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2015 NFL Power Rankings #24: Oakland Raiders

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After spending years at the bottom, this team will be a contender in the near future.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: I am not a professional or a psychic. Your guess is as good as mine, unless it's something really crazy.

2014 Record: 3-13

Cuts: Antonio Smith, James Jones, Matt Schaub, LaMarr Woodley

Retirements: Maurice Jones-Drew

Losses: Darren McFadden, Stefen Wisniewski, Pat Sims, Tyvon Branch, Tarell Brown,

New Coach: Jack Del Rio

Signings: Rodney Hudson, Michael Crabtree, Roy Helu, Christian Ponder, Trindon Holliday, Lee Smith, Dan Williams, Curtis Lofton, Malcolm Smith, Nate Allen

Draft Class: Amari Cooper, Mario Edwards, Clive Walford, Jonathan Feliciano, Ben Heeney, Neiron Ball, Max Valles, Anthony Morris, Dexter McDonald

Questions:

Can Derek Carr build off of his rookie season?

Will Khalil Mack take the next step as a pass rusher?

Can Latavius Murray step up and be a capable full-time running back for the Raiders?

Can anyone other than Charles Woodson take command in the secondary?

Defense:

The Raiders have a pair of very promising pass rushers in Khalil Mack and Sio Moore. They have veterans Malcolm Smith, Dan Williams, Justin Tuck, Curtis Lofton, and Justin Ellis present to play a supporting role on defense and they also drafted Mario Edwards, Ben Heeney, and Neiron Ball to add some more youth to the defensive front. But the biggest thing that will help the Raiders defense is Mack and Moore taking the next step.

No one is counting on the Raiders pass rush more than the Raiders secondary. While he Raiders went out and signed Nate Allen and while Charles Woodson continues to scoff at Father Time, the Raiders secondary still needs young corners D.J. Hayden and Keith McGill to step up.

Offense:

The Raiders made their biggest moves on offense this off-season. The Raiders signed Rodney Hudson, Roy Helu, and Michael Crabtree to give Derek Carr some protection and some more weapons. While Crabtree isn't anything special, he's certainly an upgrade from Andre Holmes and Kenbrell Thompkins. And Helu should be a useful back in the passing game.

The Raiders also drafted Amari Cooper, the best receiver in the 2015 draft class, Clive Walford, an athletic tight end prospect, and offensive linemen Jonathan Feliciano and Anthony Morris. The Raiders didn't draft a running-back as they plan on giving Latavius Murray the lead job and he should prove to be an upgrade over the likes of Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew.

Derek Carr should have a pretty good season in 2015 with these weapons.

Best Case Scenario:

Khalil Mack and Sio Moore become pass rushing threats, Latavius Murray becomes the Raiders top rusher, and Derek Carr's new weapons help him improve in 2015. D.J. Hayden and Keith McGill become a quality corner tandem.

Worst Case Scenario:

Mack and Moore don't become threatening pass rushers, the Raiders can't get a run game going, Carr doesn't succeed in 2015, the Raiders young corners stay bad.

Predictions:

Derek Carr throws for 3,400 yards, 25 Touchdowns, and 13 Interceptions.

Amari Cooper has 100 receptions, 1,000 yards receiving, and 8 Touchdowns.

Latavius Murray has 880 yards and 6 Touchdowns.

Khalil Mack and Sio Moore both have 10 sacks.

Charles Woodson and Sebastian Janikowski retire after the season.

Wins: Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings.

Losses: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos (Twice), New York Jets.

Record: 6-10

Previous Entries:

#25: Jacksonville Jaguars

#26: Chicago Bears

#27: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

#28: Cleveland Browns

#29: Houston Texans

#30: San Francisco 49ers

#31: Tennessee Titans

#32: Washington Redskins