We are now a week away from the Raiders training camp report day. But still 52 days from the first meaningful football being played. That means we profile the best Raider to suit up in the number 52 as well as the man currently sporting that number.
Who wore it best: LB Kirk Morrison (2005-09)
This Oakland native and Bishop O'Dowd High School star was chosen by the Raiders in the third round of the 2005 draft out of San Diego State. Captain Kirk started every single game over five years with the team. During that time, the middle linebacker was a tackling machine, averaging over 126 combined tackles, and 100 solo tackles per season.
Ultimately the Raiders would look to upgrade from Morrison so they drafted Rolando McClain (whoops) in the first round and later in the draft traded Morrison to Jack Del Rio's Jaguars to move up from the fifth round to the fourth so they could draft Jacoby Ford. Morrison played just one season in Jacksonville, starting all 16 games. After that he spent a couple seasons as a reserve linebacker in Buffalo before calling it a career after eight seasons.
Who's wearing it now: LB Khalil Mack
From one KM to another. This KM was chosen at fifth overall last year and took the NFL by storm as a rookie. He is easily the Raiders best defender and probably the best player on the entire team. A dominant run defender and pass rusher, he deserved to be the Defensive Rookie of the Year winner as well as a spot on the Pro Bowl. But his omission from those honors don't affect how great he was last season.
The number on his jersey means something to Mack. He chose 46 in college at Buffalo because that was his EA Sports NCAA Football rating coming out of high school. He chose 52 in the pros because that's the number Ray Lewis wore and that's who Mack emulates as a player. And he does that number and Lewis justice (so to speak) with the way he wears it. If he can have a season similar to last season while bringing his sack numbers up, he will be a Pro Bowler and probably take over as the best to wear the number 52 for the Raiders.