Oakland Raiders: The Nominees for Team Captains

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIJune 28, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 31: Punter Shane Lechler #9 of the Oakland Raiders stands on the sidelines during the 2010 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 31, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

With training camp a month away, the Raiders roster is likely complete.  The Raiders rarely bring in anybody other than camp bodies at this point in the off-season, except for Richard Seymour last year.

So who will be the symbolic leaders of the 2010 Oakland Raiders? 

There are three team captains on every NFL team.  These players are usually the best on the team.  The Raiders definitely have deserving players on their 2010 squad.  With that in mind, let's look at some nominees for the three captain spots.

Nnamdi Asomugha:   This nominee is a no-brainer and I am 99.9 percent sure he will be one of the three selected captains.  I expect Asomugha to be given this honor.  His tenure as a Raider and his hard work plus on-field work makes him a more than likely man for the job.

Richard Seymour:   The next best man for the job.  Teams usually use a captain from each group (offense, defense, special teams) so I doubt Seymour will get the honor.  But his career production and veteran leadership plus his mindset as a champion makes him worthy.

Worth Mentioning (Defense):  Nnamdi and Seymour are the top two on the defense in my opinion.  Others worth mentioning would be John Henderson with his two Pro Bowls and pre-game slaps.  Tommy Kelly has been in Oakland as long as Asomugha, making him possible.  Also Tyvon Branch is worth mentioning with his breakout 2009 season including 124 tackles to lead NFL safeties.

Jason Campbell:   Campbell is the projected starting QB.  He has already improved the team with his on-time and on-target passes in OTAs and football IQ.  He is seen as a leader being the QB and that gives him an edge among the offensive nominees.

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Zach Miller:   Miller immediately began contributing to the Raiders after being drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft.  He has had increasing production every season and he is entering his fourth season.  His talent and consistency make him hard to pass up on as a nominee for offensive captain.

Michael Bush:   Although he hasn't had the playing time as Zach Miller, he has had a very good impact as well.  He has had several breakout games in his brief career with limited playing time.  Now he is ready for an increase in production with the release of Justin Fargas.  Bush is a power-speed guy who will lead Oakland's rushing attack. 

Worth Mentioning (Offense):   Others to think about would be: Louis Murphy with his clutch performances last season and being the best WR on the team.  Bruce Gradkowski (if he starts) also deserves mentioning after he saved the Raiders' 2009 season with wins over the Steelers and Bengals.  Darrius Heyward-Bey and Darren McFadden also should be mentioned because of their reported work ethic this offseason.

Sebastian Janikowski:   Sea-Bass had a career year last season making his first 13 FGs while maintaining his freakish leg strength.  He drove home a 57-yarder in Cleveland.  He was robbed of a Pro Bowl trip by choke-artist Nate Kaeding. He is tough to pass up for captain.

Shane Lechler:   The reason Sea-Bass isn't a clinch.  Lechler annually represents Oakland in the Pro Bowl.  He also annually leads the NFL in punting yards.  His stats may be inflated via Oakland's offense lately, but he still has the strongest leg in among punters.

Worth Mentioning:   I can't forget about Isiah Ekejubah, aka "Eke".  Eke has been a great coverage man and open field tackler for Oakland, who made him the highest paid special teams cover man in the NFL.  Also think about Brandon Myers who forced and recovered a fumble against the Bengals to set up Sea-Bass's game winner.  Also remember Pro-Bowl long-snapper Jon Condo, who always delivers a great snap.

If I was Tom Cable, my captains would be Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Sebastian Janikowski.  Not easy decisions, but I have the most respect for these three men on Oakland's roster.