Football Outsiders: Raiders top ten in talent under 25

Oakland Raiders receivers Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey warm up before a game at coliseum (photo by Levi Damien)

Football Outsiders has compiled a list of the top talent under the age of 25 by team.

Here are the criteria we used to come up with their rankings:

  • The number of games in 2011 started by players under the age of 25
  • Whether or not a team's young starters last season were simply injury replacements
  • The number of 25-or-younger first-team All-Pros a team has on its roster
  • The extent to which a team's 25-and-under talent plays impact positions in the passing game
  • Whether or not a team has a talented, young quarterback
  • The amount of value a team added in the 2012 draft
  • A team's recent track record of developing and retaining young talent

With those criteria in mind, the Raiders stable of young talent came in highly regarded. Here is what they had to say about the Raiders and their under 25 talent.

9. Oakland Raiders

The Raiders got the second-least expected value out of the 2012 draft, so their ranking here is based almost exclusively on the under-25 talent of 2011. Aside from DE Lamarr Houston (25) and middle linebacker Rolando McClain (23), that talent is on offense. In the running game, Darren McFadden has built up quite a résumé when healthy and is only 25 years old. C Stefen Wisniewski (23) anchors the blocking in front of him. Both starting wide receivers also qualify for our list. Although nearly certain to be a draft bust given expectations, 2009 first-rounder Darrius Heyward-Bey "broke out" in his third season, improving his DYAR ranking by 42 spots. The revelation, however, was 2011 fifth-round pick Denarius Moore, who will start at split end opposite Heyward-Bey and figures to be the beneficiary of Carson Palmer's proclivity for deep passes. Further helping matters is LT Jared Veldheer, who gave up only 2.0 blown-block sacks in 2011.

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This evaluation doesn't include Tyvon Branch who is 25 years old and have been a starter since his rookie season for the Raiders. He just received a big contract to remain a Raider for four more seasons. Hard to say if Branch was factored in here and simply left off the explanation or if his contribution was somehow overlooked.

Other under 25 talent who may not qualify for the list based on the criteria but are certainly standout players under 25 include Matt Shaughnessy, and Jacoby Ford.

So it seems new GM Reggie McKenzie and his love for draft picks should be pretty satisfied with the group of original young Raiders already on the team.

The entire top ten stacked up like this:

1. Patriots

2. Lions

3. Bengals

4. Buccaneers

5. Packers

6. Eagles

7. Titans

8. Panthers

9. Raiders

10. Houston Texans

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