Oakland's top 5 Indispensable Players for 2006


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Jan 22, 2006
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Oakland's top 5 Indispensable Players for 2006
Anthony Carroll

On the starting 22 of any NFL roster, there are always a handful of players who are truly indispensable to their team. Attempting to rebound from a 13-35 three-year deficit, the Oakland Raiders ' current pool of talent is overflowing heading into the 2006 season. However, despite a talent-filled roster, it is often the indispensable role players who make a larger difference on the team's overall performance.

Heading into a critical 2006 season, let's look at the top five most indispensable roster-holders in Oakland.

1. LaMont Jordan

In his first season with the Silver and Black, 27-year-old LaMont Jordan touched the ball 342 times. His team-leading touch sum resulted in 1,588 total yards and 11 touchdowns, with 1,025 yards coming on the ground and the other 563 yards coming through the air. Last season, No. 34 remained on the sidelines for Oakland's final two regular season efforts. In those games, backup bruiser, Zack Crockett, attempted 30 rushes for just 88 yards and no touchdowns. The Raiders lost both finale games by a combined 28 points, generating virtually no threat on the ground. Once more, set to backup Oakland's 1,000-yard rusher is fullback Zack Crockett and oft-injured fourth-year back, Justin Fargas. In either event, a Jordan injury would dig Oakland into a deep hole with two flimsy shovels, making the 230-pounder a truly indispensable asset.

2. Robert Gallery

The 2005 campaign was an off-year for Robert Gallery; however, the 6-7, 325-pound lineman held down his starting position for the entirety of the season. In two years with Oakland, 2004's second overall draft pick has started in all but one game, letting in 6.5 sacks and committing 18 total penalties--eight holding calls and 10 false starts. Regardless of his short NFL history, No. 76 is a central focus up front for Oakland. At just 25 years of age, losing Gallery would spell trouble for a line already thin with definite starting talent. Additionally, heading into 2006, the Iowa alumnus will be given more responsibility protecting the blind side of his quarterback. If not the most essential module of the Raiders offense, Gallery is undoubtedly the quarterback's most critical fortress.

3. Randy Moss

With a long-armed, high-speed 6'4" frame, Randy Moss is any quarterback's best friend. Despite an injury-filled off-year, Moss still managed to surpass the 1,000-yard echelon last season, grabbing 60 balls for 1,005 yards and eight touchdowns. In his eight-year career, Moss has hauled in 634 passes for 10,147 yards and 98 touchdowns, making him one of the NFL's best at his position. With Aaron Brooks inked as the early starter, No. 18 will be a welcoming target throughout the season for the ex-Saint. Despite an infusion of talent at the wide receiving slot for Oakland, Moss is an unmatchable offensive threat.

4. Derrick Burgess

Along with headlining the Raiders' sack list in 2005, Burgess topped the league in the quarterback takedown category. In his first season out of Philadelphia, the 260-pounder tallied 16 sacks and 57 tackles. Despite a sack-filled season for Burgess, Oakland still struggled in the category in 2005. Far below him sat Warren Sapp with just five sacks, with Tommy Kelly just beneath with 4.5. Without the former third-rounder in 2004, the Raiders leader up front produced just four sacks throughout the entire season. Luckily for Oakland, No. 56 was acquired for the 2005 campaign and will be returning for another healthy year in 2006.

5. Kirk Morrison

Only a sophomore, Kirk Morrison took all but one year to prove his value to the Oakland defense. In his first season with the Silver and Black, the San Diego State draft pick led all players on the team in tackles with 116. Sans veteran Danny Clark, no other linebacker produced in 2005, making Morrison's value rise dramatically as a rookie. In 2006, both linebackers will be returning along with a cast of healing youngsters and unproven rookies. Entering his second season, a bolstered supporting cast and year of first-team experience should play directly into Morrison's hands. For Oakland, this is stirring news; for their challengers, it's the opposite.
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