To mark 100 days until the 2016 NFL season opener, ESPN put out 100 predictions. Many of which are pretty interesting. The Raiders ones... not so much. In total there were two Raiders predictions among the 100. Well, one was not really a prediction at all. But here they are:
36. The first time Raiders QB Derek Carr has a rough stretch in a preseason game, a certain segment of fans will call for rookie Connor Cook to supplant Carr. Hey, the backup QB is usually the most popular guy on the team, right? -- Paul Gutierrez
My take: So, saying a faction of fans will do what fans always do is a prediction? As far as 'going out on a limb' is concerned, that's more of a stump.
88. Raiders CB D.J. Hayden will respond to the challenge and solidify his standing as the starter ... in the slot. Not exactly a first-rounder's standing, but it's progress, yes? -- Paul Gutierrez
My take: A slot corner is rarely a starter. Only twice last season did the Raiders start three corners with the third corner playing more than 50% of the snaps: Week 11 vs Detroit (Amerson 62%), and week 15 vs the Green Bay (Hayden 84%).
In that week 15 game against the Packers, Hayden was merely the third cornerback option. When he was in the game, he played the boundary with Carrie playing the slot, just as has been the case throughout Hayden's career. Hayden doesn't play the slot. He never has, despite many thinking he could be headed there. But, I guess we'll see.
There were actually some interesting predictions in there. Here are the ones that stood out to me:
9. Better wrap your head around the idea: Mark Sanchez will be the quarterback who opens the regular season for the defending Super Bowl champs unless injury gets in the way. And the Broncos are just fine with that because, frankly, they like him more than you'd think. -- Jeff Legwold
12. The Seahawks have not heard the last from Marshawn Lynch. Able-bodied players generally don't walk away from good money. Seattle would have to activate or cut Lynch if he chose to return, an awkward situation after the team drafted three running backs. -- Mike Sando
14. Blaine Gabbert will take first-team reps at quarterback for the 49ers through most of training camp. Coming off three surgeries, Colin Kaepernick isn't getting the chance to pick up the pace of Chip Kelly's offense. Gabbert looks in control of the offense at the moment, running plays every 20 seconds. -- John Clayton
15. But this is far from a settled QB situation in San Fran, so I'm betting the 49ers will start three different quarterbacks at some point this season. Gabbert, Kaepernick and Jeff Driskel will all get time for Chip Kelly. -- Field Yates
20. Chiefs LB Justin Houston won't begin the regular season on the active roster. Despite the optimism that he can be ready when the season starts, Houston had ACL surgery in February and such a speedy return is unlikely. -- Adam Teicher
60. No player has ever had to explain why 105 catches and 1,304 yards receiving were a "step back" like Demaryius Thomas has this offseason. But book it, Thomas' offseason work showed he's poised to be a problem for opposing defenses. -- Jeff Legwold
84. Terrelle Pryor will make the Browns' roster as a receiver, and will run, catch and throw the ball for Hue Jackson this season. -- Pat McManamon