The Oakland Raiders have surpassed the 10th week of the NFL season and will enter Week 11 tied for first place in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs. In Week 9, the Silver and Black powered their way to a 30-20 win over the Denver Broncos. The team has gained a lot of attention for its primetime victory and has solidified itself as a legitimate playoff contender.
After the bye week, the Raiders have a serious MVP-candidate on their hands, an arsenal of impressive receivers, a stacked pass rush, impenetrable offensive line, and game-changing special teams. The team is getting some major contributions from a variety of players.
This team has talent everywhere you look, let's take a look at some of the Raiders who could potentially make the 2016 Pro Bowl.
**Quarterback Derek Carr
In the early going, Carr has looked like a potential MVP-candidate, and has earned the respect and praise of several football analysts around the country. The third-year signal-caller has completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 2,505 yards, 17 touchdowns, and limited his interceptions to only three. What doesn't show up on the stat sheet is his ability to lead clutch game-winning drives in the final moments of games. Carr has led three game-winning drives this season for the second-most in the league, only behind Matthew Stafford (4).
Punter Marquette King
King has established himself as one of the premier punters in the NFL, and ranks second in multiple categories. The punter out of Fort Valley State has placed the football within the 20-yard line 21 times, tied for the third-best in the NFL this season. According to ProFootballFocus, in Week 4 against the Baltimore Ravens, King's performance earned him the best grade for any punter in the last 10 years. King has taken the league by storm with his impressive performances and captivating dance moves.
Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree
In his second season with the Silver and Black, eight-year veteran Michael Crabtree is producing at a high-level with a solid quarterback throwing his direction. Through seven games this year, Crabtree is tied for fourth with the six receiving touchdowns. His strong hands, consistent production, and athletic ability provide the Raiders with a reliable weapon on offense. Crabtree could possibly make his first Pro Bowl appearance this season and he's on pace to set a career-high in receiving touchdowns.
**Defensive End Khalil Mack
The Raiders defense has continued its development in recent weeks and has shown that it's trending upward. One player who has contributed to the defense's success is defensive end Khalil Mack. Mack continues to prove how he can cause problems for opposing offensive lines. On the year he has seven sacks, but has 42 tackles, which ranks second among defensive lineman. His physicality, speed, and aggression are a handful for offensive lines week-in and week-out. After a slow start statistically, Mack has returned to the upper echelon of defenders in the NFL.
Wide Receiver Amari Cooper
Last season, Cooper was the sixth Raider in franchise history to be named to the Pro Bowl in their rookie campaign. In his second season in the league, the Alabama-product has shown his immense talent and athletic abilities. He currently ranks third this season in receiving yards with 843, only trailing star wide outs Julio Jones and A.J. Green. Cooper has progressed in each game this season and continues his development as one of the best offensive weapons in the league.
Linebacker Bruce Irvin
The former Seahawk has never participated in a Pro Bowl before, but could potentially make his first appearance in the NFL All-Star game as a member of the Silver and Black. Over the course of his four years in Seattle, Irvin forced four fumbles, and in his first nine games as a Raider he's already matched that number. Irvin has been able to pressure the quarterback and force costly mistakes, as he continues to lead the league in forced fumbles. Irvin can thrive in his role on the Raiders, and going forward should continue to showcase his versatility.
**The Offensive Line
The Raiders offensive line has been dominant all season, limiting defenders from reaching the quarterback, and each member of the group deserves to be considered for their stellar play thus far. Derek Carr has only been sacked 11 times, and hit 21 times, the Silver and Black lead the NFL. The team has been able to thrive because of the pass protection, and the running lanes provided by the big men in the trenches. What is most impressive is the fact that the offensive line has been able to battle through injuries, and still perform at a high level. Every member of the offensive line – starters and backups – has filled in at some point or another. The tackles, guards, and center never receive much appreciation, but for the 2016 Oakland Raiders, the offensive line has been the core of the team. This entire group is deserving of a Pro Bowl bid and they should continue to be one of the best o-lines in the league going forward.
Also remember to help vote your favorite Raiders to the 2017 Pro Bowl – check out all of our eligible players, here.