Photo by: DeMarcus Davis (@DeMarcusRFNet)

5 quick positives from the Oakland Raiders offseason workouts

Five quick positive observations from the Oakland Raiders offseason workouts

The Oakland Raiders completed their offseason workouts last Thursday and now have some time off until they begin training camp in Napa near the end of July. Here are five quick positive observations from the 2016 offseason workout regiment. 

1. Khalil Mack is a beast...

It may seem like an obvious observation, but the guy is simply a beast on the field. He looks even bigger than last season and certainly doesn't look like he has lost a step. Mack is looking to build on a sophomore year where he finished second in the league with sacks with 15.5 and he very well could do so. Though I don't expect him to match quarterback Derek Carr's expectations of 30 sacks, I could easily see him battling for the top sack total in the league again. He continues to develop into one of the best defensive players in the league and I don't expect anything different in 2016. 

2. AC/DC connection continues to grow...

Derek Carr was able to find nice chemistry with his then-rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper last year, connecting with each other for over 1,000 yards. Cooper battled injuries late in the season and never quite looked like the same explosive player that he was early in the season. That said, Cooper looks stronger and more comfortable on the field entering his second year in the league. With another year under their belt and the continuity of keeping offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, I expect the AC/DC connection to continue to develop into an explosive offense. 

3. The offensive line could be one of the best...

The Oakland Raiders had one of the best offensive lines last year, and Carr won't hesitate to tell you that. That said, general manager Reggie McKenzie seems to have upgraded it this offseason by signing guard Kelechi Osemele while bringing left tackle Donald Penn back. Bringing in Osemele moved third-year player Gabe Jackson over to right guard, where he seems to have transitioned almost flawlessly. The Raiders also have right tackle Menelik Watson returning who will battle for the starting job with Austin Howard. The Raiders have a big offensive line, and it won't be surprising if Carr is buying his big men up front a lot of meals this season for keeping him upright. 

4. Sean Smith is a big corner...

You certainly notice cornerback Sean Smith's prowess when you first see him in person. Standing at 6-foot-3, 214 pounds, his size stands out on the field when he's lining up against wide receivers. He uses his length to his advantage when defending, going up and attacking the ball at the highest point. He's similar to the cornerbacks that defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. saw in Seattle. Adding Smith to the secondary is certainly an upgrade to the Raiders defense and it'll be fun to see how he produces on the field this year for the Silver & Black. 

5. Welcome back, Mario...

Rookie defensive lineman Mario Edwards, Jr. suffered a neck injury in week 13 of last season and the Raiders remained mum on when he would be able to return, as they do with all injuries. But since it was a neck injury, many speculated how serious it may be and some even worried that it could be career-threatening which would have been a devastating blow to the second-round pick that was excelling in the second half of the season after taking over for the injured Justin Tuck. Edwards returned to the field in full during the minicamp and it was good to see him back working in full. He can be a key piece to the Raiders defense now that Tuck has decided to hang up the cleats. 


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