Oakland Raiders Pillage Pro Bowl Roster

In an era where the Pro Bowl has become a bit of a joke, the announcements of rosters almost surpass the game itself. People are interested in seeing if their favorite players won the popularity contest, and will have an opportunity to play in the NFL’s All-Star game. As much as they’d like to say they don’t care, there’s no doubt fans are excited when their favorite players make the cut, especially when several do.

Oakland Raiders Pillage Pro Bowl Roster

This year, the Oakland Raiders owned the Pro Bowl vote with seven members of the Silver and Black earning first rights, and seven more being voted in as alternates. That’s right, assuming the Raiders don’t win the AFC Championship, and several people drop out, 14 Raiders could travel to the Pro Bowl.

Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Khalil Mack, Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele, Donald Penn, and Reggie Nelson were all voted by fans and players as some of the best at their position. The likes of Michael Crabtree, Sebastian Janikowski, Marquette King, Latavius Murray, Jamize Olawale, and Jalen Richard are the alternates.

Derek Carr

This is an easy one. Derek Carr is the best young quarterback in football, and one of the best in the game period. There are many reasons that the Raiders have succeeded this year, but it’s easy to say they wouldn’t be 11-3 without Carr. The┬áRaiders would still just be the Raiders, and they wouldn’t be one of the best teams in the AFC.

Amari Cooper

Much like Carr, Cooper has been crucial to Oakland’s success. The Raiders went a full decade without a 1,000 yard receiver, and the 22-year-old has done it both years he’s been in the league. Cooper is a threat to take a pass all the way every time he touches it, and is a top ten receiver in this league.

Khalil Mack

What is there to say about Khalil Mack that hasn’t already been said? He’s Pro Football Focus’ highest ranked edge defender, and is second only to Aaron Donald as far as defenders go. He’s a quarterback killer, and should absolutely win the Defensive Player of the Year award.

Rodney Hudson, Donald Penn, and Kelechi Osemele

The left side of Oakland’s offensive line is unreal. Hudson, Penn, and Osemele help make up arguably the best offensive line in all of football. After all, Derek Carr is the NFL’s least hurried, hit, or sacked quarterback in the league. Two years removed from one of the worst rushing offenses in NFL history, the team is in the top ten. Carr and Cooper have dominated this year, but they couldn’t have done it without these three.

Reggie Nelson

This one makes no sense. PFF has Reggie Nelson as their 42nd best safety, and how he made the Pro Bowl, nobody will ever know. He whiffs on tackles, and is a serious liability in coverage. Almost every time a big pass play happens, it’s because the receiver got behind Nelson. This is an example of popularity damaging integrity. Frankly, rookie Karl Joseph is having a better year than Nelson is, and he’s not even an alternate.

The Alternates

Marquette King, Michael Crabtree, and Gabe Jackson are the big questions. King has easily been one of the best, and most exciting punters in the NFL this season, Crabtree has been more consistent than Cooper at points, and Jackson is another huge part of that line.

That’s not to say these players are perfect. Some could live without King‘s antics, Jackson isn’t as good as his counterpart, and Crabtree leads the NFL in drops. But if Reggie Nelson gets in, it’s a shame that these players have to wait for an invite.

In conclusion, the Pro Bowl is a bit of a joke. And furthermore, Raider Nation doesn’t really want any of these players to participate in the game. While the Nation wants to root for their favorites, that’s not what they want. The Raider Nation hopes their boys will be in Houston, preparing for a different game. A game that means more than a watered down version of flag football.