The Raiders have been really bad for a decade. They have went through head coaches like Taylor Swift has went through boyfriends. Unfortunately for Oakland, they can’t profit off them by writing a song (although Tom Cable rhymes with some adorable words).
Quarterback Derek Carr had a nice rookie season. His receiving corps got an influx of talent this offseason. They drafted Alabama’s Amari Cooper and signed Michael Crabtree. Carr didn’t have much talent to throw to last year, so I expect a lot from him this season.
The AFC West has been dominated off and on by everyone in the division BUT the Raiders. Can they surprise everyone and keep the division race close?
Here is the 2015 NFL team preview for the Oakland Raiders.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 3-13
Key Additions: WR Michael Crabtree, DT Dan Williams, OLB Malcolm Smith, ILB Curtis Lofton, S Nate Allen, KR Trindon Holliday, QB Christian Ponder, RB Roy Helu, RB Trent Richardson & S Taylor Mays
Key Losses: QB Matt Schaub, RB Darren McFadden, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, WR James Jones, WR Denarius Moore, C Stefen Wisniewski, OG Kevin Boothe, DE Antonio Smith, DT Pat Sims, OLB Lamarr Woodley, CB Tarell Brown, CB Carlos Rogers, CB Chimdi Chekwa, S Tyvon Branch, WR Vincent Brown, TE Scott Simonson & ILB Nick Roach
2015 Draft Picks: WR Amari Cooper, DE Mario Edwards Jr., TE Clive Walford, OG Jon Feliciano, ILB Ben Heeney, OLB Neiron Ball, ILB Max Valles, OT Anthony Morris, WR Andre Debose & CB Dexter McDonald
Non-Division Schedule: AFC North, NFC North & (Tennessee/New York Jets)
Fantasy Sleeper: RB Latavius Murray – Oakland looked like a professional football team when Murray started taking over the carries last season. It’s pretty easy to look great when Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew was stinking up the joint. Murray is a big back with nice speed. I know the Raiders also have Roy Helu, Trent Richardson and Taiwan Jones in camp, but Murray is on a different level than those guys (especially Richardson).
Offense – QB Derek Carr, RB Latavius Murray, WR Michael Crabtree, WR Amari Cooper, WR Rod Streater, TE Mychal Rivera, LT Donald Penn, LG Gabe Jackson, C Rodney Hudson, RG Khalif Barnes & RT Austin Howard
Defense – DE Justin Tuck, DT Justin Ellis, DT Dan Williams, DE Mario Edwards Jr., OLB Sio Moore, MLB Curtis Lofton, OLB Khalil Mack, CB D.J. Hayden, CB TJ Carris, SS Nate Allen & FS Charles Woodson
Team Analysis: Jack Del Rio was hired this offseason after the forgettable Dennis Allen/Tony Sparano era. Del Rio loves getting after the quarterback on defense and as a head coach, his teams have ran the ball a lot in the past. Derek Carr didn’t have a great surrounding cast in his rookie year. The Raiders spent the offseason getting him some new toys. They drafted the best receiver in the draft (Amari Cooper) and signed Michael Crabtree, who I feel his best football is still ahead of him. Del Rio could turn Khalil Mack into a Pro Bowl linebacker. The Raiders are in a tough division and will probably finish near the bottom, but they are much better than last year’s team. Carr will continue to get better and Cooper could win Rookie of the Year.
2015 Wins Over/Under Line: 6 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 7-9 (4th in AFC West)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.