It has been a long time since Raiders fans could go into an offseason with plenty of optimism. But based on the number of players the Raiders are sending to the Pro Bowl this year, fans have something to look forward to. After many seasons in which the Raiders had pro bowl barren rosters at the skill positions, Oakland will be fielding five players in Honolulu for the first time since 2002. If not for Marcel Reece’s controversial suspension, the Raiders would have six. The Raiders haven’t had six players selected to a pro bowl since 1994 with the franchise record being nine which happened in both 1973 and 1974.
The five players making the trip to Hawaii are quarterback Derek Carr, receiver Amari Cooper, running back Latavius Murray, defensive end/linebacker Khalil Mack, and the ageless wonder Charles Woodson. On offense, Derek Carr threw for nearly 4,000 yards while both Latavius Murray and Amari Cooper eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark at their positions.
This will be the first pro bowl experience for this young trio. With more time together and experience as starters, Carr, Cooper and Murray are poised to improve on this season and see more pro bowl selections in the future. On the defensive side of the ball, Charles Woodson is putting another pro bowl notch on his belt, this in his 18th and final season as a professional. He put together a stellar season for someone his age with five interceptions, three fumble recoveries and 52 tackles. It will likely be the very last time fans will get to see Woodson suited up, but after the season he just had, he made it known that he is going out on his terms.
The other pro bowl defender, Khalil Mack made history in his own right. He had 15 sacks as a pass rusher and was dominant against the run. One of the very best in the NFL, Khalil Mack was the first player ever to be selected as a first team all-pro at two different positions. While the Raiders may have been disappointed in their 7-9 finish, with the young nucleus of stand out players on this roster, the future is looking very bright for the Raiders organization.