There is still close to four months to go until the start of the 2014 season, so you know what that means, time for your Oakland Raiders 2014 offseason power rankings!
Here’s how this is going to work: throughout the year, I’m going to make a top 25 ranking of the best and most important players on the Raiders roster along with their decision makers. You don’t have to agree with me, and I’m not expecting you to all of the time, but here is who I view as the most crucial and important members of the team as of today.
The order will go in reverse, so I’m going to countdown from 25 to 1 in reverse order. I’ll be posting my new rankings after the first week of training camp, at the end of preseason, and after each 4 games during the regular season.
THE AL DAVIS MEMORIAL HONORABLE MENTION AWARD:
RB George Atkinson III
You have to admit it was cool when the Raiders signed the undrafted Atkinson, whose father played for the Raiders from 1968-1977, winning Super Bowl XI and remaining in the organization for all of these years. While he’s a longshot to make the team, Raiders fans shouldn’t have any issues with him doing everything he can to defy the odds during training camp.
MISSING THE CUT:
RB Darren McFadden
If this were based on talent or potential, he’d be on the list. Since this is based on reality and the fact that he can’t stay healthy, he’s missing the cut. I invite your to prove me wrong, McFadden by staying healthy and reliable.
CB DJ Hayden
Hayden was drafted 12th overall last year and had a very difficult season. He should have performed better given the investment by the team. He needs to prove himself by having a strong training camp and preseason or he will be risking becoming a complete bust.
LS Jon Condo
While he is very important, I can’t justify putting a long snapper in my top 25. Not yet at least.
QB Trent Edwards
Just wanted to remind you that he is somehow amazingly on an NFL roster! How is this possible? Props to Edwards for continuing to get paid.
MAKING THE CUT
25. RB Kory Sheets
I told you that this will be controversial! Here me out—do YOU really think McFadden and Jones-Drew stay healthy for the entire season? Me neither, and mark my words, Sheets was the most underrated signing of the offseason. After leading the CFL in rushing and becoming the Grey Cup MVP, he returns to the Bay Area with something to prove and a chip on his shoulder. Sheets will be playing a role in the Raiders success or failures for the upcoming season.
24. OT Menelik Watson
23. DB Taiwan Jones
22. DB Carlos Rodgers
21. LB Kevin Burnett
20. DB Tarrell Brown
Brown was a very underrated signing for the Raiders and was a solid player on the vaunted 49ers defense.
19. WR Denarious Moore
18. TE Mychal Rivera
17. K Sebastian Janikowski
Probably should be ranked higher considering how important special teams are, however he’s getting old and shaky.
16. WR Rod Streater
15. DB Charles Woodson
Leave your emotions at the door, Woodson is old, yet still has enough in the tank to be a key contributor.
THE VETERAN QB
14. QB Matt Schaub
THE CHOSEN ONE
13. QB Derek Carr
Schaub will be the Raiders starter, however, this is going to be Carr’s team and he will be given the keys at some point in the not too distant future. He could potentially be the Raiders most important player in 2-3 years.
12. RB Maurice Jones-Drew
Long in the tooth, but a great starting RB with a great mindset. Needs to stay healthy.
11. DT Antonio Smith
THE TOP 10
10. LB Sio Moore
Moore starts off in the top 10 due to his importance to the success or failure of the team as the leader on defense. While many will find this rating way too high, he is expected to take a major step up this upcoming season.
9. COACH Dennis Allen
It’s put up or shut up time for Allen, and I’m putting him in the top 10 for now and depending on the job he does this year, he will be rising or falling down the list.
8. OL Stefen Wisnewski
7. LB Nick Roach
6. LB LaMarr Woodley
THE TOP 5
5. OL Donald Penn
4. WR James Jones
3. DE Justin Tuck
2. FB Marcel Reese
If the Raiders are to be successful this year, the four preceding players need to have monster seasons and stay healthy.
1. GM Reggie McKenzie
What an offseason for McKenzie, with crucial free agent signings and a critically acclaimed draft. For now, he is the most important person involved with the team and his future relies on the success and failure with the upcoming season.