Too Soon? Your Oakland Raiders 2018 Team Awards

The regular season hasn’t started (for the Raiders, at least), but it’s never too early to hand out a few end of the year awards. No doubt, these will all be spot on, with zero margin needed for error… or something like that.

Newcomer of the Year: Reports of Jordy Nelson’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. All eyes are on Amari Cooper this year, but Nelson will get the volume and red zone targets. Every quarterback has a primary target. Carr’s go-to is expected to be Cooper, but don’t be surprised if it turns out to be Nelson.

Rookie of the Year: You know who doesn’t care about Khalil Mack’s untimely departure? Mo Hurst doesn’t care. Mack’s absence only means there will be more meat on the bone for the Raiders young defensive linemen. Hurst and P.J. Hall are both in line to impact the defense this year, but Hurst is a little more polished, so he gets the preseason nod for the award.

Offensive Player of the Year: If Derek Carr doesn’t win this award, the Raiders are in trouble. For the first time in his career, there might be some easy throws on field for Carr now that Jon Gruden is in town. With Mack gone, Carr is now the undisputed leader of the locker room. Expect his command of the offense to be beyond anything we’ve seen from him to this point in his career.

Defensive Player of the Year: Cornerback is a strange position to win this award, but Al Davis considered cornerback a premium position and that should be good enough for anyone. Gareon Conley is supremely talented and if he can stay healthy for a full season, his corner of the field will become the NFL’s newest no fly zone.

MVP: Derek Carr. See above. If this award goes to anyone else, the Raiders have no chance of making the playoffs. By the way, look for Carr’s completion percentage to skyrocket this year.

Honorable Mention: Marquel Lee is going to become a fixture in Paul Guenther’s defense and Bruce Irvin, when his back was healthy last year, was nearly as productive as Mack.

Look for Jalen Richard to have a significant role this year. He’ll never be a goal line runner or every-down back, but Richard is going to eat in Gruden’s offense… and so will the tight ends.

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