With 74 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. 74.
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. 74.
Currently the Raiders have a player wearing No. 74 that they are very excited about in third-year offensive tackle Kolton Miller. As a rookie, Miller struggled mightily at the position, but fought through, starting all 16 games before turning the corner in Year 2 this past season.
Teaming with Trent Brown, Miller improved in every statistical category, becoming a legitimate left tackle at the NFL level. If he continues on this trajectory, he could end up being the best No. 74 in team history, but our top Raider to wear the No. 74 was dominant along a Raiders defensive line that won an AFL Championship.
Tom Keating (1966-1972)
Tom Keating played sparingly on two Buffalo Bills AFL championship teams before landing with the Oakland Raiders for the 1966 campaign. A dominating defensive tackle for the Silver and Black, Keating became one of the better defensive linemen in the AFL with the Raiders, being named an AFL All-Star in both 1966 and 1967.
In 1967, Keating helped the Raiders to an AFL title, as the 25-year old was named a First Team All-Pro. That team went 13-1, and blew out the Houston Oilers in the AFL Championship Game, before losing to NFL juggernaut Green Bay in Super Bowl II.
That defensive front that included Keating, Dan Birdwell, Ike Lassiter, and Ben Davidson had nearly 70 sacks that season, and stifled Houston 40-7 in the title game. In a sad twist of fate, he and Davidson were diagnosed with prostate cancer within two weeks of each other, and died months apart.
Keating played six season for the Raiders, missing the 1968 season due to a leg injury, and was known for his four-point stance. He would end up finishing his career with stops in Pittsburgh and Kansas City, but it was his work in Oakland that lands him as the best Raider to wear No. 74 of all-time.