Quarterback Derek Carr
With NFL teams a week into training camp, initial power rankings for the 2016 season are starting to trickle out.
Sports Illustrated is no exception to this trend, and has debuted its NFL Preseason Power Rankings, with the Oakland Raiders holding firm at the No. 11 spot.
Now, do power rankings, preseason ones in particular, mean anything? Not at all.
Are they fun to look at it and see where the national media thinks the Silver and Black rank compared to the other teams around the league? You bet.
Here's what the folks at Sports Illustrated had to say about Head Coach Jack Del Rio and Co. heading into the 2016 season:
"The buzz surrounding this Oakland team has been unceasing, which is noteworthy in itself given it's been 14 years since the Raiders finished above .500," wrote Chris Burke. "Are we all jumping the gun? Yes, this roster is stockpiled with talent, but much of it is young—even younger with future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson walking away. Jack Del Rio's team plays three of its first four away from home, so the legitimacy of Oakland as a playoff contender will be revealed early."
All in all, I think Burke's assessment of the Raiders is pretty on the money.
There is indeed hype surrounding this team, and I think it would be fair to say that expectations for it are much higher than they been in years past, but at the same time, not even one snap of real football has been played yet.
Combine that with the fact that the defending Super Bowl Champions reside in their division, and the Raiders will have their work cut out for them in 2016. Does the team have the talent to make a run at the division? Yes, it does, but there's still a lot of football that needs to be played between now and January.
You can see the entirety of SI's Power Rankings, here.