5 bold Raiders predictions for NFL Honors

Which Raiders could be in line for awards and distinctions this season?
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The preseason is fun. Because nothing has happened on the field yet, it is a time of projections, but most importantly, a time of optimism and hopefulness. In these offseason hypotheticals, we put ourselves through as fans, there are no injuries, there is an avenue to win every game and make the playoffs, and every player on the team is as good as you want them to be. 

Sadly, the NFL season does not pan out the way that most fans want it to, in fact, only one fanbase is truly happy at the season’s end. But that didn’t stop me from making five exciting and bold predictions about how our team will fare in the NFL Honors and Awards this season. 

Antonio Pierce wins Coach of the Year

This may not be the boldest of predictions, but I think that Antonio Pierce could easily win the Coach of the Year award. Nobody thinks that the Raiders will be the best team in the NFL, and that may actually work in Pierce’s favor. Since 2016, only John Harbaugh was given the Coach of the Year award for leading his team to the league’s best record.

For the most part, the award winners consist of coaches who led a team to new heights or improved from the last season. For example, Brian Daboll led a turnaround from four to nine wins to earn his 2022 honor, and Kevin Stefanski led a similar turnaround in 2020, helping the Browns improve from six wins to 11. 

If the voters also consider the cultural shift he was responsible for last season and the team continues that success, he should win it. I predict that the Raiders will win somewhere between nine and 11 games and sneak into the playoffs as a wildcard. To me, in this scenario, there is no better candidate for this award than Coach AP. 

Maxx Crosby finally wins Defensive Player of the Year

For most Raider fans, this prediction would be the most satisfying if it came true. Maxx Crosby is a Raider through and through, and he deserves to be recognized not only for his play on the field but for the impact he has on the team as a whole. This is a prime era too for recognizing the value in an elite defensive lineman. Since 2014, only one non-defensive lineman has won the Defensive Player of the Year Award (Stephon Gilmore in 2019). 

Crosby finished fourth last season in voting behind fellow edge rushers Myles Garrett, T.J. Watt, and Micah Parsons. Many disagreed with these players being voted for instead of Crosby, and truly, it is his turn. Outperforming these players like he did last year may not be enough, but I would be willing to bet that if Crosby could increase the number of turnovers he causes, he would be a no-brainer to win the award.

Raiders land 2+ players on the All-Rookie Team

I am a firm believer in Tom Telesco’s vision, and I could see up to three of his draft selections landing on the All-Rookie Teams: Brock Bowers, Jackson Powers-Johnson, and Dylan Laube. 

Bowers seems like an obvious choice because he was the only first-round tight end selection, and he figures to play a large role in this Raiders offense. Whoever the team decides to start at quarterback will need a safety blanket, and Bowers is that guy. Not only this, but he can make an impact in the running game as well and should score touchdowns from a variety of alignments. 

Jackson Powers-Johnson should start on Day 1, and if he is as good as he was in college, he will be in line to assert himself among the best in his class in the NFL. He has the privilege of playing in between fellow Pac-12 alumni Kolton Miller and Andre James, both seasoned veterans who should make his job easier on him. This lifelong Raider fan just needs to stay healthy in order to achieve everything he is capable of.

Dylan Laube may come as a shock to readers, but it is important to note that I think he will be a member of the All-Rookie team as a return specialist, not as a running back. Zamir White and Alexander Mattison will surely carry the load for the running back room, but Laube should be in line to return both kicks and punts after his successful college career doing so. With the new kickoff rules favoring the returners, I think he is incredibly valuable to the team, though most do not see it now.  

Three All-Pros emerge from the roster

Outside of our elite group of specialists (K Daniel Carlson and P A.J. Cole), I could see six Raiders landing on the AP All-Pro teams. I know that it is far-fetched to predict that all of them will be on there, but it would not surprise me to see at least half of these guys considered among the best in the league: Davante Adams, Kolton Miller, Maxx Crosby, Christian Wilkins, Jack Jones, and Dylan Laube. 

Adams and Crosby are no strangers to the All-Pro designation, but players like Miller and Wilkins being recognized is long overdue. These two have been considered elite at their positions for some time now with no honors to show for it, and this could be the season that they emerge among the absolute best in the league. Miller could be the cornerstone of a young but dominant offensive line and Wilkins could see statistical increases based on his pairing with elite edge rushers Crosby and Malcolm Koonce. 

Jones may be a bit of a long shot, but his big play-making ability could land him on an All-Pro team similar to DaRon Bland last season. I know that the entire Nation is excited to see what Jones can do in a full season of work because if it is even comparable to what he did in just seven games last season, he should be a shoo-in. Laube could also make his way onto the All-Pro teams as a returner because I believe he is just that good. In his career, he averaged almost 13 yards per punt return while returning two to the house, and in his senior season, he averaged 31.1 yards per kick return and took one for a touchdown. Once again, with these new kickoff rules, he could be a force in the return game. 

Multiple players make their first Pro Bowl

As previously mentioned, there are many Raiders who are long overdue for some recognition by the league, and many of them could be first-time Pro Bowlers this year. The list of players that come to mind are Jakobi Meyers, Zamir White, Jack Jones, Dylan Parham, Kolton Miller, Nate Hobbs, Robert Spillane, Malcolm Koonce, Tre’von Moehrig, and Marcus Epps. 

I know that this list is extensive, but it goes to show how deep and talented this roster really is. Any of these players, if they continue their momentum from last season, could be in line to be a Pro Bowler and it really is not that crazy to think so. These players are not even among the very best on our team, and they could be the best among their peers. To me, that is plenty to be excited about.