The Oakland Raiders are heading into their second year under the leadership of Head Coach Jack Del Rio, and while they didn't reach their goal of winning the AFC West in 2015, they're a noticeably better team than they were just one year ago.
Derek Carr has another year of experience under his belt, the team went out and got him some offensive weapons in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, and defensively, Khalil Mack solidified himself as one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL.
Over the past few seasons, General Manager Reggie McKenzie has quietly rebuilt the Silver and Black's roster through free agency and the draft and put the team in a position to make some noise in 2016 and beyond.
That rebuilding effort isn't going unnoticed either, as NFL.com recently named the Raiders as one of "Five Franchises on the Rise."
"The Raiders succeeded in luring three of Around The NFL's top 15 free agents to play in the only NFL stadium still saddled with a dirt infield," wrote Chris Wesseling of Around The NFL. "McKenzie suddenly finds himself capable of enticing respected veterans into accepting Davis' money because he built a solid foundation with the past two draft classes."
He continued, "The difference between the Raiders and an organization such as the dormant Browns is that McKenzie can point to a young franchise quarterback [Derek Carr], a legitimate No. 1 receiver [Amari Cooper] and a Defensive Player of the Year candidate [Khalil Mack] as the cornerstones of a competitive roster."
The other teams that NFL.com designated as franchises on the rise are the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears.