It's now a week until the Raiders take the practice field in Napa for the first time this year. And a couple weeks after that, they will suit up for their first preseason game. That puts us at 51 days until the season opener. And with that we look at the best to wear the number 51 in Silver & Black as well as who will be wearing it again next week.
Who wore it best: DE Lance Johnstone
Originally drafted by the Raiders in the second round of the 1996 draft. This pass rushing end played the first five seasons of his career in Oakland. Two of those seasons (1998-99) he started every game and had 11.0 and 10.0 sacks respectively.
Following the 2000 season, he left for Minnesota and played with the Vikings for five seasons. And again, he had consecutive seasons with double digits sacks - 10.0 in 2003 and 11.0 in 2004. After one more season with the Vikings he returned to play for the Raiders in 2006, reclaiming his number 51 upon his return. That was his final NFL season, calling it a career after 11 seasons. In total he had 72 career sacks, 31 of which came as a Raider.
Who's wearing it now: LB Ben Heeney
Heeney was selected in the fifth round of this year's draft out of Kansas. Though he grew up a Chiefs fan, he couldn't have been more excited the Raiders took a chance on him in the draft.
Last season Heeney racked up 127 tackles (88 solo) for the Jayhawks making him a unanimous selection for the All Big-12 First team as well as Honorable Mention Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.
He is a middle linebacker by trade and currently sits behind Curtis Lofton at the position. The 6-0, 231-pounder will provide solid depth at the position, carrying hopes