The 2022 Las Vegas Raiders roster may be the most talented that the team has featured in 20 years, and that could mean big things for the Silver and Black.
The last time the Raiders were good, and I mean really good, was during the 2002 season when they won the AFC West and made it all the way to the Super Bowl before a crushing defeat to Tampa Bay. That team featured some incredible talent on both sides of the ball featuring several All-Pros and future Hall of Famers that fell just short of the ultimate goal.
The offense was headlined by NFL MVP Rich Gannon, Jerry Rice, and Tim Brown but they were surrounded by solid players like Charlie Garner and Tyrone Wheatley. The defense was fierce and featured big names like Rod Woodson, Charles Woodson, and Bill Romanowski.
2022 Raiders could give the 2002 team a run for their money
The offensive weapons for the 2022 Raiders feature the most prolific QB in team history in Derek Carr, a young Pro Bowl back in Josh Jacobs, a future Hall of Famer in Davante Adams, one of the best slot receivers in Hunter Renfrow, and a unicorn of a tight end in Darren Waller. It’s hard to compare anyone to Jerry Rice and Tim Brown but the current group as a whole is certainly more talented from top to bottom.
The 2002 offensive line featured two All-Pros in Barrett Robbins and Lincoln Kennedy so they have a clear advantage over a unit that features Pro Bowler Kolton Miller and four question marks if we are being objective.
They paved the way for Rich Gannon to throw for over 4,600 yards and for the Raiders to feature the second-best offense in the NFL. The current unit has some holes and we will have to see young guys like Lester Cotton and Alex Leatherwood step up before we can even think about comparing the two.
Defensively the current Raiders feature a nice mix of established veteran talent and up-and-coming guys with incredible potential. Chandler Jones headlines the group as a possible future Hall of Famer if he racks up a few more big-time seasons and he can certainly do so at just 32 years old.
The rest of the group features Pro Bowlers like Maxx Crosby and Denzel Perryman and young guys like Rock Ya-Sin and Trevon Moehrig that have the potential to reach that level.
The 2002 unit was sixth in the NFL in points allowed and featured the greats previously mentioned but also had excellent players like Sam Adams, Roderick Coleman, and Eric Barton to round out the group. In terms of pure talent and name recognition, the old guys have the edge but this 2022 unit has a real chance to be special under Patrick Graham.
Special teams rarely get the headlines but the 2002 Raiders featured two franchise legends in Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler who were long-standing members of the team with lengthy Pro Bowl and All-Pro resumes.
AJ Cole and Daniel Carlson have some work to do to get to their level but from what we have seen so far they certainly have the talent to do so.
From top to bottom the 2002 Raiders was an incredible collection of veteran talent and young stars with massive potential that lead the team to their first Super Bowl appearance since the mid-1980s. The 2022 roster has some of that same mix and a dynamic young coach that has the experience and cache to capitalize on that.
Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL but in pure talent on paper, this is easily the best team the Raiders have fielded in two decades. Now the question is, can they make that talent count when it really matters?