In the past two days both CBS Sports and Pro Football Focus put out ‘Top 25 NFL player under 25’ lists (I guess it’s just the thing to do). And there was nary a Raider among them. Raiders fans will probably have beef with at least one omission, but you can’t really be too upset. The Raiders haven’t gotten much from their younger players lately.
Of all the Raiders players under 25, the only one you could make even a quasi legitimate argument for is Amari Cooper (23). Coop had over 1000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons, going to the Pro Bowl both years. He also took a big step back last season, leading the league in drops (11) right up until the very end of the season and catching just 48 passes for 680 yards.
After Coop, the dropoff in under 25 talent on the Raiders is steep.
The other day 1-2 draft picks in the past three drafts are Mario Edward Jr, Clive Walford, Karl Joseph, Jihad Ward, Shilique Calhoun, Gareon Conley, Obi Melifonwu, and Eddie Vanderdoes.
Of those, only Karl Joseph has been a regular starter. Edwards, Conley, and Melifonwu have all missed significant time with injuries. And Ward and Walford aren’t even on the team anymore. There are no other lower draft picks or undrafted free agents even worth mentioning.
Should Amari Cooper have a bounce back season, he’s still young enough he could make the list next year. And with Conley (22) figuring to see more than a game an a half in his second season, he could have a shot as well.