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NFL Oakland Raiders

10 Oakland Raiders Players to Watch in 2014

10 Oakland Raiders Players to Watch in 2014 Season

Oakland Raiders
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The Oakland Raiders were big spenders this offseason in hopes of competing immediately in the AFC West. Oakland may be in line to do just that, but they will need their offseason pickups to pay off in a big way while staying healthy.

Here are the top ten players to watch in Oakland this season.

10. DE LaMarr Woodley

Lamarr Woodley
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10. DE LaMarr Woodley

Lamarr Woodley
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Woodley will be playing defensive end this season for Oakland in their 4-3 scheme after spending his career as an outside linebacker in Pittsburgh's 3-4 defensive scheme. Woodley is still an explosive pass rusher off the edge and should be an intriguing player to watch in 2014 after collecting 36 tackles (20 solo), five sacks and one forced fumble in 11 games last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

9. G Gabe Jackson

Gabe Jackson
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9. G Gabe Jackson

Gabe Jackson
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Jackson is an absolute mauler up front and deserves to be on this list even as a rookie due to the impact he will bring for Oakland this season. Jackson has the ability to play either guard position along the offensive line and will likely see snaps at both spots during the preseason for the team to find where he best fits. My best guess is that he will stick at right guard for the team and will become a premier player at that position.

8. RB Maurice Jones-Drew

Maurice Jones-Drew
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8. RB Maurice Jones-Drew

Maurice Jones-Drew
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Jones-Drew has been one of the league's best rushers over his eight-year career, collecting over 8,000 yards and 68 touchdowns on the ground for the Jacksonville Jaguars. "MJD" is now in Oakland and will likely split time with Darren McFadden -- and potentially another young running back I will get to shortly. MJD is by no means a No. 1 back anymore, but he still has some juice left to be a capable 10-12 carry per game runner.

7. DE/DT Justin Tuck

Justin Tuck
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7. DE/DT Justin Tuck

Justin Tuck
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Tuck is one of Oakland's best offseason moves as he adds some versatility up front for the team due to his experience playing both defensive end and defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense with the New York Giants. Tuck is coming off a 2013 season in which he collected 63 tackles (41 solo), 11 sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles in 15 starts. Tuck should make his mark this season for Oakland and revive his career.

6. QB Derek Carr

Derek Carr
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6. QB Derek Carr

Derek Carr
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To be quite honest, Carr may not even see a single snap this season, but everyone in Oakland is going to start screaming his name once incumbent starter Matt Schaub begins to struggle a bit. Carr is still going to get every opportunity to start this season, however. He will need to show promise in training camp and the ability to lead the team during the preseason. If he can do so, he will be Oakland's Week 1 starter.

5. CB DJ Hayden

DJ Hayden
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5. CB DJ Hayden

DJ Hayden
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Hayden had quite a disappointing rookie campaign with the club, collecting 25 tackles (22 solo), one interception and one forced fumble in just eight games and only two starts. Hayden seemed to be marred by injuries during his first NFL season, but he looks to turn it around in 2014. The former first-round pick will battle a load of veterans the team signed this offseason, but Hayden's upside and talent should give him the eventual edge.

4. RB Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray
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4. RB Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray
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Murray missed his entire rookie season due to a knee injury, but he is back and ready to go in 2014. Murray has intriguing size at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and runs an astounding 4.4 40-yard dash. He could end up stealing some carries this season from McFadden and MJD if he can prove to stay healthy long enough. Murray is the future No. 1 back in Oakland.

3. OLB Sio Moore

Sio Moore
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3. OLB Sio Moore

Sio Moore
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Moore played quite well during his rookie season in 2013, collecting 50 tackles (38 solo), 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 15 games (11 starts). With recently released Kevin Burnett out of town, Moore's development and improvement is vital to the success of the Oakland defense in 2014. Moore could quite possibly have a breakout season in 2014 and become a household name by season's end.

2. WR James Jones

James Jones
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2. WR James Jones

James Jones
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Jones will enter Oakland as the team's No. 1 receiver and will become the featured target for the first time in his seven-year career. Jones is coming off a stellar 2013 season in which he collected 59 receptions for 817 yards (13.8 avg) and three touchdowns in 14 games (14 starts). He has never been a legitimate No. 1 threat but will get the opportunity to do so this year in Oakland. I like his chances this season.

1. OLB Khalil Mack

Khalil Mack
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1. OLB Khalil Mack

Khalil Mack
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Honestly, who else could have even topped this list? Mack is the team's future and will pair nicely with fellow outside linebacker Sio Moore. Moore and Mack will give Oakland a young and talented linebacker duo to build a strong defense around. Mack is an early favorite for the defensive rookie of the year award and could quite possibly be the best player Oakland has on its roster by season's end.