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My Top Five: Oakland Raiders.

Updated on October 15, 2015

Tedious Disclaimer.

Before any of you e-people get on my case, yes, some of these people played for the Los Angeles Raiders.

I know.
But honestly... we're talking about semantics.
Los Angeles... Oakland... even San Antonio, a Raider is a Raider, no matter what.

These are not the five best Raiders of all time.
These are not the five most popular Raiders of all time.
These are just my five favorite Raiders players of all time.


5. Derek Carr.


Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I know.
"Well, this list just lost all legitimacy"
"This idiot"
"All time, and you pick a player in his second year?"

Chill the hell out people.
It's barely about Derek.
It's about what Derek reresents.
Derek Carr embodies everything good about the future of the Oakland Raiders.
He's got all the tools, all the intangibles, and experts and veterans around the league are sold on this kid.

Look at the Raiders QBs in recent memory-
You've got Terrelle Pryor, who Raiders fans love, despite never showing improvement as a passer and currently rotting in free agency.
You've got Carson Palmer, who was better in Oakland than most people gave him credit for, but that needs talent around him to be successful, and was far too old and expensive to build around.
Before that?
Jason Campbell?
Bruce Gradkowski?
JaMarcus Russell?
Yeahhhhh tell me how any of those guys are doing today...

Carr is the most complete package the Raiders have had, maybe since the ill-fated burst of potential that was Todd Marinovich.
With Amari Cooper, one of the better offensive lines in football, and maybe even Michael Crabtree, the future of Carr and the Raiders... at least on the surface looks bright.
The next four guys are what I loved about the past, but this one, this one is what I love about the future.

4.Nnamdi Asomugha.

Between 2003 and 2010, the Oakland Raiders won a combined 37 games.
Wanna know just how bad that is?
I mean... 37... That can't be that bad, can it?
Over the span of eight seasons?
That's out of 128 games.
Over that same span, the New England Patriots won 101 games.
Hell, they've won 36 games over the last three years.

They were terrible.
I mean... awful.
We're talking about being bad enough to pick first overall... and then using the first overall pick to take JaMarcus Russell bad.
Yeah. It was that bad.

During that time, coaches changed like defense against the dark arts professors. quarterbacks came and went like WWE Champions, and the most we had to be excited about was a .500 season where we used offensive gimmicks to beat bad teams.

The only silver (and black) lining was a 6'2 corner that specialized in press man-to-man, said little, and let his play do the talking.
During his time with the Raiders, Asomugha was named All-Pro four times, to the Pro Bowl 3 times, and was the starting corner of the All-Decade team for the 2000's.
Asomugha was a class act, a good guy, and someone who always showed up, whether the Raiders were competitive or not.

His career may have taken a headfirst dive when he sold out and went to Philadelphia, but that's because they asked him to play out of position in a scheme that accentuated his weaknesses. He was never the same after that, but he'll always have a place in the hearts of the Raider Nation.

3. Tim Brown.

As I write these selections, I'm noticing a theme.
All of these guys were good... when the Raiders weren't.
I appreciate those who shine the brightest on dark nights.
I appreciate the diamonds in the rough.
You ask me who I like more, Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, I'll tell you Tom Brady, not because of all the rings, the wins, or the statistical brilliance.
But because he had nothing, and earned everything.
Because he's played with legends and he's played with nobodies, and he's been the same man.

That's how I feel about my favorite Raiders.
During the 90's, the Raiders were... meh.
They were just plain old meh.
Nothing special about em.
Of the complete decades in NFL history, this was the only one where the Raiders didn't play in a NFL Championship game.

Not for a lack of trying by the real Mr. Raider though.
Tim Brown played with bums.
With the exception of Rich Gannon (See:... Well. Spoilers...), Brown caught passes from Jay Schroeder, Jeff Hostetler, Jeff George, Steve Beuerlein, Brian Griese, Vince Evans, Todd Marinovich, Billy Joe Hobert, David Klingler, Donald Hollas, Wade Wilson, Bobby Hoying, Marques Tuiasosopo, Rick Mirer, Tee Martin, Rob Johnson, Brad Johnson and Chris Simms.

Not Joe Montana.
Not Dan Marino.
Not Jim Kelly.

Those bums.
And he still put up Hall of Fame numbers.
He still ripped the league apart.
He gave his all for the Raiders, despite never getting it back.
Guys like Randy Moss, Jerry Rice, and Cris Carter had their share of great quarterbacks.
They've had their share of being spoiled by easy offenses.
Brown didn't get a fair shake until he was much too old, and so were his teammates.

Tim Brown is the ultimate underdog, and for that, he gets this placement on my list.

2. Rich Gannon.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the best quarterback to ever suit up for the Raiders.
Lamonica was crucial in the development of the vertical offense, but he had about as much depth as a kiddie pool.
Stabler is the face of the position for the franchise, but if we're being honest, it was his swagger that we remember so fondly, not his consistency as a passer.
And Plunkett...
Let's not pretend that he could've won Super Bowls without all the talent around him.

The West Coast ran through Gannon.
And we haven't had a winning season since he left.

Here's my beef.
Gannon is the best quarterback in the history of the franchise... how isn't he a Hall of Famer?
George freakin' Blanda, the man who threw 42 interceptions in a 14 game season, is in the hall of fame, but Gannon, who won a league MVP and lead them to a Super Bowl, isn't.
Kurt Warner, a man with comparable statistics with half the impact will likely be enshrined in Canton next year, but not Gannon.

Look, I'm not saying he should be in Canton.
He only put up great numbers for about four years.
Guys like Terrell Davis, Bo Jackson, and others made amazing impacts during brief careers and have been left waiting... I don't see how Gannon should get in.

But by that logic, neither should Warner.
Warner only had 6 good years at QB.
He was a system player that was replaced by the likes of Marc Bulger and Eli Manning.
Remember when Curtis Painter stole Peyton Manning's job?
Oh no... That didn't happen.
Remember when Matt Cassel stole Tom Brady's job?
Guess that didn't happen either.

If we're gonna put Kurt Warner in, we've gotta put Manning in too.

Gannon represents everything that idiot fans think of when they beg for the hiring of Jon Gruden. He represents the last time the Raiders were taken seriously, and while I would have to be highly intoxicated to even want to listen to Gruden call Monday Night Football, I can definitely say I miss what Gannon represents.

1. Charles Woodson.

How about the play where he out-Mossed Randy Moss in the endzone?

For me, my all time favorite Raider is the GOAT, Charles Woodson.
Mr. Raider.
Old Man Charlie.
Charles Woodson might be the greatest defensive back in NFL history.
Biased opinion?
My opinion?
That too.

He's got as many picks as Ronnie Lott, the man that many claim is the best safety of all time.
He's got the record for most defensive touchdowns (Lucky 13 so far).
And the fact is...
He's still bringing it.
He's still fun to watch.
At 39 years old...
With a dislocated shoulder...
On a team with defensive struggles...
He leads the league in interceptions.

That's just bonkers.
Guys like Ed Reed switched defenses and were exposed immediately.
Guys like Troy Polamalu just couldn't handle the evolution of the passing game.
Charles Woodson was drafted in 1998.
He came into the league at a time where Manning and Brady were young bucks and Steve Young and Dan Marino were still kickin.
He saw the rise and fall of the Tampa 2, the Wildcat, and the option QB (Yeah, it's over, whether the NFL has figured it out or not).
The league has changed drastically, and Woodson is still among the very best.
If he's a dinosaur, he's a Tyrannosaurus.
And the black hole will play the role of Jurassic Park for at least one more season.


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