For years, people (myself included) have talked about the Oakland Raiders as a team that is not going to improve until Al Davis steps down as the decision maker.
I have to say though, the moves that the Oakland Raiders have made this off season should give the Raiders and their fans a glimmer of hope.
The biggest mistake that the Raiders have ever made, JaMarcus Russell, is finally not holding this team down anymore. And the addition of Jason Campbell (who I have been saying for years would benefit from the change of scenery), will lead the Raiders out of the AFC West basement.
The Raiders have an above average running back field, with Darren McFadden, Michael Bush and Rock Cartwright. The Running game should be better now that there is actually a fear that the QB may throw the ball.
The receiving corp of the Raiders now has the chance to show that they actually do have talent.
Last years first round pick, Darrius Heyward-Bay has had great mini-camps, and it has been said that he is playing like he is worthy of the pick the Raiders used on him.
As for the defense, the Raiders return possibly the best corner in the NFL in Nnamdi Asomugha. Add to that, the defensive line that features new addition John Henderson and Richard Seymour, the Raiders will be a formidable foe for anyone.
The addition of rookie Rolando McClain will help the Raiders into the future. And if he can perform this year, then the Raiders have a legit shot at fighting for a playoff spot.
My prediction: The Raiders have come a long way this off season, but I do not believe they will win the division or even make the playoffs.
I believe that the Raiders will finish the season a respectable 7-9, and in second place in the AFC West.
On another note - I would like to make a future prediction. After the 2010 season, the Chiefs and Raiders will control the West for the next 4-5 years. San Diego is on the decline, and the Broncos have been set back at least 5 years with the moves Josh McDaniels has made.