AFC West Preview: Oakland Raiders, Part I

Michael Ash continues his preview of the AFC West with part one of his look at the Oakland Raiders.

2007 RECAP

What more can really be said about the Raiders? The 2007 campaign marked their fifth straight losing season, the worst stretch in the history of the franchise. Over that span , Oakland hasn't won more than five games in any single year, and have finished 4-12 on three separate occasions.

There were actually some signs of hope early on last season, as Oakland's 0-2 record became 2-2 after they earned victories over Miami and Cleveland. But after the bye week, a six-game losing streak quickly brought the Raiders back to Earth.

A win over the Chiefs in Week 12 snapped a nine-game losing streak to Kansas City, and the Raiders followed up that performance with their first win over the Denver Broncos since 2004. But four more losses to end the season gave Oakland 12 defeats on the year.

Despite finishing with the same record as the Chiefs, tiebreakers dropped the Raiders to last place in the division again. Though this allowed Oakland to pick one spot earlier in the NFL draft, it extended their streak of last-place finishes to four straight years.


Who didn't the Raiders sign this offseason? Among the names added in Al Davis' spending spree were cornerback DeAngelo Hall ($70 million), receiver Javon Walker ($55 million), safety Gibril Wilson ($39 million), and offensive lineman Kwame Harris ($14 million).

Those totals don't include the $52 million the Raiders paid to re-sign defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, or the $9 million they'll have to pay franchised corner Nnamdi Asomugha.


Quarterback Josh McCown, who started nine games for the Raiders in 2007, left for Miami in free agency. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who started six games, wasn't retained. Wide receiver Jerry Porter signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Most of Oakland's losses came on the defensive line, as ends Chris Clemons and Tyler Brayton left in free agency, and tackle Warren Sapp announced his retirement.


Oakland had just 5 picks in the 2008 draft.

Round 1: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas

Round 4: Tyvon Branch, CB, Connecticut

Round 4: Arman Shields, WR, Richmond

Round 6: Trevor Scott, DE, Buffalo

Round 7: Chaz Schilens, WR, San Diego State


Oakland's victory over Kansas City in Week 12 not only marked their first win over the Chiefs since 2002, it snapped a 17-game losing streak against AFC West opponents. The Raiders hadn't won a game in the division since their wild victory in the snow at Denver in 2004.

It's highly unlikely that Oakland will mount any sort of challenge to the San Diego Chargers, who have beaten the Raiders nine straight times. But for the first time in a few years, the Raiders can feel good about their chances of earning some wins in the division. Another split with the Broncos and Chiefs is entirely possible in 2008.

Next time: Reasons for optimism and concern, and a prediction for 2008. Top Stories