With 78 days until the opening game of 2020, we start the count down with the best Raiders player at every jersey number. Today we focus on No. 78.
With the season a few months away, we take a look at the best player to wear the jersey number of the number of days left before the opener on September 13, 2020 against the Carolina Panthers. That game will kick off the new era of Raiders football.
We continue our series with No. 78.
The 2014 Oakland Raiders draft class produced some incredible talent, including first round pick Khalil Mack, who would go on to be an NFL Defensive Player of the Year wearing the Silver and Black. Derek Carr was selected in the second round, and has rewrote the Raiders record book in terms of passing categories.
In the fourth round, with the No. 107 overall pick, the Raiders selected defensive tackle Justin Ellis, and he was supposed to be a long-term solution at the position. He played a ton before Jon Gruden arrived, but then injuries mounted, and with the team drafting guys like P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst, the decision was made to release him.
Ellis had some good moments wearing No. 78 for the Raiders, but like some other numbers in team history, the best Raiders player to wear that number was a no-brainer.
Countdown to 2020: Best Raiders player to wear No. 78 all-time
Art Shell (1968-1982)
As a third round pick out of Maryland State back in 1968, Art Shell had to prove his worth at the professional level. The big fella did all of that, and more, becoming one of the better offensive tackles in not only Raiders history, but in the history of the NFL.
An eight-time Pro Bowler, including seven straight from 1972 through 1978, Shell was named a First or Second Team All-Pro on four occasions. A member of two Raiders Super Bowl teams, he appeared in 24 playoff games during his career, serving as the anchor on some of the better offensive lines the league has ever seen.
Shell was named a member of the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1970s, and was placed on the illustrious 100th Anniversary Team. He played his entire professional career with the franchise, and was inducted into both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Shell returned to the organization as first an offensive line coach, and then as head coach in 1989, helping the team to three playoff appearances, including a spot in the AFC title game after the 1990 campaign. For his work, Shell was named the AFC's Coach of the Year, and while his second stint as head coach in 2006 was a bit of an embarrassment, it did nothing to diminish what he meant to the organization.