Raiders

NFL Power Rankings: 49ers, Raiders now two of the bottom three teams

cjcarrus.jpg
USATSI

NFL Power Rankings: 49ers, Raiders now two of the bottom three teams

1. Kansas City (5-0)
Previous rank: 2. 

Chiefs are so good they can weather an average night from Kid Wonder. Chiefs are a buzz saw. 
 
2. L.A. Rams (5-0)
Previous rank: 1
 
Don’t think of this as a demotion. It’s less about the Rams than the team above them. 
 
3. New Orleans (4-1)
Previous rank: 4
 
Drew Brees is so, so, so good. So, so, so classy. There’s no better ambassador for the city of New Orleans. Congratulations on an historic night. 
 
4. New England (3-2)
Previous rank: 5
 
Right back on top of the AFC East, where they’ve been for decades. Notice the plural. 
 
5. Jacksonville (3-2)
Previous rank: 3
 
Jags defense went heads up with Kansas City’s potent attack. Offense won. Big time. 
 
6. Cincinnati (4-1)
Previous rank: 14
 
It’s time to start showing the Bengals some respect. 
 
7. Carolina (3-1)
Previous rank: 13
 
Eric Reid takes a knee again. Let’s recall he is not protesting the national anthem. He is using that moment in time to call attention to injustice against minorities. Don’t lose sight of that. 
 
8. Minnesota (2-2-1)
Previous rank: Adam Thielin’s rags to riches story is just incredible. Look it up. Read about it. Be amazed. 
 
9. Chicago (3-1)
Previous rank: 10
 
Khalil Mack had zero tackles, zero sacks and zero forced fumbles on Sunday. That was the first time he didn’t eclipse the Raiders’ sun. Mostly because he and the Bears were on a bye. 
 
10. L.A. Chargers (3-2)
Previous rank: 12
 
Chargers P.A. announcer refuses to call the Rams by their name when showing highlights at StubHub! Center, referring to them as “the other team in L.A.” Come on, bro. We all know you’re the other team in L.A. The one nobody bothers to go see. 
 
11. Baltimore (3-2)
Previous rank: 9
 
Michael Crabtree had a nasty case of the drops. He took the blame for the Browns loss. He was right. 
 
12. Green Bay (2-2-1)
Previous rank: 7
 
Aaron Rodgers can only do so much. Especially with the receiver corps in shambles. 
 
13. Philadelphia (2-3)
Previous rank: 9
 
The Super Bowl hangover is real. 
 
14. Tennessee (3-2)
Previous rank: 11
 
No way in holy heck Marcus Mariota can take this team to a division title. 
 
15. Pittsburgh (2-2-1)
Previous rank: 21
 
Go ‘head Mike. Write a check. Get after those refs. After all the bluster in his locker room, it’s time to light a fire under somebody’s rear end. 
 
16. Cleveland (2-2-1)
Previous rank: 25
 
The Browns aren’t going to blow anybody out, but they’re gonna scrap every week. Their rookie quarterback sets that tone. 
 
17. Miami (3-2)
Previous rank: 15
 
The Dolphins are crashing back to Earth. 
 
18. Denver (2-3)
Previous rank: 16
 
Broncos put Marquette on IR after just four games. All the extra cirriculars might be taking away from a world of talent. 
 
19. Seattle (2-3)
Previous rank: 22
 
The Seahawks took the Rams to the brink, fought the bear and lost. No shame in that. Russel Wilson has that team never saying die. 
 
20. Tampa Bay (2-2)
Previous rank: 18
 
The more we think about Tampa Bay’s prospects, the more that hot start seemed like a flash in the pan. 
 
21. Washington (2-2)
Previous rank: 17
 
Josh Norman got benched. Bummer Jay Gruden couldn’t do that for the entire Washington football club secondary. The Washington football club really made Drew Brees’ historic night a walk in the park.
 
22. Houston (2-3)
Previous rank: 27
 
DeShaun Watson is so important to what the Texans do. He has to stop taking so many hits. 
 
23. N.Y. Jets (2-3)
Previous rank: 29
 
Let’s put Sam Darnold back in the Hall of Fame. Big Apple press already has him there. 
 
24. Detroit (2-3)
Previous rank: 26
 
Lions win the turnover battle, get a win. Still don’t think there’s much going on in the Motor City. 
 
25. Buffalo (2-3)
Previous rank: 32
 
Sean McDermott was right in his postgame speech to the team. The Bills have guts. 
 
26. Dallas (2-3)
Previous rank: 20
 
Jerry Jones has been patient with Jason Garrett. The head coach choosing to punt late against Houston may have pushed Jerry over the edge. 
 
27. Atlanta (1-4)
Previous rank: 19
 
All those yards. All that talent. No wins to show for it. 
 
28. Indianapolis (1-4)
Previous rank: 28
 
Dearest mother, Andrew Luck here sending this dispatch after a beating in Boston. We shall expect several more unless the front office can put me in a fair fight. At this point, I fear the cavalry may never come and my time on the battlefield may be spent in waste. 
  
29. N.Y. Giants (1-3)
Previous rank: 30
 
Odell says (and we're paraphrasing here) he isn’t sure if Eli Manning stinks or not. We’ll clarify. He does. Big time. 
 
30. Raiders (1-4)
Previous rank: 24
 
Silver and Black got blown out by the Chargers. Blown. Out. They’ve got to fix problems or this season will mushroom cloud.

 
31. Cardinals (1-4)
Previous rank: 32
 
I have to alter my punchline a smidge. Playing the 49ers these days is like landing on a free space. Even for Arizona. (I kid, I kid. Sorta)
 
 
32. 49ers (1-4)
Previous rank: 23
 
You lose to the Cardinals, you go straight to the bottom. Them's the rules. The Santa Clarans might stay here a while. This team is struggling mightily, with no cavalry coming. All their big injuries were season enders. They miss Ken doll quarterback so, so, so bad. 

Raiders' 1988 NFL draft haul offers blueprint for three first-round picks

timbrownusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Raiders' 1988 NFL draft haul offers blueprint for three first-round picks

The Raiders are in a unique position entering next year’s NFL draft. They’re currently armed with three first-round draft picks, accumulated from the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades and one automatically given to them.

If they use them all, it would mark the 16th time in the common draft era that an NFL team has made three first-round picks in the same draft. That information comes courtesy of ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert.

The New York Jets set a record in 2000 with four first-round selections. Recently, the 2017 Cleveland Browns used three first-round picks, and the 2013 Minnesota Vikings did the same thing.

The Raiders, too, have been in this position before. They used three first-round picks in 1988, to great effect.

They selected receiver Tim Brown (No. 6), defensive back Terry McDaniel (No. 9) and defensive tackle Scott Davis (No. 25) that season. Brown became a Hall of Famer. McDaniel started 137 games for the Raiders over 10 seasons and made five Pro Bowls. Davis didn’t last that long, but he was a three-year starter in five seasons with the Raiders.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden gladly would take a similar haul, but he must select appropriately to do so. That 2019 first round will set up his massive rebuild, with a slate of lower draft picks that season -- the Raiders astonishingly gave up a 2019 second-round pick in the Mack trade -- and have two more first-round selections coming in 2020.

“This is where you get a great opportunity to build,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “You have pieces you can use to really build on what we have. With Gruden and the coaches that I’ve got here now, knowing where we’re heading schematically on both sides of the ball and special teams, we’re going to build this thing. We have the ammunition to build this thing really well here.”

That’s if, of course, the Raiders select well. That’s when we’ll be able to compare what was given away to what was received.

The Cleveland Browns did well in 2017, with defensive end Myles Garrett (No. 1), starting safety Jabrill Peppers (No. 25) and productive tight end David Njoku (No. 29) taken in the first round.

While those picks can become trade fodder to move up or down in the NFL draft, the Raiders might be wise to go for quantity considering how much they need at so many positions.

If the season ended today, the Raiders would have three picks in the top 17, providing several opportunities to draft top talent. The Raiders recently have struggled to find productive talent in the first round. Mack and Cooper were the only Pro Bowl players selected in the first round since 2004, per the AP. Also, per the AP, just three draft picks during Gruden's seven-year tenure in Tampa Bay, when he controlled personnel, made the Pro Bowl.

Raiders waive kicker Matt McCrane, sign Daniel Carlson; Obi Melifonwu released

Raiders waive kicker Matt McCrane, sign Daniel Carlson; Obi Melifonwu released

The Raiders have had many deficient portions of the roster recently. Kicker hasn’t been one. Stability reigned at that spot, with Seabastian Janikowski handling the job for 17 years. He got hurt before last season began, and Giorgio Tavecchio filled in admirably.

This season, however, the Raiders can’t find the right one.

They signed undrafted free agent Eddy Pineiro before the season as a long-term solution, but he suffered a groin injury in training camp and ended up on season-ending injured reserve.

Tavecchio was cut early in camp for veteran Mike Nugent, who stepped in once Pineiro got hurt. He went three games before ending up on IR with a hip injury.

Matt McCrane stepped in at that point, and missed four field goals in three games.

That’s why, on Tuesday afternoon, the Raiders moved on to their fourth kicker. They signed Daniel Carlson and waived McCrane in a corresponding move.

Carlson’s name might sound familiar. The Auburn product was Minnesota’s fifth-round draft pick this year, but was cut after a Week 2 loss in which he missed all three field goal attempts.

This recent kicker move comes a day after Tavecchio went 3-for-3 for Atlanta in the Falcons’ victory over the New York Giants, where he connect twice from 50-plus including a 56-yarder that produced the final margin of victory.

Carlson converted 80 percent of his attempt in college, and hit on 87 percent as a junior in 2016.

In other Raiders news, the roster is back at 53 after the team promoted receiver Marcell Ateman and offensive lineman Denver Kirkland off the practice squad. It was at 51 after the Amari Cooper trade and Marshawn Lynch’s move to injured reserve.

Obi Melifonwu was released off injured reserve, a move long expected after he was waived-injured before the initial 53-man roster was set.