Today ESPN set forth to not just rank teams as they currently look, but to project how good they'll be over the next three seasons. They did that by putting together a panel of three experts - John Clayton, Louis Riddick, and Mike Sando - and have them rate each team on a scale of 0-100 in five categories: roster (excluding quarterback), quarterback, draft, front office and coaching.
After all the results were in, they were able to rank each team by where they project they will perform over the next three years.
Here is how they explain how to categorize their process:
After averaging the results from the panelists, each of the five categories was weighted to create the overall score -- roster (30 percent), quarterback (20 percent), draft (15 percent), front office (15 percent) and coaching (20 percent). The result is a comprehensive rankings based on how well each team is positioned for the future.
Once quantified, the Raiders landed at 29th in the league, which is pretty much where they have been the past three years, which suggests these guys don't see the Raiders improving any time soon.
Here is what they had to say about the Raiders:
29. Oakland Raiders
2014 record: 3-13 (4th in AFC West)
AFC West future rank: 4th
Overall score: 56.5
The bar graphs reflect the average rating given by the voters for each category. Category averages are weighted by importance to generate overall score.
The overview: The Raiders climbed three spots overall after jumping from 26th to 16th in the quarterback category, a vote of confidence in Derek Carr. It seems surprising that the Raiders actually dropped two spots to 31st in drafting after landing Carr, Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper and others, but it's also true that the team's promising young players are not yet proven difference makers. The Raiders' remained 32nd in front office outlook, which seems fair given the Raiders' overall organizational instability. --Mike Sando
The dilemma: There's no doubt Carr needs to improve in his second season, but the key to the Raiders' future rests equally on the shoulders Cooper. The fourth overall pick in 2015, Cooper shines both on and off the field, and has everything you want from the face of the franchise. (He reminds me a little of former Raider great Cliff Branch in that sense.) In totality, Cooper is one of the best wide receiver prospects I have ever scouted, and for him not to deliver early -- and in a big way -- would be a major disappointment. --Louis Riddick
The youth movement: General manager Reggie McKenzie has put together two solid drafts, but this is still a roster with plenty of holes. The reason? Only three draftees remain from the 2011 and 2012 classes, and none are starters. In fact, the Raiders have given second contracts to only three draft choices since 2007. You'd expect that to change in the not-too-distant future: Mack and Cooper are two elite prospects, while Carr showed some promise as a rookie. --John Clayton
The three teams who ranked below the Raiders are the Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans, and Jacksonville Jaguars.
There are some odd discrepancies in the results as I see them. First of all, how could the Raiders draft rankings actually get worse despite what seems like the panel's realization of how good the Raiders 2014 draft was? They raised the Raiders QB grade due to 2014 draftee Derek Carr and then there's the phenomenal rookie season of Khalil Mack along with rookie starters Gabe Jackson, Justin Ellis, and T.J. Carrie. I mean, I get that the 2012 draft was a disaster and the 2013 drafts hasn't yielded much, but actually dropping in ranking from last year (to 31st) is a real head scratcher.
The coaching got worse?? Really? I'm not sure how that's even possible. Especially considering prior to last season, their own publication ranked Dennis Allen as the worst head coach in the NFL.
While it's hard to argue with their assessment on the front office allowing so many of the Raiders' home grown players go, along with their struggles in free agency, how can ANY front office be ranked lower than the 49ers right now? Or in Cleveland?
Here is the entire list in order:
17 St Louis Rams
22 San Francisco 49ers
29 Oakland Raiders
30 Cleveland Browns
31 Tennessee Titans
32 Jacksonville Jaguars
To see the entire article, click here (you have an ESPN Insider account to view it)