The Oakland Raiders have finished the 14th week of the NFL season and will enter Week 15 with a record of 10-3, squarely in the midst of a playoff run. The team has gained a lot of attention for its ability to perform in the clutch, and has solidified itself as one of the promising young teams in the league.
The Raiders have a legitimate MVP-candidate on their hands, an arsenal of impressive receivers, a stacked pass rush, impenetrable offensive line, and game-changing special teams. This team has talent everywhere you look, so let's take a look at all the Raiders who could potentially make the 2016 Pro Bowl.
In addition to the actual game which will be played at the Orlando Citrus Bowl, players will also participate in the first ever Pro Bowl Skills Challenge.
**Quarterback Derek Carr
Carr has looked like a potential MVP-candidate this season, and has earned the respect and praise of football analysts around the country. The third-year signal-caller has completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 3,492 yards, 24 touchdowns, and limited his interceptions to just five. 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 six game-winning drives this season for the second-most in the league, only behind Matthew Stafford (8).
Punter Marquette King
King has established himself as one of the premier punters in the NFL and has been an important weapon for the special teams unit. The punter out of Fort Valley State has placed the football within the 20-yard line 27 times, which is good for the sixth-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. Not only that, but the enthusiastic punter 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 13 games this year, Crabtree is tied for sixth in the league with the seven 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 11 sacks, and 61 tackles, which ranks third among defensive lineman. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate has been an absolute monster in the clutch this season, and also is the only defensive lineman in the league with a pick-six this season. His physicality, speed, and aggression are a handful for offensive lines week-in and week-out.
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 sixth this season in receiving yards with 1,010, and No. 89 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 13 games as a Raider he's already matched that number. Irvin has been able to pressure the quarterback and force costly mistakes, as he's tied for third in 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 13 times, and hit 31 times, both figures which 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.
**Fullback Jamize Olawale
An exclusive look at how some of your favorite Raiders stack up statistically with the rest of the NFL going into Week 15.
The Raiders fullback has been impressive out of the backfield this season, and has shown to be a versatile weapon in the offensive scheme. Olawale has two rushing touchdowns, to go along with 205 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown.
Ways To Vote:
To participate in the first ever social Pro Bowl voting:
- Tweet #ProBowlVote with the player's first and last name.
- Post a comment on the club's official Pro Bowl Vote Facebook post with #ProBowlVote and the player's first and last name.
- Post an image on Instagram with #ProBowlVote and a caption with the player's #FirstnameLastname
You can also vote online, here
Remember to help vote your favorite Raiders to the 2017 Pro Bowl, voting ends Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 11:59 p.m. PT.