Raiders

Raiders

The Raiders are looking to take the next step in 2016.

With a blossoming offense led by Derek Carr, Oakland turned its attention to the defensive side of the ball this offseason, loading up in free agency and the NFL draft.

And that might be the ticket to their first trip to the playoffs since 2002.

When asked about the Super Bowl-winning Broncos defense, linebacker Khalil Mack told Yahoo! Sports' Shutdown Corner, "We can be that good.

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"If you look at that Broncos defense, they’re one of the best defenses in NFL history last year," the All-Pro said. "They did a lot to make the quarterback uncomfortable. We can do those types of things and still put our own little twist on it."

On top of Mack and Mario Edwards Jr. entering their third and second seasons, respectively, the Raiders added veteran Bruce Irvin from Seattle, and drafted Big Ten pass rushers Jihad Ward (Illinois) and Shilique Calhoun (Michigan State).

In addition, Aldon Smith, the edge rusher who was suspended for a full calendar year last November, received a new two-year contract. 

Reggie McKenzie also used the team's first-round pick on West Virginia safety Karl Joseph, who projects to start next to big-ticket free-agent Reggie Nelson.

 

"You want it to happen right away, but we have to know that coming together takes time," Mack added. "We have the talent now, and we can disrupt the way they do and be that dominant if we max out and put it all together."

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