At times throughout the 2015 season, the Oakland Raiders flashed moments of brilliance, youth and talent as they marched their way to a 7-9 record this season. With what appears to be a franchise quarterback in Derek Carr, the Raiders will look to build on a foundation of talented young players to be more competitive in the AFC West. There are still plenty of questions surrounding where they will be playing their home games in the future though.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Quarterback, wide receiver
Quarterback: Derek Carr is the real deal, and his second season improved on his rookie year. If he can continue to perform at this level, Oakland could become a high-scoring offense; assuming the rushing attack can improve to relieve some pressure off of Carr. He threw for 3,987 yards, 32 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and had a 91.1 quarterback rating in 2015. Another thing that the Raiders accomplished because of the offense was turning a 3-13 record from 2014 into a 7-9 record this season.
Wide Receiver: With Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree as the top two wide receivers in Oakland, the Raiders now have two deep threats and are only one above-average wideout away from making it a nightmare for opposing defenses trying to cover them all. Cooper averaged 14.9 yards per catch and Crabtree a respectable 10.8 yards per catch, and the team appears to have found a third receiving option in rookie Seth Roberts.
Pass defense, possible relocation
Pass Defense: There aren’t many weaknesses that standout other than the pass defense. Khalil Mack was able to rack up 15.0 sacks by himself this season, and the Raiders tallied 38.0 sacks as a team. The biggest issue was that Oakland had a hard time stopping quarterbacks throughout the season and it ended up being their downfall. Safety Charles Woodson is retiring and they will need to bolster the defense with players that are capable to shut down opposing quarterbacks and receivers. Oakland ranked 22nd in overall defense but 26th against the pass after allowing an average of 258.8 passing yards per game.
Possible Relocation: The Raiders pulled their relocation request and the St. Louis Rams were awarded relocation to Los Angeles, but there is still a chance that Oakland will lose the Raiders. They share a stadium with the Oakland Athletics (MLB), and it is a dilapidated stadium at best. If San Diego stays put, Oakland is likely to head to L.A. and join the Rams. But if the Chargers move to L.A., the Raiders may head to San Diego. There has also been talk that they could end up in San Antonio, Tex.
Players to Re-sign:
P Marquette King
LB Aldon Smith (suspended)
T J’Marcus Webb
WR Andre Holmes
2016 Free Agent Targets ($67.9 million projected cap space)
RB Matt Forte
WR Alshon Jeffery
WR Rishard Matthews
CB Janoris Jenkins
CB Pacman Jones
S Eric Berry
S Eric Weddle
2016 NFL Draft First Round Targets (No. 14 pick)
OT Jack Conklin (Michigan State)
CB Mackensie Alexander (Clemson)
CB Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech)
RB Ezekiel Elliot (Ohio State)
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AFC West: San Diego Chargers