This is the team everybody is talking about, and it is understandable. Oakland has not made the playoffs since losing Super Bowl XXXVII to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all the way back in Feb. 2003, so the drought is very real.
The offseason was certainly good to the Raiders, who went out and signed a plethora of quality starters. Last year, the defense was a major problem in Oakland and general manager Reggie McKenzie worked on that issue, signing outside linebacker Bruce Irvin, corner Sean Smith and safety Reggie Nelson.
Offensively, the Raiders didn’t lose anybody of note and were able to retain left tackle Donald Penn after making guard Kelechi Osemele the highest paid player ever at his position.
In the draft, Oakland seemed to feel defense was the order of the day once more. Karl Joseph is the one player who appears to be a starter from day one, slotting in next to Nelson. Joseph is coming off a serious knee injury, but shows some serious skills in coming up against the run and playing against tight ends in man coverage.
Bottom line: Oakland is much better in certain spots. The main question is depth and whether it can stop the run.
Projected record: 9-7
Next: Denver Broncos