With the onset of the 2019 NFL season closing in, Jeff Legwold of ESPN has decided to take on the monumental task of putting together a list of the best player at every position in NFL history. Naturally, an article with such a grand premise is sure to gain the ire of fans from all teams. Fans love their legendary players and don’t like it when they feel they’ve been disrespected. No fans are more passionate about this than the Oakland Raiders. Fortunately, Raider Nation should be pretty happy with Legwold’s list.
Obviously, George Atkinson could come out of the woodwork and find something wrong with it, but overall, there are five former Raiders on the list. Most notably, two lifelong wearers of the silver and black appear. Hall of Fame center Jim Otto was picked as the greatest center of all time. He spent his entire 15-year career with the Raiders and was a dominant offensive lineman. He was first-team All-AFL 10 times and was first-team All-Pro twice. The most impressive thing about Otto was how long he was able to play at a high level. He was at least All-Pro, All-AFL or a pro bowler for every year of his career except for the last two.
The other lifelong Raider to make the list was Ray Guy, who was rated as the greatest punter ever. This shouldn’t be a surprise as Guy is the only punter in the Hall of Fame. He was part of all three Raiders Super Bowl teams and was an eight-time All-Pro. There’s simply no other punter that had the amount of impact that Guy had to the Raiders.
Now, the three other guys that made the list didn’t spend too much time with the silver and black, but once a Raider, Always a Raider. Jerry Rice is the most notable. He was in Oakland for a little over three seasons and played very well. He was part of the 2002 team that got the Raiders to the Super Bowl. He obviously made most of his impact with the San Francisco 49ers, but he was an important player for the Raiders while he was there.
Another player that made his legend with the 49ers, Ronnie Lott spent two seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Raiders. In 1991, he pulled in eight interceptions on his way to a pro bowl. Oakland isn’t the first place you think of when you think of Lott, but he did make an impact when he was with the team. There was another defensive back named Rod Woodson that was ranked as one of the two greatest comebacks of all time. Like Lott, Woodson only played two years in Oakland but had one pro bowl season. That pro bowl season was the year the Raiders went to the Super Bowl, so there’s no denying that he was a big part of the team for a brief time. All in all, it wasn’t a bad list for the silver and black. However, there were some players that could’ve maybe made their way to the list.
Follow the Heavy Oakland Raiders page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Raiders That Could’ve Made the List
While Legwold did a good job representing the Raiders on his list, there will be a few names that fans want to see on it. Mainly on the offensive line. Hall of Fame offensive tackle Art Shell was without a doubt one of the best blockers in NFL history. He was a member of the 1970s All-Decade Team. Gene Upshaw was also on that team and it could be argued that he should be considered the greatest guard of all time. Legwold did give Upshaw an honorable mention but strangely didn’t mention Shell. He’s definitely at least worth that.
There’s also an argument to be made that Willie Brown, Mike Haynes or Charles Woodson belong on the list over Rod Woodson. All three of those cornerbacks dominated their eras. They did all get honorable mentions, but it looks like Rod edged them out. Regardless, Raiders fans should be pretty happy with the list the Legwold put together as the some of the most notable omissions were at least honorably mentioned.