Quarterback Derek Carr nd Defensive End Khalil Mack
Heading into 2016, the narrative surrounding the Oakland Raiders is changing, and the NFL is starting to take notice, both on its social platforms and throughout its digital properties.
From in-depth interviews and written pieces, to social media campaigns on both Twitter and Facebook, the NFL has undoubtedly embraced the positive momentum that's building at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway.
Let's take a look at some of the praise and recognition that the league has been sending the Silver and Black's way.
Over the past several seasons, General Manager Reggie McKenzie and his staff have rebuilt and retooled the Raiders' roster from the ground up. It's been a long road, but McKenzie has stayed the course, and as a result, the Raiders now have one of the best young cores in the NFL.
With an impressive nucleus of Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, national pundits around the league believe that the team is ready to take the next step in 2016 – challenging for the AFC West title for the first time since 2002.
It's no secret that if you want to have success in today's NFL, you have to solidify the quarterback position, and the Raiders have done just that with Carr, who enjoyed a breakout sophomore season in 2015.
He recently gave an extensive interview with Adam Schein on SiriusXM NFL Radio, and in the wake of that interview Schein penned a lengthy piece laying out why he believed the Raiders were poised to take the AFC West.
As impressive as Carr has been, Schein believes the quarterback isn't the only reason that fans of the Silver and Black should be optimistic about their fortunes in 2016.
"Speaking of scary: Khalil Mack! This cat is special," Schein wrote. "I wrote last week that he would be an MVP candidate in 2016. He's that freakish. Former Raider Justin Tuck told me after Mack's rookie season that he could have a "Lawrence Taylor impact" on the team. This isn't hyperbole. Mack can be that good."
Schein's colleagues at the NFL are also no longer sleeping on the Raiders' imposing defensive end as they've begun #MackMondays on Twitter, where the NFL's official account tweets out highlights from his very impressive 2015 season that saw him notch 15 sacks.
Not only is the media taking note of the Raiders' future, they're also recognizing the team's past – paying homage to one of the league's greats who hung it up at the end of 2015.
Safety Charles Woodson finished his Hall of Fame career last season, going out in style with five interceptions and his ninth Pro Bowl appearance.
Similarly to #MackMondays, the league has now also began #WoodsonWednesdays where they've begun showcasing impressive plays from his extraordinary career.
For the first time in recent years, the Raiders have returned to the forefront of the national conversation, and with their retooled roster on display, the NFL is definitely taking notice.