As the only win-less team in the NFL eight weeks into the season, there typically isn't a whole lot of good news floating around. On Wednesday, however, Raider Nation did get a dose of positivity when rookies Derek Carr and Khalil Mack were named to NFL.com's midseason all-rookie team.
Even better, Carr and Mack were deemed good enough to be headliners in the article entitled, "Watkins, Carr, Mack top 'Midseason All-Rookie Team'"
Among quarterbacks, Carr had some competition from fellow starters Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater, but here is what Marc Sessler had to say about his decision to honor Carr:
Blake Bortles will be a star in time, but Carr has been the most impressive rookie to date. Earning rave reviews for his poise under pressure, Carr's big arm has opened up opportunities downfield in a way Matt Schaub never could. He remains a work in progress on a bad team, but Carr doesn't kill the Raiders with wild throws into coverage. ... Bortles has a cannon and plus mobility -- I struggled leaving him off this list -- but the Jaguars arm has thrown a league-high 12 picks in just five starts. ... Teddy Bridgewater is next on my list.
In reality, the decision to honor Carr probably wasn't a difficult one from a statistical perspective. While you could argue that an 0-7 quarterback doesn't deserve much recognition, Carr ranks even with or ahead of Bortles and Bridgewater in passing yards (1,517), touchdowns (9), interceptions (5 — tied with Bridgewater) and QB Rating (82.0).
On defense, Mack joins Anthony Barr as the two outside linebackers, a decision Sessler summarizes here:
Mike Pettine called Khalil Mack the reason Cleveland couldn't rush the ball on Sunday. The rookie's run-stopping grade is twice as high as the next best player at his position, per Pro Football Focus. He hasn't generated numbers as a pass-rusher, but Mack's rapid development is a much-needed victory for Oakland's embattled front office.
Pretty self-explanatory, there.
I think Sessler summed up Oakland's reaction to this article pretty well in his final sentence above, when he recognized this as a "much-needed victory" for the Raiders.
Then again, I think the Raiders are wondering when these two are going to start producing actual victories.
Should they remain on the All Rookie 1st team at season's end, it would be the second straight year a Raiders player was named to the team. Sio Moore made the All Rookie 1st team last season.