31 Days, 31 Teams: Oakland Raiders
In 2007 the Raiders used the overall number one draft pick on quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who rewarded the team by becoming one of the biggest busts ever. Russell is gone and in his place is Jason Campbell, another quarterback that never quite reached the level he's capable of. To be sure Campbell is an upgrade after the Raiders ranking 31st in both scoring and total offense in 2009. One thing Oakland does have is a young set of wide receivers that could do some damage if the Raiders could get production from Campbell. Tight end Zach Miller has become a reliable target and '09 rookie Louis Murphy far exceeded expectations. The Raiders did have some success running the ball but Justin Fargas is now in Denver and Darren McFadden must stay healthy after missing four games last year.
All is not lost when it comes to Oakland's defense. The Raiders sacked opposing quarterbacks 37 times with seven coming from defensive end Trevor Scott. Oakland brings back bookend Richard Seymour and added linebacker Kamerion Wimbley for extra heat. The Raiders also went on the defensive in the draft selecting linebacker Rolando McClain and tackle Lamarr Houston in the first two rounds. The secondary is manned by shutdown Pro Bowler Nnamdi Asomugha who in 2009 recorded only one interception due to the fact that team's refused to throw in his direction.
It is telling that year in and year out the one thing the Raiders excel at is punting. For a third straight year punted Shane Lechler was named to the Pro Bowl and might just be the best punter in the game. Jokes aside, Campbell will need to preform if the Raiders want to improve in 2010. There's depth at running back and wide receiver but the offensive line just isn't strong enough. The Raiders have quite a few difference makers on defense but it won't be enough to keep pace even in a division as weak as the AFC West.