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Final Power Ranking: 15
Preseason Power Ranking: 24
Biggest surprise: The entire rookie class was solid and Tom Cable -- who was fired as Oakland's coach Tuesday -- gave the group an A+ grade Monday. However, no rookie stood out more than fourth-round pick Jacoby Ford. When Oakland drafted Ford out of Clemson it looked like a typical Oakland flier on a flyer. Ford was the fastest player at the combine and the Raiders have always loved speed. But Ford is more than a track star in cleats. He made an impact as a returner and receiver. Ford was making key plays on a weekly basis down the stretch. Oakland has some question marks at receiver, but Ford gives them serious hope there in addition to his explosive return skills.
Biggest disappointment: Play outside of the division. The Raiders were the only team in the NFL in 2010 and the 30th team since 1970 to go undefeated in division play. Yet, it was the first team in that time span to not make the playoffs. Oakland wasted its 6-0 division record. While the feat is impressive, Oakland has to kick itself for not taking advantage of this accomplishment. Oakland was 2-8 outside the AFC West, including 0-6 against the rest of the AFC. The Raiders had a chance to go to the playoffs because of their AFC West dominance, but they couldn’t take advantage.
Biggest need: The interesting thing about the Raiders is they don’t have a ton of glaring needs. Sure, they need to get better in plenty of areas, but they have players at the positions that they think, and hope, can develop. It starts at quarterback. Jason Campbell probably will be back next season. But he has to get better. Campbell was inconsistent in his first season in Oakland. Yet, there are no immediate better options than Campbell. Oakland needs better overall play at receiver, the offensive line and at all three layers of defense. But there is a good nucleus here. If Oakland goes shopping for anything, it could be for linebackers, offensive line or secondary help.
Team MVP: Running back Darren McFadden. He had a breakout season and was a big reason why Oakland’s offense was so much better this season than the previous season. The 2008 No. 4 overall pick is one of the NFL’s most complete running backs. He runs well inside and outside and he has good hands as a receiver.
More change: Despite the Raiders' progress, Cable was fired. Oakland’s instability at head coach continues. The team will hire its sixth coach in the past nine years. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is the favorite to land the job as he did a nice job this season giving life to a once-anemic offense.