X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

NFL Oakland Raiders

5 Unheralded Oakland Raiders Who Must Step Up in 2014

1 of 11

5 Little-Known Raiders Who Need to Deliver in 2014

Latavius Murray
Getty Images

If the Oakland Raiders are going to get out of the NFL basement in 2014, they need players to step up across the board. On top of their big-name players delivering, the Raiders must also get consistent production from some of the unheralded players on their roster. It’s that extra production that could make them relevant again.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five unheralded players who must step up for the Raiders this upcoming season.

WR Juron Criner

Juron Criner
Getty Images

WR Juron Criner

Juron Criner
Getty Images

For the last two seasons, the Raiders have been patiently waiting for Criner to break out as the late-round gem he seemed to be. Instead, injuries and subpar play have kept him from emerging as a serious threat in the Oakland passing game. This season could be his final opportunity to prove his worth before the Raiders decide to sever ties and scrap this project.

DT Stacy McGee

Stacy McGee
Getty Images

DT Stacy McGee

Stacy McGee
Getty Images

This offseason, the Raiders addressed both defensive end spots and the three-technique via free agency. The nose tackle position, however, is still a glaring question mark. At this moment, the best option available is McGee, a 2013 six-round pick who saw considerable playing time as a rookie. The product, however, wasn’t very impressive. If McGee does end up starting for the Raiders, he needs to improve – and fast.

TE Mychal Rivera

Mychal Rivera
Getty Images

TE Mychal Rivera

Mychal Rivera
Getty Images

Heading into the 2013 season, the Raiders were unsure who would be their starting tight end. Although Rivera didn’t win the starting job, he played well throughout his rookie year, hauling in 38 passes for 407 yards and four touchdowns. In 2014, he’ll be expected to contribute even more to the Oakland passing game. David Ausberry is projected to be the starter for the Raiders in 2014, but they need Rivera to make plays early and often.

CB Chimdi Chekwa

Chimdi Chekwa
Getty Images

CB Chimdi Chekwa

Chimdi Chekwa
Getty Images

As of right now, the Raiders still have some concerns surrounding the cornerback position. D.J. Hayden will be the starter on one side, and Tarell Brown can tentatively be penciled in on the other side. However, the depth is extremely limited. That’s where Chekwa comes in. Even if he does end up in a sub-package role with the Raiders this season, Chekwa will see plenty of snaps and must be effective in coverage.

RB Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray
Getty Images

RB Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray
Getty Images

Even with the re-signing of Darren McFadden, there’s a good chance Murray could see considerable touches in 2014. The former sixth-round pick missed all of his rookie season after a preseason ankle injury landed him on IR. With his health restored and a year of NFL training/coaching under his belt, Murray could be in for a big year. He has the size/speed combo you see in starters, and will get opportunities behind the injury-prone McFadden.

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Director of Content for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.