[embed align="center"]http://gty.im/153039819[/embed] These aren't your daddy's Oakland Raiders or even your younger self's Raiders. If anything, these are your newborn's Raiders or your puppy's Raiders. These are the Raiders we've never seen before.
Indicative of the freshness of the franchise was their 2016 NFL Draft. No longer slave to a high draft pick and desperate needs, the theme of the draft for the Raiders was upside.
It's as if general manager Reggie McKenzie got so used to hitting his draft picks out of the park that he started swinging for the fences. We'll have to wait a couple of years before we know if he struck out or if he'll continue his Ruthian ways.
First, McKenzie boldly went with a safety at No. 14 overall. Kyle Joseph is coming off a torn ACL and fills a major need, but safety isn't a premium position. Only a handful of safeties have been drafted in the first 14 picks in the last 15 years and include names like Earl …
Khalif Barnes - Weakest link on the offensive line with youth behind him. Raiders will look for for other options. It's not as if there aren't a dozen Khalif's on the street each year.
Darryl Blackstock - Was a Chuck Bresnahan guy, but found a home on special teams. Would have to make the team as a reserve LB and special teams guy next training camp. Wouldn't be surprised to see him back as a camp body or gone entirely.
Kyle Boller - Hue didn't have enough confidence to turn to Boller. Expect the Raiders to look elsewhere for a backup to Carson Palmer.
Jerome Boyd - Was nothing more than a reserve and special teams player. Some good moments and some very bad ones. Camp body again and fate will depend on the defensive coordinator.
Tyvon Branch - About the only consistent producer in the secondary. Raiders will want to bring him back.
Desmond Bryant - He's been great in limited action and can play inside and out. Key reserve.
The Oakland Raiders are tired of being the team that will be good in a year or two. The team expects to win now and it is winning now.
We thought the Raiders needed more talent. We thought that being in the playoff hunt was a year away for this team, but we were wrong. This isn't the team we thought they were, they're better.
On Sunday, they moved to 3-3 on Sunday with a 37-29 win over the San Diego Chargers that wasn't close until the final minute. It was also the Raiders second road win of the season. The last time the Raiders had two road wins by their sixth game was 2011. Before that, a five-year streak from 1998-2002.
The Raiders went 8-8 in 1998, 1999 and 2011 and narrowly missed the playoffs each year. They made the playoffs in 2000, 2001 and 2002. They didn't have a losing record in any of those seasons because teams that can win on the road are usually pretty good.
As the season matures, there is more and more evidence that some of the "best-case scenarios&q…