The 10 most important players on the Oakland Raiders
1. DE Khalil Mack (40)
2. WR Amari Cooper (35)
3. OT Donald Penn (32)
4. CB Gareon Conley (24)
5. RB Marshawn Lynch (19)
6. G Kelechi Osemele (15)
7. C Rodney Hudson (13)
8. G Gabe Jackson (11)
T-9. DE Mario Edwards (10)
T-9. OT Marshall Newhouse (10)
The highest ranking for any rookie in the AFC West belonged to Gareon Conley, with his 24 points here. Conley scored a No. 2 (Klemko), No. 3 (Burke) and No. 4 spot (Baskin), although he fell off the other two ballots.
Mack captured four of a possible five first-place votes. Offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse carried the fifth (Klemko), which was enough to move him into the Raiders’ top 10. Falling just shy were a trio of important defenders: Reggie Nelson, Bruce Irvin and Karl Joseph. Both Nelson (Marston) and Irvin (Burke) did have one fifth-place vote each, but that was not enough to offset Newhouse’s 10-pointer.
Eric Single defends his fourth-place vote for OT Austin Howard: Howard was in part a placeholder vote for whoever wins the starting right tackle job (reported summer front-runner Marshall Newhouse, like Howard, is no safe bet to last 16 games). Either way, Derek Carr’s injury overshadowed the debilitating impact left tackle Donald Penn’s late-season injury had on the Raiders’ line, and as long as Howard remains on the roster, he will be a pivot point for Oakland’s offensive flexibility.
Other Raiders receiving votes: S Reggie Nelson (eighth); LB Bruce Irvin, S Karl Joseph, OT Austin Howard, WR Cordarrelle Patterson (seven); DE Denico Autry (six); WR Michael Crabtree, S Sean Smith, TE Jared Cook, LB Cory James (five); RB Latavius Murray (three); S T.J. Carrie (one)