NFL Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders’ 5 Biggest Breakout Candidates of 2014

5 Raiders Primed for Breakout Seasons

Sio Moore
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It could be another long season for the Oakland Raiders, who struggled mightily in 2013 due to a lack of talent and overall playmaking ability. The 2014 campaign, however, offers significantly more promise, especially after a strong showing in free agency. If things are going to turn around, though, the Raiders need some of their top young talents to step up.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five breakout candidates for the Raiders.

RB Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray
Getty Images

RB Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray
Getty Images

The addition of Maurice Jones-Drew and re-signing of Darren McFadden certainly don’t help his chances, but Murray still has a bright future in Oakland. The 2013 sixth-round pick offers a deadly combination of size and speed, and looked like a potential contributor last oreseason before landing on IR. Assuming one, if not both, of the veteran runners get hurt in 2014, look for Murray to jump at the opportunity for touches.

OT Menelik Watson

Menelik Watson
Getty Images

OT Menelik Watson

Menelik Watson
Getty Images

Hampered by a hip injury thoughout his rookie season, Watson was a bit of a disappointment in 2013. This year, though, he’ll be given every chance to become a significant part of the Raiders' offense. With plenty of uncertainty still surrounding the offensive line, Watson could solidify a starting job with a strong training camp showing. If he plays well, the Raiders could bump Austin Howard down to guard and start Watson at right tackle.

DT Stacy McGee

Stacy McGee
Getty Images

DT Stacy McGee

Stacy McGee
Getty Images

At this point in the offseason, McGee is the Raiders’ starting nose tackle. There’s still plenty of time for that to change, but after a strong showing in 2013, the former sixth-round pick could be headed for a breakout season. McGee displayed a well-rounded game in five starts last year, racking up 20 total tackles and even notching a sack. Unless a veteran is signed or early-round pick is used, expect McGee to start in 2014.

TE Mychal Rivera

Mychal Rivera
Getty Images

TE Mychal Rivera

Mychal Rivera
Getty Images

The Raiders still face significant uncertainty heading into 2014 at the tight end position. Rivera, however, is ready to alleviate those issues. The former sixth-rounder was impressive as a rookie, hauling in 38 passes for 407 yards and four touchdowns while serving as the No. 2 tight end. This season could see Rivera take his game to the next level, which would likely earn him a starting job and a considerable role in the Oakland passing game.

OLB Sio Moore

Sio Moore
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

OLB Sio Moore

Sio Moore
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

While some would say that Moore already had a breakout season in 2013, the explosive edge rusher flew under the radar due to his team’s lack of success. In 2014, though, the Raiders will be looking to get him on the map among the top up-and-coming outside linebackers in the NFL. Moore has a well-rounded game with a knack for making big plays, and should continue to grow as one of the Raiders’ top young talents.

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.