Next up in the countdown to the Raiders season opener is number 96. That means we look back at the best to ever wear that number in a Raiders uniform and who is pulling it over his pads for the Raiders today when they hold their mandatory minicamps.
Who wore it best: DT Darrell Russell
Like Anthony Smith before him and Greg Townsend before him, Darrel Russell took the torch as the next great Raider sack master. The Raiders made him the second overall pick in the 1997 draft out of USC. By his second season, he was living up to that billing. That season he had 10.0 sacks from the defensive tackle spot. Those sacks and his 64 tackles (58 solo) earned him All Pro honors. He would be named to the Pro Bowl the following season as well with 9.5 sacks.
He appeared in every game his first four seasons with the Raiders, starting every one of those games after his rookie year. That's when things began to fall apart for Russell. His fifth year, he popped positive for a banned substance and was suspended four games. After that season, he tested positive again and was handed a one-year suspension. That was the end of his career with the Raiders. He would play in one more season in 2003 with the Redskins. Then in 2005, his life tragically ended in a fatal car accident.
Who's wearing it now: DE Denico Autry
Autry was signed prior to last season as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State. After spending the first part of the season on the practice squad, he was called up to the active roster and played in ten games as a rookie.
He was part of a thin defensive end rotation last year and it isn't much deeper now than it was then, which means has just as good of a shot at once again earning a place on the team this season.