Top 5 Raiders Players in 2016
Elias Trejo – Jan 4, 2017
The 2016 NFL season is over and the Raiders had one of their most successful seasons in a very long time. This season brought some memorable moments and some tough breaks as well. The Raiders ended up with a 12-4 record which was good enough for second in the AFC West and has them as the No. 5 seed heading into the playoffs. The "easiest" draw for a wild card match up was definitely the Texans, so the Raiders have an opportunity to extend their season this weekend.
Before I start previewing the Raiders vs Texans game this weekend I want to list our top five players of the 2016 season.
5. Bruce Irvin
Irvin has had a strong year for the Raiders in his first season with the team. He is second on the team behind Khalil Mack with seven sacks and he leads the league in forced fumbles with six. His presence on defense has done a lot to benefit Mack and his abilities to make plays has been huge for the Raiders.
Irvin came in and was immediately an emotional leader for this team. Adding a player of his caliber made everyone else step up. His 57 total tackles are the best of his career and his seven sacks are his best total since his rookie season. There is no doubt that the move to Oakland was beneficial for both the Raiders and Irvin. He was definitely one of the most valuable players on this team.
4. Kelechi Osemele
The Raiders had a pretty successful free agency again this offseason and one of the best acquisitions was bringing in Osemele. He has been a complete beast as he has been knocking the shit out of opposing defensive players all season. He is so violent sometimes, that defenders are calling abuse hotlines immediately after the games are over to report what just happened to them. Now they know why they call this man KO.
The Raiders ended the season with the sixth best rushing attack in the league. That's a huge improvement over last season in which they finished 28th overall. Osemele helped solidify an offensive line and many feel the Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in football. There is no doubt that Osemele will be a vital part of the Raiders success moving forward and he was definitely a big reason the Raiders had a top 10 offense.
3. Michael Crabtree
Crabtree just finished one of the best seasons of his career. In fact his first two years in Oakland are the best two year stretch he's ever had in his career. This year he ended with a team leading eight touchdown passes, which was good for ninth overall in the league. His 1001 yards were the second most of his career and his 89 catches led the team.
Crabtree has enjoyed many clutch games this season that included a game winning 2-point conversion against the Saints and a three touchdown performance against the Ravens in Baltimore. His relationship on and off the field with Derek Carr appears to be paying off for Crabtree. Many fans wondered whether the Crabtree signing was a good a idea and he has done more than enough to turn the doubters into fans.
2. Khalil Mack
Mack seems to be the leader for the Defensive Player of the Year award this year. His dominance as a player goes well beyond his sack numbers. He finished with 11 total sacks this year which puts him among the leaders in the NFL. His 73 combined tackles lead all defensive ends in the league. Mack is no doubt one of the emotional leaders on the team and at only 25 years old Mack has a bright future ahead.
This year he has definitely been everywhere for the Raiders. He ended the year as the top rated edge rusher at ProFootballFocus.com. Mack's come up big for the Raiders all season. He's done everything from a pick-six, a game ending strip-sack and stuffing runners in the backfield. Mack is no doubt the best skilled player on this Raiders team and it should be that way for years to come. It appears the Raiders might have a Hall of Famer on their current roster.
1. Derek Carr
This really shouldn't be a question. Carr was by far the MVP of the team this year. Not only was he great for most of the season, but he picked up the players around him and made them better. Carr's importance to the team was made clear after he went down with a broken fibula. The team appears lost and let the Colts get back into the game after they were completely destroying them.
Carr was having the best year of his young career and was being mentioned in the league MVP conversation. His 3937 passing yards were the second most of his young three year career. Perhaps most impressive were his six interceptions this year. He only threw an interception on 1.1% of his passes this year. Last year he threw 13 interceptions which were 2.3% of his passes. His 63.8 completion percentage was the best of his career and his 28 touchdowns were his second most.
Carr became a lot more accurate and purposeful with his passes this year. He is definitely on his way to becoming elite as he is leading this Raiders franchise out of the black hole. That is what makes his injury even more heartbreaking. For the first time in a long time the Raiders make the playoffs and have a quarterback that gives them the chance to beat anyone. Unfortunately for Carr, his season ended in week 15 and the Raiders must finish this season without him.
It's no doubt that Carr was the MVP of the team this year. Who did we miss on this list? Let us know.
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