Earlier this week, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt released his ranking of the top ten rosters in the NFL according to talent level. The Raiders came in at #4 overall, behind the two Super Bowl teams and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s what Brandt had to say about the current construction of the Oakland roster:
4) Oakland Raiders
Last season, the Raiders had seven Pro Bowl players, the most of any team. The roots of this roster go back in part to 2014, when they selected three blue-chippers: quarterback Derek Carr, defensive end Khalil Mack and right guard Gabe Jackson. Veteran free agents Marshawn Lynch and Jared Cook will add even more punch to an offense that already boasted top-flight receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. The biggest hole is at middle linebacker, where fifth-round pick Marquel Lee has as good a chance as anyone to start. Oakland really helped itself with the draft, selecting top-10 talent Gareon Conley at cornerback, while last year's first-round pick, safety Karl Joseph, should take another step forward in his first full, healthy season.
What a difference a competent general manager makes. Just a few years ago, the Raiders’ roster was one of the five least talented in the league due to awful drafting and worse free agent signings. But GM Reggie McKenzie has turned the team into a contender and the media is completely on board the Raiders train.
With the Patriots at #1, the Cowboys at #5, the Giants at #6, the Chiefs at #8 and the Indigenous Persons at #10, the Raiders play half of the top ten on this list during the regular season, and the chances are pretty good that they’ll play the Steelers (#2) and/or the Patriots in the postseason. So we all get to see how the Raiders’ roster does against the best competition in 2017.