Obviously, the Raiders’ 2014 draft laid the foundation for the franchise’s future. They drafted Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson with their first three choices. The Raiders have given Carr and Jackson long-term extensions, and Mack is next.
The three arrived in Oakland believing they could live up to Al Davis’ Commitment to Excellence.
“We didn’t know the time frame and all this, but I remember rookie year, me, Khalil and DC, we always talked about the change coming and how we were going to turn things around,” Jackson told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “And Derek always kept encouraging us that things would get better, so me and Khalil always said, ‘Derek, he knows something’s about to happen with us.’ And he was right.”
The Raiders were 4-12 in 2013 and went 3-13 in 2014 before beginning the turnaround by going 7-9 in 2015. Their 12-4 record last season was the Raiders’ first winning season since 2002, which marked the last time they had earned a postseason berth. The Raiders enter this season considered a Super Bowl contender. But Jackson said the Raiders aren’t worried about expectations.
“We have a certain group of guys, we don’t get to the hype,” Jackson said. “We know that, if you don’t come out and work and prepare to win, you won’t win. Anybody can get beat by whoever and whenever, so you’ve got to be dedicated and work hard throughout the week and do the whole process like you would normally do it no matter what.”