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ESPN doesn’t expect much from Raiders in the near future

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Las Vegas gets low power ranking in three-year look

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders
Maxx Crosby
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN recently conducted an NFL power rankings for the next three years.

It’s typical July fodder and is simply meant for a good time. It truly doesn’t mean a thing and Raiders fans should keep that in mind because they didn’t fare very well ...

Las Vegas was ranked No. 19 in this long-term power ranking. Most recent 2020 power rankings I’ve seen have the Raiders ranked in the 20-24 range. Sadly, ESPN’s long-range prognosis for the Raiders isn’t much better.

I tend to disagree. I’d rank the Raiders higher in this long-term ranking, and would probably go into the 12-15 range.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders
Josh Jacobs
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 draft class — featuring the likes of running back Josh Jacobs, pass-rusher Maxx Crosby, safety Johnathan Abram, tight end Foster Moreau and slot receiver Hunter Renfrow, among others — has a chance to be be great. The team is excited about their 2020 draft class as well.

There is a young nucleus here and the Raiders don’t have many holes. Plus, they are in sound salary-cap shape for the long term.

Las Vegas is poised to become playoff contenders soon and, most importantly, stay playoff contenders. The key, of course, is the growth of the defense and quarterback play. If Derek Carr plays well, he will be the Raiders’ quarterback for the next three years.

Perhaps that’s why ESPN is worried about the Raiders’ near-future — due to a lack of belief in Carr. But the Raiders are building around him, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raiders out-perform ESPN’s expectations.

The problem, of course, is that the Chiefs are primed to be champions again in the next three years. Also, if Drew Lock and Justin Herbert develop nicely for the Broncos and Chargers, respectively, the entire AFC West is going to be strong. But that’s out of the Raiders’ control. If they take care of their business, they will have a chance to make a big step in the next three seasons.