While the NFL offseason still hasnâ€™t picked up, I thought it would be nice to take one last look at the great season the Oakland Raiders had in 2016. And what better way to celebrate what was honestly, one of the most fun football seasons Iâ€™ve ever had, than with a list of superlative awards? Letâ€™s get right to it.
MVP - Derek Carr
I mean, duh. After Derek Carr went down with an injury, a team that looked like one of the best in the league suddenly looked like it couldnâ€™t beat anybody. For some odd reason, there are still those in the national media who do not buy into Carrâ€™s talent, but if youâ€™ve watched every game as closely as Raiders fans have, you know that not only is Carr one of the best players on the team, he is literally the heart and soul of this team. Without Carr, the entire squad looked lost. There is no one else on the roster or the sideline who is more important to the Raiders than Derek Carr.
ROY - Jalen Richard
The best rookie contributors in 2017 came down to three guys, DeAndre Washington, Karl Joseph and Jalen Richard. Joseph missed a number of games thanks to needing to earn a starting role followed by a late season injury. He played well but you could also tell that he has some areas where he needs to improve. Washington had a very good season, but for a couple of reasons, Richardâ€™s was better. Richard was better in the passing game andÂ was not only a threat on offense, he was also a weapon in the return game. What Richard did was even more impressive when you consider the fact that he was an undrafted free agent.
Comeback Player - Donald Penn
Last offseason, many were wondering if the Raiders might be better off moving on from Donald Penn. After he struggled late in the year during the 2015 season and contract talks didnâ€™t go so well to start. And as others questioned whether or not Penn is over the hill, he was probably in some gym working out like a maniac and reading the writing of every person that doubted him. Much like the year after getting cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Penn came back with a vengeance this season.
Best New Addition - Kelechi Osemele
Bruce Irvin had one hell of a season for the Raiders, but there wasnâ€™t a single new addition, draft or free agency, who was better than Kelechi Osemele. They guy is an absolute monster and while his play may not be as flashy as an edge rusher like Irvin, itâ€™s massively important. Osemele was a major reason the run game improved so much this season and he did a great job of helping keep Derek Carr clean all year long.
Best Social Media Presence - Bruce Irvin
About a month ago, this award probably would have gone to Marquette King. But as time passed, it became clear that there was a lesson to learn from Irvinâ€™s use of social media. Last offseason, Irvin was frequently on social media cracking jokes, interacting with fans and earning the nickname “Baby Reggie” for recruiting free agents through Twitter. But since then, his Twitter activity has been limited at best. Clearly focused on the season, Irvin Tweeted on occasion but nowhere near the rate of Marquette King. As it turns out, that restraint has proven to make his social media presence much more attractive.
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