With NFL players often not even getting drafted until the age of 22, they have to show a lot of talent early on to make the NFL All-Under 25 team. With the high turnover the Raiders have had of late and the lack of success they’ve had in the draft the past few years, there weren’t any that made NFL.com’s list. That begs the question if they are any on this Raiders team who are even worthy of being mentioned.
In total, the Raiders had just six players currently under 25 who started the majority of last season and who are expected to once again start at their position this coming season — Gareon Conley (23), Arden Key (23), Kolton Miller (23), Daniel Carlson (24), Maurice Hurst (24), and Daryl Worley (24).
Of those players there is probably one who could currently have made a case to make the All-Under 25 team.
After a rough start with the Vikings who made him their 5th round selection, Carlson was cut and later signed by the Raiders. In ten games with the Raiders, he would miss just one field goal, going 16 of 17 including hitting his last 15 straight field goals. His 94.1% on field goals with the Raiders was 4th in the league among kickers with at least 7 attempts. The man who was named as the kicker for the All-Under 25 team was the Chiefs’ Harrison Butker who converted on 89% of his field goals this past season, missing one inside 50 yards and two outside 50 yards. Butker earns it based on his having converted 90% of his field goals last season as well. He is 62 of 69 in two years (89.9%) which is pretty damn good.
Unfortunately, with Carlson 24 hitting 25 next January, he won’t be eligible for this team next year either. But some other Raiders players will be.
Gareon Conley finished strong last season, but he too will turn 25 before the start of the 2020 season and thus not be in consideration for next year’s team.
So, who has the best chance of making a run at next year’s team?
Hurst showed some promise as a rookie, leading the team with 4.0 sacks. He also showed himself to be a sure tackler inside. Like all the Raiders interior defenders, they did their work with little to no help from the outside rush. As a result Hurst was subjected to double teams constantly. With the team putting up just 13.0 sacks and only one of them coming from a defensive end (Key) on the team at season’s end, the outside pass rush can only improve and Hurst’s play should improve with it. He should also benefit from having a season under his belt.
Other 2018 rookies like Key and Miller would have to do a near 180 on their disappointing rookie seasons to be in the mix. And, of course, there is always the chance one of the 2019 rookies could burst onto the scene, but it’s harder to predict that.