In just several short months, the decade will be coming to an end and the next one will start. The last 10 years for the Oakland Raiders has been a period of highs and lows. This past decade saw the Raiders on the cusp of a playoff berth in 2011 that then turned into several years of mediocrity. It took five years, but the Raiders finally turned things around and made it to the playoffs, but that success was shortlived also. With a move to Las Vegas coming in 2020, the Raiders will be starting fresh heading into the next decade. While the Raiders haven’t had much success in the past decade, there have been some amazing players to don the silver and black between 2010 and 2019. Below we’re going to go through the best players that called Oakland home during this decade.
Sebastian Janikowski has already sealed his place as one of the greatest players in Raiders history, not just over the last decade. Janikowski is the Raiders all-time leading scorer and it’s not even close. He did have to spend his last year in the NFL in Seattle, but that doesn’t discount the impact he had in Oakland. The man with a cannon for a leg was one of the most consistent players for the Raiders and his impact will be missed until the team finds the right replacement for him.
It’s really easy to overlook a player’s behavior when the team is playing well. That’s the case with Marquette King. His shenanigans were fun when the Raiders were competitive, but once the Raiders started playing poorly, he became a major annoyance. That being said, he was an excellent punter and the only thing that held him back was his bad attitude. King was so good that it just became common that he’d pin opponents inside their own 20-yard line. His ending with the team wasn’t pretty and he’s currently unemployed. He recently expressed regret for how things ended in Oakland so maybe the Raiders will take another chance on him if Johnny Townsend continues to struggle.
Oh man, was Marcel Reece fun to watch. The wide receiver turned fullback became an x-factor for the Raiders for many years. He frequently would make plays and was one of the most exciting players the Raiders had during their down years. Unfortunately, Reece was let go just before that Raiders broke their playoff drought in 2016, but his talent helped make the Raiders fun to watch for a long time. He was one of the best-receiving fullbacks in the NFL for most of his career.
Richard Seymour’s time in Oakland was brief, but he sure made an impact. After spending many years in New England, the Patriots traded him to the Raiders just before the 2009 season stared and his impact was immediate. During his four years with the Raiders, Seymour made it to the pro bowl twice and was one of the top players on the defense while he was there. Seymour is now killing it at poker, but he’ll always have a place in the hearts of Raiders fans.
Another late-career addition, the Raiders brought in Donald Penn after a long stint in Tampa Bay. In his first four years in Oakland, Penn was an absolute rock on the left side of the offensive line. The three-time pro bowler was instrumental in protecting quarterback Derek Carr during his early career. Penn was part of one of the most dominant offensive lines in the NFL over a three-year stretch. Unfortunately, the coaching staff decided to move Penn to the right side in 2018 and he struggled greatly. Though the Raiders released Penn this offseason, his impact before last year was substantial.
Another key member of the Raiders’ dominant offensive line, Gabe Jackson is the most underrated player on the team. An absolute steal in the 2014 NFL Draft, Jackson has been a consistent starter since his rookie year. Jackson should also play a large role in helping the Raiders’ offensive line turn it back around in 2019. Trent Brown and Gabe Jackson should solidify the right side of the offensive line and keep Derek Carr clean for the bulk of the season.
Ever since Rich Gannon retired, the Raiders have had a ridiculous amount of different starting quarterbacks. The team tried drafting QBs like JaMarcus Russell but failed every time to find a consistent starter. When the Raiders drafted Derek Carr in 2014, they thrust him into the starting spot and he hasn’t let go since. Despite some up and downs, Carr has been so much better than any other QB that Raiders have trotted out since Gannon retired. He even almost won an MVP in 2016 before he got injured. Carr is also close to breaking almost every Raiders passing record, so he’ll be part of the team’s record books for a long time. If he can bounce back in 2019, he’ll probably be on this list at the end of next decade, also.
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Mr. Raider himself, Charles Woodson came back for a second stint in Oakland and solidified his legend. Woodson is one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history and while many of his best years were spent in Green Bay, he had a few memorable years towards the end of his career with the Raiders. He was integral in turning the Raiders into a playoff team, even though he wasn’t part of the 2016 team. Woodson went out on top during his final season as a Raider and made the pro bowl.
The most consistent member of the Raiders, Hudson has not only been one of the best Raiders of the decade, he’s been one of the best players at his position in the entire NFL. There’s simply no better center at pass protecting in the NFL and Hudson doesn’t seem like he’s going to be slowing down anytime soon. He was the leader of one of the best offensive lines in the NFL between 2015 and 2017.
Even though Khalil Mack now calls Chicago home, there’s no denying his impact while he was in Oakland. The only player to make first-team all-pro at two positions simultaneously, Mack was the unquestioned best player on the Raiders for the four seasons he was with the team. Few players could take over a game on the defensive side of the ball like Mack could. He was the only consistent player on an inconsistent defense and probably could’ve put up even better numbers if he had more talent around him. Time will tell if the Raiders won the Khalil Mack trade, but the Bears are probably just fine with how things have turned out so far.