Raiders: 5 CHANGES FOR A PLAYOFF PUSH IN 2015

Despite finishing just 3-13 on the season, the Oakland Raiders have shown they have some young pieces they can build around. Here are what the Silver & Black’s top-five priorities should be.

Give Derek Carr some wide receivers: Rookie quarterback Derek Carr arguably had the best season out of the rookie quarterbacks, and he showed he has the talent to be the franchise quarterback the Raiders have so desperately needed. He did this without his wide receivers consistently making plays. Wide receiver Andre Holmes led the team in receiving yards, with just 693. The Raiders haven’t had a receiver break the 1,000-yard mark since Randy Moss did it in 2005.

Give Derek Carr a running game: They say that a rookie quarterback’s best friend is a strong defense and a strong running game. Carr didn’t have either, especially the running game. The Raiders rushing attack was inconsistent all year, averaging just 77.5 yards per game, dead last in the NFL. Veteran running back Darren McFadden led the team in rushing with just 534 yards and two touchdowns. Whether it is getting a new running back or shoring up the running game in a different way for Latavius Murray, the Raiders must get back to running the ball.

Get Khalil Mack some help: The Raiders selected Khalil Mack fifth-overall in the 2014 NFL Draft and he lived up to the hype. The former University of Buffalo star played in all 16 games and racked up 84 tackles (59 solo), four sacks, four passes defensed and one forced fumble en route to being named to the PFWA’s All-Rookie team. Mack faced double teams for much of the season, making it even more apparent that the Raiders need to get him some additional help along the defensive line. Whether it’s in the draft or free agency, the Raiders can help their young defensive star greatly by adding a solid pass-rusher or double team-demanding defensive tackle.

Draft well: This one goes without saying, but it really is a must for Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders. McKenzie and the front office added some talented young pieces last draft, and they must do so again. If they miss in the draft, it will only set the team back more. Drafting well gives the team great depth as well as young pieces they can continue to build for the future with.

Develop their young pieces: Just as important as drafting well, the Raiders must develop their young pieces during this offseason. The Raiders hit well during last year’s draft, but it doesn’t mean much if they don’t continue to grow as NFL players. Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Justin Ellis, TJ Carrie, etc. need to continue to grow into better NFL players. While they were good in 2014, they must be even better next year if they want to try and help lead the Silver & Black back into the playoffs for the first time since 2002.


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