The 2013 NFL season was not one to remember for the Oakland Raiders. A 4-12 record and losses in their last six games capped another season of Raider mediocrity.
Despite this, there were still players who performed well, or at least above expectations.
TERRELLE PRYOR: Perhaps Terrelle Pryor isn’t the most fundamentally gifted quarterback the Raiders have ever seen. Perhaps he doesn’t have a style of play that fits the NFL mold. Perhaps he did not have outstanding stats. However, he gave the Raiders a chance to score and a chance to win. He went 3-5 as the starting Oakland Raider quarterback, which, at first glance, does not seem overly impressive. Then one looks at the schedule and realizes that they played five playoff teams over those first 10 weeks of the season. One also realizes that the Raiders went just 1-7 without him. Pryor’s injury-prone style of play did eventually get the best of him, but while he was playing, Pryor made the Raiders a threat to score on every possession.
RASHAD JENNINGS: Coming into the season Rashad Jennings was a backup, only to be really used in case of a Darren McFadden injury. Of course, the latter happened and Jennings was thrust into the starting role and responded with very solid play. He finished with 733 rushing yards and 4.5 yards per carry. He also provided a reliable outlet in the passing game, on two occasions having at least seven catches for at least 70 yards. What is more impressive is that he did this in essentially nine games when McFadden was either out or limited. The Oakland Raiders clearly believe in him, as they are looking to extend his contract into next season.
SIO MOORE: Sio Moore proved to be the Oakland Raiders’ best pick in the 2013 NFL draft. He outperformed first-round pick D.J. Hayden. He earned his starting spot on the defense and in that role finished the season with 55 total tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Moore also won the defensive rookie of the week award in Week 8, in which he had eight tackles and 1.5 sacks. Moore has begun his career with a bang and still has time to develop into a top linebacker in the NFL.
LAMARR HOUSTON: It could be argued that defensive lineman Lamarr Houston was the best player on the Oakland Raiders defensive unit. He was expected to be good but turned out to be great. He recorded 56 tackles, which is quite a bit for a defensive lineman, along with six sacks and two forced fumbles. Houston was able to put pressure on the quarterback and still be very effective in his run stopping duties. Like with Jennings, the Oakland Raiders have expressed a desire to bring Houston back next season. Unfortunately, Houston remains unconvinced, and has expressed interest in moving away from Oakland for the 2014 season.