Oakland Raiders Could Be One of NFL’s Biggest Surprises in 2013-14

Although they did not come away with a win, the Oakland Raiders’ showing this past Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, led in large part by quarterback Terrelle Pryor, was impressive to say the least.

After another offseason of roster rebuilding, and a much needed one at that, little was expected from this silver and black team.

In fact, it had become extremely common in the vast majority of early 2014 draft projections to have the Raiders selecting at No. 1 overall, with the league’s worst record.

While the Raiders are far from a Super Bowl contender, and still a ways away from competing for a playoff spot as well, Sunday’s performance against a playoff caliber team like the Colts could very well have them on track to be one of the NFL’s surprise teams in 2013. 

Since taking over the reins of the organization, general manager Reggie McKenzie’s efforts to get the team out of an unprecedented salary cap situation resulted in many highly-paid, but key players, being released and traded.

Yes, the roster’s overall talent level took a significant hit as a result, but McKenzie was able to make a number of key acquisitions during this past offseason through both free agency signings and what was really his first full draft.

Looking at the additions, even considering some of the talent lost in the process, the argument can be made that the Raiders managed to upgrade in what have been several problem positions in recent seasons.

This seems to be the case most evidently on the defensive side of the ball, and especially so in the linebacker corps and the secondary.

Adding a completely new starting group of veterans at linebacker in Nick Roach, Kevin Burnett and Kaluka Maiava, with rookie Sio Moore rotating in for the time being, gives the unit much more balance and versatility than seen in years past.

Having Tracy ...

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