LAST YEAR: Raiders more than doubled win total in first year under coach Jack Del Rio, going from 3-13 to 7-9. QB Derek Carr took major step in second year as starter with help from some talent at receiver in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. DE Khalil Mack became star opposing offenses must deal with as edge rusher with 15 sacks.
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IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: OL Kelechi Osemele, CB Sean Smith, LB Bruce Irvin, S Reggie Nelson, rookie S Karl Joseph.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: S Charles Woodson, DE Justin Tuck, OL J'Marcus Webb, LB Curtis Lofton.
CAMP NEEDS: After filling most needs with productive free-agent haul, Raiders enter camp with few glaring holes for a change. Biggest questions will be figuring out whether Austin Howard or Menelik Watson will start at right tackle, whether rookie RB DeAndre Washington can emerge as capable backup to 1,000-yard back Latavius Murray, and who will play slot cornerback and inside linebacker.
EXPECTATIONS: Raiders actually have legitimate ones this year. Oakland has gone 13 straight seasons without winning record or playoff berth, and most of those seasons started with little reasonable hope of ending those droughts. This season is different. With young core led by Carr, Mack and Cooper, and offseason upgrades with the signings of proven winners such as Osemele, Smith, Irvin and Nelson, Raiders seem to have pieces needed to make run at playoff spot and division title.
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