Shane Lechler

Khalil Mack, Shane Lechler among ex-Raiders on NFL's All-Decade Team

Khalil Mack, Shane Lechler among ex-Raiders on NFL's All-Decade Team

Khalil Mack was the Raiders best player over the past decade. It’s hard to argue that, even with Charles Woodson making Pro Bowls in his last 30s.

The Silver and Black drafted him No. 5 overall in 2014, and he thrived in the four seasons before being traded to the Chicago Bears. He had 41.5 sacks in that span and was one of the NFL’s elite edge run defenders.

He made the Pro Bowl three times and was a first-team All-Pro twice as a Raider, including one year where he earned the distinction at two positions. He also won the NFL’s defensive player of the year award in 2016, when the Raiders made the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Mack was an obvious choice for the NFL’s all-decade team for the 2010s, which was released by the league on Monday morning.

Mack wasn’t the only former Raider on the list. Punter Shane Lechler was rightfully included, though he played just three years for the Silver and Black in that decade. The Raiders’ first-round pick in 2000 was a fixture in Oakland from that time through 2012, when the native Texan left to play for Houston.

Oakland icon and former Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch also made the list, largely for his exploits with the Seattle Seahawks. He was with his hometown Raiders in 2017 and 2018 after coming out of retirement and returned to Seattle last year for their playoff run.

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All-decade kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson spent a year with the Raiders in 2017.

Center Rodney Hudson is the only Raider with a strong argument for inclusion ultimately left out. He’s at least equal to Alex Mack and Maurkice Pouncey, possibly better in some eyes, and may be the NFL’s best pass-blocking center.

[RELATED: Raiders must do better with No. 12 draft pick]

While Woodson was well past his prime in the 2010s, the future Hall-of-Famer made three Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro in 2011. He was featured on the NFL’s All-2000s roster but could well have been included here. Eric Weddle, Eric Berry and Earl Thomas were the safeties named to the all-2010s team, and it’s hard to justify taking any of them off the list.

Here's the complete All-2010s team:  

WR –
 Antonio Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones
TE – Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce
T – Jason Peters, Tyron Smith, Joe Staley, Joe Thomas
G – Jahri Evans, Logan Mankins, Zack Martin, Marshal Yanda
C – Alex Mack, Maurkice Pouncey
QB – Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers
RB – Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson
Flex – Darren Sproles

DE –
 Calais Campbell, Cameron Jordan, Julius Peppers, J.J. Watt
DT – Geno Atkins, Fletcher Cox, Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh
LB – Chandler Jones, Luke Kuechly, Khalil Mack, Von Miller, Bobby Wagner, Patrick Willis
CB – Patrick Peterson, Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman
S – Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, Eric Weddle
DB – Chris Harris, Tyrann Mathieu

P –
 Johnny Hekker, Shane Lechler
K – Stephen Gostkowski, Justin Tucker
PR – Tyreek Hill, Darren Sproles
KR – Devin Hester, Cordarrelle Patterson

Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll

NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco contributed to this report. 

Why Jon Gruden likens rookie A.J. Cole to past Raiders punting legends

Why Jon Gruden likens rookie A.J. Cole to past Raiders punting legends

OAKLAND -- To a man, there wasn't a whole lot to watch Saturday night in the Raiders' 14-3 preseason-opening win over the Los Angeles Rams.

A number of starters -- including Derek Carr, Tyrell Williams, Josh Jacobs, Vontaze Burfict and Gareon Conley -- didn't suit up at the Coliseum. Antonio Brown, of course, still is working through his helmet issue and a foot ailment.

So, aside from the Raiders' backup quarterback competition between Nathan Peterman and Mike Glennon, what was there to take away from what likely was the final preseason game in Oakland? The punters, of course.

Johnny Townsend, who started for the Raiders last season, is facing a stiff battle from undrafted rookie A.J. Cole this fall. In his first NFL action, Cole came to play.

The rookie showed a big leg against the Rams, booming punts of 46, 44 and 49 yards. Cole stuck two punts inside the Rams' 20-yard line, including one at the LA 10. All four of his punts landed inside the Rams' 31. The Rams also did not even attempt to return one of Cole's punts, as two were fair caught and two were downed. 

Raiders coach Jon Gruden had high praise for the rookie punter.

"I think Townsend has got his hands full with A.J. Cole," Gruden said after the game. "It's going to be interesting down the stretch. Cole proved he could kick off, which adds to his versatility. He downed them inside the 20, I think, a couple of times. He put on a display the other day against the Rams. We haven't seen kicks like that since [Shane] Lechler was here, or [Marquette] King.

"This guy really has a live leg, and it looks like he can directional punt, hold, so Townsend has his hands full. We like Townsend, too. It'll be a battle the next couple weeks."

That's high praise for Cole, but it certainly looks like he has the leg to live up to it.

[RELATED: Gruden, Raiders 'support' AB in helmet grievance with NFL]

The great punter battle of 2019 rages on, but Cole has a leg up at the moment.

Why Peter King believes ex-Raiders punter Shane Lechler has Hall of Fame case


Why Peter King believes ex-Raiders punter Shane Lechler has Hall of Fame case

Ray Guy is the only punter in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If you ask NBC Sports' Peter King, another former Raider has a strong case to join him.

Shane Lechler, who retired over the weekend after 18 NFL seasons (and 13 with the Raiders), is a lock for Canton in King's eyes.

"I believe Shane Lechler is a Hall of Fame player, and not just because his 47.6-yard average over 18 seasons is the best yards-per-punt average in NFL history," King wrote in his weekly Football Morning in America column. "What always impressed me about Lechler was his incredible consistency."

King noted that Lechler averaged higher yards per punt in 10 seasons in his thirties (48.31) than six in his twenties (45.78), and had his highest average in two in his forties (48.35). 

[RELATED: Gruden finds comparison for DB LaMarcus Joyner]

Lechler also was a fixture with the Silver and Black. His 206 games with the Raiders are fourth-most in franchise history, behind only Guy (207), Tim Brown (240) and his special-teams battery mate, Sebastian Janikowski (269). In fact, just 13 players have suited up in more NFL games than Lechler (286). 

That list primarily is populated with specialists, but Jeff Feagles (352 games) is the only punter to play more than Lechler, although Lechler has averaged about six yards more per punt. The longevity and the consistency mean he's one of the very best to play his position, but will that get him a Hall of Fame bust?

We won't know until after the 2022 season at the earliest, when the punter is first eligible for induction.