The Raiders go into training camp in late July with three players ranked among the top 100 in the NFL.
Defensive ends Khalil Mack (No. 16) and Bruce Irvin (No. 85) and quarterback Derek Carr (No. 60) are the Oakland players included in this year’s annual list put together by the NFL Network.
Yet the Raiders took a step back from a year ago, in which four players were on the list – with Mack and Carr rated much higher.
In 2017, Mack was No. 4 and Carr was No. 11. Also on the list in 2017 was wide receiver Amari Cooper at No. 53 and guard Kelechi Osemele at No. 95.
The choices and rankings this year reflect the Raiders’ rough year in 2017, with the Raiders slumping from a playoff team to 6-10. Carr had a rough season, as did Cooper. Mack was still a force, but didn’t have the sack total he had the year before. Osemele was still terrific, but the offensive line as a whole wasn’t as good.
Irvin, however, made the list for the first time as a Raider after having eight sacks and forcing four fumbles last season as a linebacker. This year, he’ll be lining up at defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.
Even though Carr will be trying to rebound, he’s already had a strong start to his career. He’s been on the Top 100 list three consecutive times. He first was selected at No. 100 in 2016.
Now playing for new head coach Jon Gruden, Carr says he expects to have a much better season in 2018. He told reporters this offseason he hopes Gruden “is hard on me” to raise his game to a higher level.
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Source: NBC Bay Area