Mailbag: Taking stock of the rookie defensive linemen

Finally, finally, finally, it's the regular season.

Man, that feels good to say out loud, doesn't it?

Anyway, this has been quite the week for the Oakland Raiders; from reducing the roster to 53 players, to beginning preparation for the Los Angeles Rams, things have been busy at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway.

The Raiders and Rams kick off 2018 Monday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, but before we get to that, let's get to your questions.

From Daniel Rocha: Where do you see the Bears picks paying off in the future? Because I see at least one of them being top 5 this upcoming years draft to be exact. They could possibly pick up Ed Oliver or Nick Bosa.

EP: Well, Daniel, I think that's exactly the plan. The Silver and Black received two first-round draft picks from the Chicago Bears – a king's ransom, really – in the trade for Khalil Mack, and if everything breaks the Raiders way, those picks will be towards the top of the first round. Now, the success of the Bears has a direct correlation with where those picks are, and I don't want to want to ever openly root for a team to lose, but, ya know…

That said, we've seen time and time again, the importance of having picks in the draft – the first round in particular – so if you're a fan of the Silver and Black, you should be fired up for those picks in 2019 and 2020.

From Gregory Riccardi: Who will win defensive rookie of the year? Big Mo or Arden key?

EP: Setting big goals for the Raiders rookie defensive linemen, I dig it.

Let's see though, which of those two do I think will have the better chance at winning Defensive Rookie of the Year? I'm going to go with Arden Key, and that's no slight at big Mo Hurst either.

While I don't think it should necessarily be this way, the winners of these year-end awards, especially the guys on the defensive side of the football, are the ones who find a way to take down the quarterback, so I'm going to be rolling with No. 99.

Look, I think Mo Hurst is going to be an absolute beast this year, and I for sure think he's going to get his sack numbers, but I think if everything breaks the right way, Key will have a ton of chances to get after the quarterback.

I expect both rookies to contribute in a big way this year, but for this question in particular, I'm rolling with the former LSU Tiger.

From Christopher M. Dirks: How does playing international games help and hinder the team heading into the [bye] week?

EP: Understandably, we'll be able to answer this question a lot better on October 28, the date of the Raiders first game after their trip to London and then the bye week, but I think anytime you're talking about getting some time off in the middle of October, that's a good thing.

Regardless of whether that game is in Oakland, Denver, or in this case, London, each year the bye week is greeted with jubilation; let's worry about the Rams right now though, shall we?

There's a lot of football to be played between now and Week 7.

From Ryan Murphy: How much wood could a Charles Woodson chuck If a Charles Woodson could chuck wood?

EP: Short answer here, Ryan – as much as Charles Woodson wanted to chuck.

Enjoy the game Monday night, Raider Nation. We'll see you next week.