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Five Raiders players land on PFF Top 101

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Pro Football Focus has released their annual Top 101 players. The Raiders are well represented, placing five players on the list.

Tops among them, of course, is reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Khalil Mack, who lands at number 4. After that it was Kelechi Osemele at 46, Derek Carr at 50, Rodney Hudson at 69, and Donald Penn at 86.

The only Raiders players to return to the list from last year is Khalil Mack, who moves up two spots from 6th to 4th. Last year he was joined by the now retired Charles Woodson who came in at number 71.

Here is what they had to say about the Raiders on the list:

  1. Tom Brady, quarterback, Patriots
  2. Aaron Donald, Defensive lineman, Rams
  3. Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback, Packers

4. Khalil Mack, Edge rusher

Position rank: 1

Generating pressure is often not enough for some when it comes to judging pass-rushers — they need to see game-changing, impact plays. That’s the step forward Khalil Mack took in 2016. He won the game against Carolina for Oakland with an interception of QB Cam Newton on a simple quick screen, and then later by forcing a fumble on a strip sack to seal the result.

No player generated more pressure on quarterbacks than Mack did this season, but he also made the signature plays that Von Miller has made a habit of in the past; those moments had been relatively lacking from Mack’s tape in previous seasons. Khalil Mack was the game’s most complete edge defender this season, and a true impact player for the Oakland defense.

Best performance: Week 9 vs. Broncos, 97.2 grade

Key stat: Mack led the entire league with 96 total QB pressures.

46. Kelechi Osemele, Left Guard

Position rank: 3

Building through the draft is ideal, but you can put together an incredible unit if you’re willing to spend the right way through free agency. That’s what Oakland did on the offensive line, with Kelechi Osemele the marquee signing a year ago. He was a force in his first year at guard for Oakland, crushing people in the run game in one of the league’s most potent left-sided combinations next to LT Donald Penn. He didn’t allow a sack all season and surrendered a total of 11 QB pressures across more than 1,000 snaps of action.

Best performance: Week 1 vs. Saints, 84.5 grade

Key stat: Osemele surrendered 11 total QB pressures in 15 games.

50. Derek Carr, Quarterback

Position rank: 6

Derek Carr took another step forward in the development of his career in 2016, and had a very real MVP case for much of the season. An injured finger derailed his campaign, but then disaster truly struck for the Raiders when he was sacked and injured against the Colts in Week 16, ending his season and any hopes the Raiders had of contending in the playoffs.

Best performance: Week 1 vs. Saints, 87.9 grade

Key stat: Carr threw 25 touchdowns and only three interceptions when kept clean in the pocket, completing 67.1 percent of those pass attempts.

69. Rodney Hudson, Center

Position rank: 4

Oakland’s revamped offensive line has yet another member among the top 101 (Kelechi Osemele is at No. 46), and he’s another player that was acquired in free agency rather than the draft. Rodney Hudson was one of the most solid centers in the league, even if he wasn’t as dominant in the run game as some of those ahead of him. He was the league’s best pass-blocker at the position, allowing only nine total QB pressures all season and no sacks or hits on the quarterback.

Best performance: Week 12 vs. Panthers, 88.0 grade

Key stat: Hudson surrendered zero sacks or hits on the QB all season.

86. Donald Penn, Left tackle

Position rank: 11

Donald Penn’s season deserved a better finish than it had. He allowed one sack all season, and it happened to be the play that broke the leg of QB Derek Carr and effectively ended Oakland’s challenge for hardware. To make matters worse, Penn was then injured and forced to miss the playoff game in Houston, where he could have tried to minimize the impact of Carr’s loss. Penn was a dominant run blocker all season, destroying people that got in his way and allowing just four sacks or hits on the QB.

Best performance: Week 7 vs. Jaguars, 87.7 grade

Key stat: Penn allowed only one sack all season—the one that injured QB Derek Carr.

See the entire PFF Top 101 here.