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Raiders rookies don some legendary numbers

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Karl Joseph, Oakland Raiders

Organized team activities are in full swing in Alameda with the Raiders' rookie minicamp starting on Friday. With their drafted and undrafted rookies already on the field along with their veteran teammates, they were issued their numbers, which they hope they can wear for a good long time.

As is always the case with the Raiders, many of those numbers were once donned by a Silver and Black legend. Here are all the newly signed rookies and the great Raiders player whose name was once above it.

Karl Joseph (Round 1) - 42

Raider legends: Ronnie Lott, Eric Turner

Some thought the Raiders might give Joseph the number 24 with Charles Woodson retired. But, it would appear the team is going to let that number breathe for a bit before giving it to anyone else. Instead, Joseph got the reverse of 24.

Ronnie Lott played just two seasons with the Raiders, after a Hall of Fame career with the 49ers. He wore the number 42 his entire NFL career.

Eric Turner played three seasons for the Raiders, two of which as number 42 before switching to 29. His life was cut short at the age of 31 of intestinal cancer.

Jihad Ward (Round 2) - 95

Raider legend: Marquis Cooper

Another Raiders player whose life ended too soon. He was killed at sea in a tragic boating accident in 2009. Though he spent just one season with the team, it was the last jersey he ever wore in the NFL. And his former teammates wore his number on their helmets in memoriam the following season. Some believe ‘War pigeon' was his spirit taking flight alongside his special teams mates one more time.

Shilique Calhoun (Round 3) - 91

Raider legends: Chester McGlockton, Justin Tuck

There's a tragic theme to these numbers thus far. McGlockton too died young (enlarged heart), though he had long since retired from the NFL. A former first round pick (16 overall) by the Raiders in the 1992 draft. He spent six seasons with the Raiders, starting every game for his final five seasons. In that time, he averaged over 9 sacks a season, went to four Pro Bowls, and was named All Pro once.

Tuck spent just two seasons in Oakland, but prior to this year's draft, Calhoun mentioned Tuck as one of the players he modeled his game after. Being drafted by the Raiders just after Tuck retired allowed Calhoun to have the honor of being the next to wear the number of the player he most admired.

Connor Cook (Round 4) - 8

Raider legend: Ray Guy

A couple years ago, the number 8 for the Raiders was finally one that was recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with Ray Guy's induction by the senior committee after voters kept him out for 23 years. This former first round pick transformed the punter position in the NFL. He spent 14 years with the Raiders, helping them win all three of their Super Bowls.

DeAndre Washington (Round 5) - 33

Raider Legend: Kenny King

King joined the Raiders via trade in 1980, just in time for him to help lead them to the Super Bowl. Not only was he named to the Pro Bowl that season, he would play the hero on that Super Bowl as well with a then record 80-yard touchdown catch. It put the Raiders up 14-0 over the Eagles and the Raiders took the game running away. The following season he ran for 826 yards with 1044 yards from scrimmage. With the drafting of Marcus Allen, King moved to fullback helping the Raiders would win another Super bowl.

Cory James (Round 6) - 57

Raider Legend: Jerry Robinson

The one-time Pro Bowl linebacker joined the Raiders in 1985 where he spent the final 7 years of his career. In the five seasons from 1986-90 he was an everyday starter, first at outside linebacker and then inside linebacker. In total he appeared in 101 games with 72 starts including playoff games.

Vadal Alexander (Round 7) - 74

Raider Legend: Tom Keating

He joined the Raiders in his third NFL season and was immediately named an AFL All Star. In his second season, he was All AFL. That season he helped the Raiders take the AFL crown and reach Super Bowl II. In total Keating played seven seasons in Oakland. Keating, alongide Big Ben Davidson, Dan Birdwell, and Ike Lassiter, led the league with fewest rushing yards allowed and fewest yards per carry allowed.

Alexander wore number 74 at LSU and with his request for the number with the Raiders, Mitch Bell agreed to switch to number 65.

Undrafted Free Agents

K.J. Brent, WR, Wake Forest - 80

Raider legends: Jerry Rice, Zach Miller

He spent just over three seasons with the Raiders at the end of his career, they were great years. And come on, he's Jerry Rice. He put up 1139 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns in his first season in Oakland at the age of 39. Then he improved on those numbers the following season at the age of 40 with his best numbers since his All Pro 1996 season and in doing so made a trip to the Pro Bowl and helped the Raiders reach the Super Bowl.

Zach Miller from 2008-10 led the Raiders in receiving, becoming the first tight end to do that since Todd Christensen in 1985.

Number 80 was worn the past four seasons by Rod Streater; another undrafted free agent. Streater's success as a Raider, bodes well for any undrafted free agent to sign with the Raiders. Brent and other will get their shot. Streater signed with the Chiefs as a free agent this offseason.

Ross Burbank, C, Virginia - 62

Raider legend: Reggie Kinlaw

Back in the days when nose tackles were a bit lighter, the 6-2, 245-pound Kinlaw manned the middle of the Raiders defensive line. The Raiders chose him in the 12th round of the 1979 draft and he was the fulltime starting nose tackle for them for both of their Super Bowl wins in the 80s, playing a total of six seasons with the Raiders.

James Cowser, LB/DE, Southern Utah - 47

Raider legend: Tyrone Wheatley

The Raiders ground and pound back in Jon Gruden's offense of the late 90s and early 00s. He ran for over 1000 yards in 2000 to help the Raiders reach the AFC Championship game and was the smash to Charlie Garner's dash in the Raiders' Super Bowl season in 2002. Over six seasons with the team, he sits eighth in team history with 3682 rushing yards and fourth in rushing touchdowns with 34.

Kenneth Durden, CB, Youngstown State - 40

Raider legend: Pete Banaszak

A fifth round draft pick by the Raiders in 1966, this bruising fullback spent his entire 13-year career in Oakland. In his second season with the team, they were in the Super Bowl. The Raiders would be a playoff team for 10 of the next 11 years. In 1975, Banaszak led the team with 672 yards rushing. The following year, the Raiders would win the Super Bowl. He is the Raiders' sixth all-time leading rusher with 3772 career rushing yards. His 47 career rushing touchdowns are second most in team history behind only Marcus Allen (79).

Antonio Hamilton, CB, South Carolina State - 32

Raider legend: Marcus Allen, Jack Tatum

In just his second season he helped lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl where he had probably the greatest run in Super Bowl history for a 72-yard touchdown in a win over the Redskins. In total, he ran for a then Super Bowl record 191 yards and was named Super Bowl MVP. From there he went on to make four-straight Pro Bowls (six total), including being named NFL MVP in 1985. He still holds the Raiders all-time marks in rushing yards (8545) and rushing touchdowns (79). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

I'm sure if Hamilton were to aspire to NFL success as a defensive back, "The Assassin" would be more fitting. Tatum was one of the most feared defenders in NFL history. He started all 120 games he played for the Raiders over six seasons. He is still tied for 5th in team history with 30 career interceptions.

Johnny Holton,  WR, Cincinnati - 16

Raider legend: Jim Plunkett

Two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Raiders and was named Super Bowl MVP in the first one. His 12,665 passing yards is 4th most in franchise history. He threw 80 touchdowns to 81 interceptions. Oh, but those Super Bowl wins. He was clutch when it mattered most.

Drew Iddings,  DL, South Dakota - 69

Raider legend: Khalif Barnes

More legendary might simply be the number itself. But Barnes did wear it for seven seasons with the Raiders, starting at one point or another at every position on the Raiders line except center.

Darius Latham, DT, Indiana - 79

Raider legend: Harry Schuh

A former third overall pick by the Raiders in the 1965 draft, he locked down the right tackle spot for the Raiders for six seasons. In that time, he missed just one game, was named to the Pro Bowl three times and All AFL once. Schuh protected the right side to allow Daryl Lamonica the time to earn his nickname "The Mad Bomber" and lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl in 1967.

Max McCaffrey, WR, Duke - 83

Raider legend: Ted Hendricks, Willie Gault

Nicknamed "The Mad Stork", Hendricks joined the Raiders as a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker and two-time All Pro in his first six years with the Colts and Packers. He would add four more Pro Bowls with the Raiders and two more All Pro nods, but most importantly he was a key part of all three of the Raiders Super Bowl wins. He never missed a game in his 15-year Hall of Fame career.

Being that McCaffrey is a wide receiver, he could aspire to the level of success Willie Gault had as number 83. He speant six years in Silver & Black, appearing in 94 games with 69 starts and catching 149 passes for 2,985 yards and 17 TD's.

Tony McRae, CB, North Carolina A&T - 17

There's no point in talking about this number. There are no legendary players to have worn it and if McRae makes the team as a cornerback, he will have to switch numbers anyway.

Ryan O'Malley, TE, Pennsylvania - 85

Raider legend: Carlton Oats

Oats and played 8 seasons for the Raiders from 1965-72, appearing in 103 regular season games, and 9 playoff games. From 1968-70 he was the team's every day starting defensive tackle.

Oni Omoile, G, Iowa State - 67

Raider legend: Russell Maryland

The Dallas Cowboys chose him number one overall in the 1991 draft. His rookie season marked the first year of the Cowboys dynasty in the 90s winning three Super Bowls in his five seasons in Dallas. He signed with the Raiders in 1996 and in four seasons he missed just one start.

Greg Townsend Jr, DE/OLB, USC -- 94

Raider legend: Anthony Smith

Recently convicted of several murders, it's tough to put his name here. Smith spent 8 seasons with the Raiders, posting double digit sacks in each of his first three seasons (10.5, 13.0, 12.5) and finishing with 57.5 career sacks. He wore the number 94 with distinction, which is important to separate from the kind of distinction of which he is now more well known.

Greg Townsend Sr wore number 93 and was quite a sack specialist himself, with 109.5 career sacks, spending 12 seasons with the Raiders.

Kyrie Wilson, LB, Fresno State - 44

Raider legend: Marv Hubbard

He spent eight seasons with the Raiders from 1969 through the Raiders first Super Bowl season ni 1976. Four of those seasons he was the team's leading rusher, and three times he was named to the Pro Bowl. He is currently the Raiders fifth all-time leading rusher.