When taking a look at the Oakland Raiders roster, it is no surprise why they gained so much respect this season in the NFL. With two stars in the making and many strong players on the roster, the Raiders set the stage for their return to greatness with their 12-4 season.
With a roster featuring seven Pro Bowl players, the Raiders possess noteworthy players that have continually made a difference. Now that the NFL season has officially concluded, many notable football outlets have displayed their final rankings and thoughts on the 2016 season.
Pro Football Focus has assembled their own list, featuring rankings for their top 101 players from the 2016 NFL season. The rankings for Pro Football Focus featured 101 NFL players in total, with five Raiders making the cut.
Going in reverse order, the first appearance for the Raiders was offensive lineman Donald Penn, at No. 86 on the list. Penn was not ranked on Pro Football Focus’ list last season, with an impressive 2016 campaign.
The 33-year-old was selected to his second Pro Bowl this season, as a part of one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. His 10th season featured perhaps his best unit he has played with, as apart of a tremendous season.
Penn’s highlight of the season came during their matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as he was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass from Derek Carr in his return to Raymond James Stadium.
Next on the list was fellow offensive lineman Rodney Hudson. Pro Football Focus had him ranked 69th on the list, upon being unranked the previous season. The center for the Raiders was in complete sync during the 2016 season, with barely any miscues with Carr.
Perhaps the only problem occurred during the mishap with Carr and his dislocated pinky finger. The injury was on a botched snap, which Carr took responsibility for. Hudson was selected to his first Pro Bowl this season, as the six-year veteran is a part of the NFL’s highest paid offensive line.
Next on the list was the franchise quarterback of the Raiders, Derek Carr. His ranking came at a bit of a surprise compared to his teammates, as he was given the 50th spot. Although he was selected to his second Pro Bowl, Carr was also unranked on the previous list.
Carr has only improved with each season, as his third season in the NFL featured a MVP-caliber performance. The pinky injury put a damper on this MVP campaign, with the leg injury derailing not only his, but the Raiders season.
The 25-year-old enters a tricky offseason, as Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders attempt to sign their franchise quarterback for a price that both of them can agree on.
The fourth Raider to make the list was the third offensive lineman, Kelechi Osemele. The left guard of the Raiders did a phenomenal job protecting Carr’s blindside, as his addition bolstered and finalized the offseason for the Raiders.
His pairing on the left side with Penn created many holes for the running game this season, as they were a part of the offensive line that allowed the least sacks in the NFL. Upon spending four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, the fifth-year player took another step in the right direction in 2016, with his first Pro Bowl selection.
The last and highest ranked Raiders player on the list is All-Pro defensive player Khalil Mack. The third-year player wreaked havoc to all opposing defenses this past season, as he only got better as the season progressed.
He was ranked fourth on the list, finishing behind just Aaron Rodgers (No. 3), Aaron Donald (No. 2) and Tom Brady (No. 1). Mack actually managed to climb higher than his previous ranking (6), while putting together another dominant campaign.
Although Mack can be a free agent this season, expect the Raiders to exploit Mack’s option for the next season, that way they can have separate the signings of he and Carr.
The five Raiders selections by Pro Football Focus speak volumes to the job McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio have done in such a short time, as Raiders nation is truly excited for what the team has in store.