For the first time in a while, the Raiders finally appear to have had a great draft. Through three games of the NFL season, the Raiders have four rookies that rank in the top 50 rookies according to Pro Football Focus (membership required).
Khalil Mack (#2 overall, #1 linebacker)
Mack has had an awesome start to the season totaling 19 total tackles along with multiple quarterback hits and pressures. He has been the most impressive player on the Raiders defense. Mack also has the third best overall rating among 3-4 outside linebackers. At this point, he is leading the race for Defensive Rookie of the Year with Anthony Barr and Kyle Fuller close behind.
Derek Carr (#27 overall, #1 quarterback)
Even without a consistent receiving core and virtually no running game, Carr has managed to improve every week. This last game against the Patriots, he did a great job of stepping up in the pocket when pressure came from the outside. Carr also did a better job of pushing the ball downfield and led the Raiders to a game tying touchdown drive that was ultimately called back for a holding penalty on Gabe Jackson. He showed a lot of confidence and was not afraid to target star cornerback Darrelle Revis.
The second round pick has completed 68 passes (63%) for 588 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions (one which was not his fault).
Gabe Jackson (#34 overall, #5 guard)
Gabe Jackson had a great preseason which was one of the reasons the Raiders gave him the starting nod at left guard. His first two weeks of the regular season were awesome as he exploded off the line and did a nice job protecting Derek Carr.
But Jackson struggled last week against the Patriots giving up multiple run stuffs and a tipped pass. The icing on the cake came when Jackson was called for a holding call that negated Darren McFadden's touchdown and ended up being the difference between a loss and overtime.
Justin Ellis (#36 overall, #2 defensive tackle)
Ellis had a slow start week one against the Vikings with only one tackle. But he has picked it up since contributing five tackles and a run stuff the past two weeks coming off the bench. "Jelly" has made his presence clear up the middle and has been forced to fight off double teams because of his size. With Pat Sims and Antonio Smith in the twilight of their careers, Ellis could find himself starting next season.
To view the full rankings, visit Pro Football Focus if you have a membership.