The Oakland Raiders sent a statement around the NFL with their 2016 season, ascending to the top-tier of NFL teams with many Pro-Bowl caliber players to work with. Quarterback Derek Carr headlines the explosive offense alongside Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and the recently acquired Marshawn Lynch, while Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin headline an agile and hard-hitting defense.
With a superior offense line and strong special teams unit, head coach Jack Del Rio led the team to a 12-4 record. If not for the Carr leg injury, the Raiders could have possibly clinched their division and a first-round bye. However, the Raiders and their business-like mentality have them moving forward, ready to embark on the 2017 season and finalize their return to greatness.
It is commonly known that the NFL prospers when organizations like the Raiders succeed, with a strong NFL market in Oakland and the Raiders fans across the United States. With many recognizable players and faces, the Raiders fan base always has a strong showing of support on the road.
The NFL Players’ Association released their top 50 sales players sales list on Wednesday, with the period starting from the beginning of March 2016, all the way to the end of February 2017. The list is comprised by sales from officially licensed NFL merchandise, with the Raiders having three players check in on the list.
Carr was the first Raiders player to show up on the list, appearing at No. 16. Mack then followed his teammate and co-captain and No. 17, while Cooper was slotted at No. 19. All in all, there were 19 quarterbacks, 17 wide receivers, three running backs, two tight ends, five linebackers, two safeties, one defensive end, and one defensive back.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot, quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Dez Bryant finished in the top five, with Elliot becoming the first rookie to finish the year atop the list. Tom Brady (No. 3) and Odell Beckham Jr. (No. 5) rounded out the top five on the list, with the premiere NFL markets ranking high on the list.
Mack finished off his 2016 campaign with a dominant series of game-ending defensive players, which promptly earned him the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. He collected 54 tackles (19 assisted), 11 sacks, five forced fumbles (three recovered and one interception last season.
Cooper has finished both of his NFL seasons with Pro-Bowl appearances, accumulating five touchdowns and 1,153 receiving yards his second season. Cooper and Crabtree formed an explosive receiving tandem on the field, with some additional help in the form of Jared Cook and Cordarrelle Patterson.
Although Carr finished his 2016 season with the leg injury, recent reports indicate that he feels great after the offseason recovery. Carr has show tremendous leadership entering his fourth season, participating with his teammates during the offseason workouts.