Las Vegas Raiders: 15 greatest offensive linemen in franchise history

Rodney Hudson, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Rodney Hudson, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Gene Upshaw, Raiders
Gene Upshaw, Raiders. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

Gene Upshaw. 1. player. 28. . LG. (1967-81)

Best offensive lineman in Raiders history: 1. Gene Upshaw

Arguments can be made about whether Jim Otto, Art Shell or Gene Upshaw should be No. 1, but I went with Upshaw. Yes, playing alongside the two previously mentioned players must have been nice, but the same goes for the other two. Regardless, Upshaw is more than deserving of the top spot on the list of the best offensive linemen in Raiders history.

Selected in the first round of the 1967 AFL Draft out of Texas A&M-Kingsville, the Raiders nabbed one of the best guards the sport has ever seen. Versatility was the name of the game in college for Upshaw, but he quickly became the starting left guard for the Raiders and proudly held that position for the entirety of his 15 years in the league.

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In those 15 years, Upshaw played alongside legends like Otto, Shell and many more who appeared earlier in this ranking.

He was named to seven Pro Bowls, nominated First-Team All-Pro five times and won two Super Bowls. Quite the résumé, huh?

Upshaw’s sheer mass and speed made him a rare commodity in that era. He was fast ,but also strong, and surprised defenders with his ability to swing block.

Alongside Shell for most of his career, the two formed a dynamic duo on the left side of the Raiders offensive line in the 1970’s.

Their play fed off of each other and they made each other better. That is a huge reason why the franchise was so successful during that decade.

Unfortunately, Upshaw passed in 2008 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 63. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Upshaw’s legacy will forever be remembered by fans around the league. A better man than football player, Upshaw was one of the best to ever put on a Raiders jersey and tops the list of all-time best offensive linemen in franchise history.

Next. Las Vegas Raiders: 15 best defensive backs of all-time. dark