The Oakland Raiders’ 5 Most Intriguing Players of 2014

The 5 Most Intriguing Raiders Heading into 2014

Khalil Mack Raiders
Getty Images

This offseason, the Oakland Raiders made several upgrades to their roster after a pitiful 2013 campaign. While they certainly aren’t anywhere near contenders, there’s a lot to be said for their efforts to return to relevance. They’ve added a number of intriguing players who could help them win a significant amount of games in 2014.

With that in mind, here’s a look at the Raiders’ five most intriguing players heading into 2014.

DE Justin Tuck

Justin Tuck
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

DE Justin Tuck

Justin Tuck
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Signed this offseason to replace Lamarr Houston as the Raiders’ right end, Tuck is facing significant expectations as a pass rusher. The former New York Giants star is definitely on the decline as he enters his age-31 season, but has shown in recent seasons that he still possesses plenty of intrigue as an edge rusher. With the speed, athleticism and bend to put up double-digit sacks, Tuck could have a big year for the Raiders.

WR Juron Criner

Juron Criner
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

WR Juron Criner

Juron Criner
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In terms of potential, Criner could easily be the Raiders’ No. 1 receiver in 2014. Unfortunately, he’s always looked much better in shorts than pads. The annual training camp star has again gotten off to an outstanding start during OTAs, but must translate that talent to real game action. If he can do that, Criner could emerge as the Raiders’ go-to receiver when all is said and done in 2014.

CB D.J. Hayden

D.J. Hayden
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

CB D.J. Hayden

D.J. Hayden
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When the Raiders spent their 2013 first-round pick on Hayden, it was assumed he’d be taking over as their No. 1 cornerback in the near future. Instead, a poor rookie season and numerous injuries have hindered his progress. After showing some promising signs early in 2014, another injury has slowed the Raiders’ top cornerback. Can he finally get healthy and live up to his potential, or is Hayden headed for “bust” status?

QB Matt Schaub

Matt Schaub
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

QB Matt Schaub

Matt Schaub
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders traded for Schaub this offseason in hopes of bringing some veteran presence and stability to the quarterback position. The 32-year-old gunslinger, though, is coming off the worst year of his NFL career, and might never return to his old form. Despite his awful 2013 showing, Schaub has high hopes of resurrecting his NFL career in Oakland. The Raiders will give him every opportunity to shine, but can he deliver?

OLB Khalil Mack

Khalil Mack
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

OLB Khalil Mack

Khalil Mack
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Already among the Raiders’ most talented players despite not having a single NFL snap under his belt, Mack offers by far the most intrigue for Oakland heading into 2014. An elite talent with tremendous instincts, athleticism and technique, the No. 5 overall pick this past May has all of the ability the Raiders could want in a star linebacker. Can he deliver as a rookie or will the growing pains be too much for Mack to handle?

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.


Around the Web

  • J Haskins

    Having Khalil Mack, now opposing teams will stop laughing when the Raiders get off the bus..