Recently, we ran a five-part series at SilverandBlackPride asking readers which player from the '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s and 2000s they would add to the current 53-man roster. Part of that exercise was also to suggest which player they would cut in order to make room. While there were fantastic suggestions throughout the various eras, few cut a member of the 2016 squad. Nevertheless, let's take a look at these blast from the past Raiders and see how they'd fit into the upcoming playoff push.
1960s — "Big Ben" Davidson
Of the many great players to adorn the Silver and Black from the organization's inaugural decade, many fans got behind Willie Brown and Jim Otto. But possibly the meanest Raider of the 1960s narrowly edged them out in fan voting — Ben Davidson.
Davidson was drafted by the NFL's NY Giants as a fourth rounder in 1961, but was traded to the Green Bay Packers that year during training camp. The following training camp, he was traded to the Washington Redskins, where he played two seasons before being waived.
The Oakland Raiders picked him up in 1964 and he flourished under coaches Al Davis, John Rauch and John Madden until 1972.
At 6'8" and 275 pounds Davidson was a towering and ferocious, three-time Pro Bowl defensive end that epitomized the team's historic renegade attitude. He may be best known for a hit he put on Kansas City quarterback Len Dawson in 1970 that would turn the tide of the Raiders season and ultimately lead to the Silver and Black winning a division title.
On Nov. 1, 1970, the then-champion Chiefs led the Raiders 17-14 with little time on the clock and the Raiders had no time outs remaining. On third-and-three or four, Kansas City could run out the clock if they picked up a first down. Dawson ran a quarterback keeper and after gaining enough yardage to earn a first, fell to the ground of his own volition. Not touched down, Davidson came full bore and speared Dawson in the lower back, prompting a melee. The refs called off-setting personal fouls, replay third down. Oakland stopped them cold on the ensuing play and forced a punt. George Blanda would then seal a 17-17 tie on a 50-yard field goal.
Oakland would defeat Kansas City later in the season and win the AFC West with an 8-4-2 record, topping the Chiefs' 7-5-2 in classic Raiders fashion. Davidson was also a member of the fabled Raiders "11 Angry Men" defense that reached Super Bowl II.
On today's roster, Davidson would likely play right defensive end and be the bookend to All Pro Khalil Mack.
1970s — Jack "The Assassin" Tatum
The voting field was very close between beloved quarterback Ken Stabler, tight end Dave Casper and Ted "The Mad Stork" Hendricks. But ultimately, fans gave a slight edge to one of the game's greatest hitters — John David "Jack" Tatum.
Tatum was a two-time All American and Heisman Trophy candidate at Ohio State before being drafted by The Oakland Raiders with the 19th overall pick in 1971. During his nine years with the Raiders, Tatum collected 30 interceptions playing free safety, and another seven picks during his final season with the Houston Oilers. His physical play and crushing hits earned him the nickname "The Assassin" and helped make the 1970s Raiders the most feared defenses in professional football.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl XI champion was involved in two unfortunate plays during his outstanding career — the Immaculate Reception and injury to New England's Daryl Stingley. As Raider Nation is fully aware, Tatum's hit on Pittsburgh's "Frenchy" Fuqua caused a deflection that was mistakenly ruled a catch by officials and led to the Steelers winning an AFC Divisional playoff game in 1972, as John Madden later pointed out.
The legal hit on Stingley during an exhibition game with the Patriots resulted in the wide receiver being paralyzed. While the injury was inadvertent, many believe the backlash has kept the legendary defensive back from being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
After his 2010 death in Oakland, the Raiders released a statement that: "Jack Tatum was the standard bearer and an inspiration for the position of safety throughout college and professional football."
On today's roster, he would likely replace free agent acquisition Reggie Nelson and be a mentor for Karl "The Hitman" Joseph.
The 1980s — Bo Knows
Fan voting from previous decades came down to hair splitting tallies between legendary Raiders. Such was not the case with the 1980s, as Bo Jackson was an overwhelming favorite.
Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson was drafted No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986. However, he declined the Bucs and went on to play Major League Baseball. However, Al Davis of the then-Los Angeles Raiders traded for Jackson's rights and basically redrafted him as a seventh round pick in 1987. Davis persuaded Jackson to become a two-sport, professional athlete and split time between the Raiders and Kansas City Royals.
I personally saw Jackson take his first NFL carry in Foxboro Stadium against the New England Patriots on Nov. 1, 1987. It was a surreal moment in which one player (Bo) was simply moving faster than everyone else on the field. I recall the huge burst of cameras throughout the stadium when Bo touched the ball. The Raiders eased him into the season that day with eight carries for 37 yards.
Unquestionably Jackson was one of the greatest athletes of the 20th Century, if not of all time.
On today's roster, he would replace Latavius Murray as the starting running back and make Oakland an immediate Super Bowl contender.
The 1990s — "Mr Raider" Tim Brown
Timothy Donell "Tim" Brown won the Heisman Trophy at Notre Dane in 1987, and was taken No. 6 overall by the Los Angeles Raiders in 1988. The nine-time Pro Bowl wideout and return specialist finished his illustrious career ranked sixth among wide receivers all time. He played both in L.A. and Oakland during his 16 years with the Raiders and posted nine consecutive 1,000-plus-yard seasons. His most productive season came in 1997 when he hauled in 104 passes for 1,408 yards. However, his hey day with the franchise would come in the early 2000s as part of a receiving tandem with Jerry Rice and league MVP quarterback Rich Gannon. It would be the last hoorah for the Raiders as Super Bowl contenders before the lean years began in 2003.
On Today's roster, Brown would likely share the receiving duties with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree in more three-receiver sets. Brown was adept at splitting wide or playing the slot. The trio would be overwhelming.
The 2000s - Nnamdi Asomugha
Drafted No. 31st overall by the Raiders in 2003, Asomugha was the last great shutdown corner to wear the Silver and Black. However, it was not until 2006 that he had the breakout season that elevated his status to elite in the football world. During the 2006 campaign, he posted eight interceptions, 50 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. The highlight of the season came against the Pittsburgh when he stunned Ben Roethlisberger with a 24-yard, pick-six in the first quarter. The Raiders would go on to win 20-13 on the strength of two interceptions for touchdown and a pair of Sebastian Janikowski field goals.
During his eight-years in Oakland opposing quarterbacks feared him to the point they swallowed their pride and stopped throwing in his direction. He earned three Pro Bowl nods as a Raider before signing a big money contract with the Eagles in 2011.
During his prime, Asomugha was the prototypical bump-and-run corner in the tradition of great Raiders cornerbacks.
On today's roster, Asomugha would likely force Sean Smith to the slot. Although Smith was a highly touted free agent acquisition, David Amerson emerged as a near-shutdown cover corner last season, posting 25 passes defensed and four interceptions in 14 games and 12 starts with the team. Asomugha's presence would likely elevate the unit exponentially and considering the talented front seven, Oakland would again have a top tier defense.