Why Oakland Raiders’ 2014 Draft Class Is the Foundation of Franchise

Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie doesn’t get enough credit for bringing in a spectacular 2014 draft class.

The Raiders have been the Internet pinata hit with mockery and disparaging remarks all over Twitter: 

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but Raider redemption is upon us. Soon masses of bandwagon fans will dust off their old Tim Brown jerseys or buy new Derek Carr jerseys to pledge an artificial allegiance to a franchise on the rise.

True fanbase loyalty doesn’t always come with winning. It comes from the belief your franchise is doing the right thing to bring home a coveted championship, sometimes with constructive criticism. While it’s way too early for Raider Nation to yell “Super Bowl or bust,” it’s time to take the Silver and Black seriously. Reason points to a solid draft class poised to become a cornerstone of the franchise.

Let’s put down the pompoms and look at the potential impact the 2014 class brings piece by piece.


Elite Defensive Play and Pass-Rusher?

Many people would say outside linebacker Khalil Mack was a can’t-miss pick, but the same was said about quarterback JaMarcus Russell when he was the consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft. Obviously, top-five picks aren’t always a given in terms of immediate or any type of impact at all.

Mack ranked as the best 4-3 outside linebacker as a rookie, per Pro Football Focus, but he isn't content with that accolade. He wants to make a bigger splash as a game-changer, per ESPN.com’s Jeffri Chadiha: 

"I definitely want to get after the quarterback more this year," Mack said. "I got some hits [in 2014], but people didn't really see what I can do. Those sack numbers I had really weren't me. At the end of the day, you want people to see you at your best." 
Article Source: Bleacher Report - Oakland Raiders