The Oakland Raiders' roster is comprised of many young, fresh talents that have yet to be completely materialized. Entering their third year of play, many of these players have the potential to be game-breakers. I see big things in the future of these players.
1. Chaz Schilens
Schilens is 6'4", 225 lbs, and fast. He has shown flashes of brilliance in his injury-limited playing time. This year however, Schilens is poised to emerge as a go to receiver for Jason Campbell.
The entire receiving corps for the Raiders is comprised of speedy guys that can stretch the field, and with Schilens being arguably the best route runner we have, he should spend plenty of time making catches over the middle. The only thing standing in his way of a 1,000 yard season is Zach Miller's emergence as a premier TE.
2. Darren McFadden
D-Mac, or Run DMC, should really impress this season. As several other authors have noted, with a legitimate passing game, holes should be abundant for D-Mac. Play-action swings galore are in his future, pushing him to the outside where his innate ability to juke and burn linebackers should easily allow him to cross the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career. Look for around 13 TDs from McFadden.
3. Michael Bush
My personal favorite. When Oakland drafted Bush in such a late round, I had a mini-party you know where. This guy was fantastic in college. At 6'1", 245 lbs, Bush is a bruiser who will get most of the red-zone carries. He also has the potential to break big ones as a change of pace-back. I don't look for massive yardage this year, but fewer than 10 TDs will surprise me.
4. Tyvon Branch
Branch showed last season that he can be the man. With a deep safety position, he will more than earn his playing time. Branch reacts quickly to the play, and last year seemed to be in on almost every tackle. Not looking for Defensive Player of the Year, but don't count him out of the Pro-Bowl.
5. Trevor Scott
Last but not least, Scott. He was moved to OLB towards the end of last season, and excelled in that role. This year we have built our defense around the assumption that Scott will be there again. This kid has some outrageous ability, and I am looking at improved production, with upwards of 15 sacks, and I'm calling at least three picks.
If these five guys can play up to standards, the remainder of the team can provide them with the support they need. Look for Oakland to rise to the top of the AFC West, and perhaps ride their success deep into the playoffs.
It's been a long drought. Bring on the rain!