He has moved to right tackle (and tight end in a pinch) and started every game last season while Jared Veldheer holds down the left tackle job. As much as this team would like Joseph Barksdale to step up and take the RT job, it is possible that Barnes could continue to hold onto the starting right tackle job and make a comeback of his own.
QB Rhett Bomar- The Giants drafted Bomar in the fifth round of the 2009 draft and signed him to a four year contract. But he didn't make the opening roster. He was placed on the practice squad and the following season, the Vikings signed him away from the Giants. He was the team's third string quarterback until he was arrested for drunk driving and was cut. He is hoping to win a spot on the Raiders roster.
CB/KR Bryan McCann- The Cowboys signed McCann as an undrafted free agent in 2010 to compete for their kick and punt return duties. Things started out promising for him as he returned a punt for a touchdown in his rookie season. He also had an interception return 101 yards for a touchdown that season. But with his game breaking abilities also came fumbles-six of them. And once the team found a replacement, they cut McCann. And though in five games in 2011, he hadn't fumbled, he saw the Cowboys and Ravens both cut him. The Raiders then signed him to take over return duties for injured Jacoby Ford. He did not fumble once in 2011 and the Raiders placed a restricted free agent tender on him to keep him on the team this season.
CB Brandon Underwood- This former sixth round pick became quite a headache for the Packers. He had run-ins with the law on three separate occasions and the team finally grew tired of it and cut him. He was out of football all of 2011. If he can clean up his act, he may live up to the potential which had him appearing in 23 games in his first two seasons in Green Bay.
DB Curtis Taylor- Another former 49er, Taylor is a safety by trade but plays primarily on special teams. He has been placed on injured reserve in both of the last two seasons including missing the entirety of the 2011 season. He was a seventh round pick by the 49ers and played in 12 games over his first two seasons. He will be hoping to grab onto a backup safety position behind Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff. He would play a similar role to that of Hiram Eugene.