I'm going to analyze our division in this post. This is inspired by Matt Williamson's idiotic ranking a while back.
The quarterback position will be vastly improved next season. Make no mistake, Carson Palmer will be an above average, possibly excellent QB next season. The physical ability is still there, he can make excellent throws, the pass over DJ Williams was one of the tightest windows you can throw through. The fact that he wasn't horrendous last season was surprising to me. You cant just come off your couch and play NFL football. This season he will have practice and I expect good things from him.
The running back position features one of the best in the league in D-Mac. He will play well obviously. However he will get hurt, I can almost guarantee it. Behind him is Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones. All three Raiders RB's have breakaway speed. Goodson is also very quick and nimble for his size. He runs in the same style as D-Mac, both of them run high and straight. Mike Goodson was the focal point of the Aggies offense in college. The ball was always coming to him whether through the air or on the ground. This brings me to my next point, he can catch the ball and is very dangerous after the catch. However he cant run inside well due to his size and running style. Both D-Mac and Goodson are better the longer the play develops (a Half-back dive up the middle isn't his strong suit but a stretch run or a delay is much more effective.) Goodson and D-Mac are similar runners, this isn't thunder and lighting. The O-line can play the run the same way but so can the defense.
Having watched Mike Goodson play for the past few years, I cant help but think he would be an elite CB with his Physical skills.
The WR position is loaded. DHB, Moore, Ford and Criner will likely start. DHB is obviously fast and has improved. We should all be familiar with Ford and Moore by now. Criner is another excellent WR. I thought he was a 2nd round pick. Nick Foles would just throw it up to this guy. He has Brandon Lloyd body control and catching ability, its that good. Great one on one deep, however he isn't a burner by any means. Marcel Reece is another weapon that they will use effectively against our LB's. They have the worst TE's I have seen in years.
O-line. Veldheer is an above average LT. Carlisle sucks (LG) and is a weakness that Derek Wolfe should exploit. Wisniewski is an excellent guard and should play well at Center next year. Mike Brisel is starting at RG after just one year of NFL experience.Khalif Barnes will start at RT. He is to slow of a run blocker and is getting up in the years I think Von Miller can exploit him.
The Raiders O-line is their biggest weakness on offense IMO, particularly the Carslisle (LG) and Barnes (RT)
The WR group: Malcolm Floyd, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal and Vincent Brown is a good one. Floyd and Meachem have shown that they can play although they arent a threat IMO with our strong starting CB's. Royal and Brown scare me a lot more. Royal can do a lot on ST but he will also get the ball more with Rivers at the helm. The speed is still there and he knows how to beat our CB's. Brown will have a breakout year. I highlighted him as one of my sleepers in my 2011 WR post. He had the biggest hands in the draft and is an excellent route runner with good speed. This group isnt real flashy but it is good.
Backfield: Ryan Mathews, Le'Ron McLain, and Ronnie Brown. Mathews could have his best year yet because he is a rep back, he gets better with more carries and will be relied upon heavily this season. McLain is scary for his size but if we are prepared we will be able to handle him
If Ryan Mathews is hurt there is no (reliable) depth behind him.
The O-line features Jared Gaither (LT), Rex Hadnot (LG) , Nick Hardwick (C), Louis Vasquez (RG), Jeromey Clary (RT). This unit has always been really strong but there are holes in it compared to previous years. Gaither has top 5 LT physical ability however injuries have always hampered him so that position is questionable. Hadnot is average, Hardwick is a great center, and Vasquez is hot and cold but struggled last year. Clary really struggles in pass protection, Von should have success.
The right side of this line is weak and there is a potential hole at LT with an injury prone player (albeit talented when healthy).
This year just like last, has Norv Turner being the biggest weakness to the team. Norv is a bad coach and he should feel bad.
The worst QB in the division belongs to the Chiefs. Matt Cassel is not the type of QB that makes his teammates better. He isn't terrible (Orton) but he isn't anything special. Mark Sanchez and him play similarly (although Sanchez has much quicker feet) and I could see Mark end up like Matt in a few years if the Jets dont get some talent.
Back-field: Jamaal Charles will not be as good prior to injury mark my words. First of all the Chiefs overused (something the Raiders did not do with D-Mac). Charles should not have been the workhorse with his build even if he has the toughness. the Peyton Hillis signing is two years late IMO. That being said Charles will have some success no doubt with is speed, vision and the great run blocking up front. Hillis could be scary if he stays healthy. Hillis is another size speed guy, great downhill runner with amazing speed (4.5 40) for his size.
TE- Tony Moeaki and Kevin Boss will start at TE. The two TE sets will be very good in Kansas City. Both can catch as well. Goal line offense will be hard to defend.
WR- Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin, Steve Breaston, Devon Wylie and Dexter Mccluster. This is a good group headline by the best WR in the division (not for long) in Bowe. Baldwin will likely be improved and the addition of Wylie helps bolster this group. Wylie is also an excellent returner. Wylie is good but he doesn't have the thick legs that Welker had, that's a key to staying healthy and playing well for the little Wide receivers (Steve Smith as well). However Desean Jacksons doing it just fine.
Might be the best starting group in the division. A lot of young talent. Lilja is the only clear weakness although Albert can be had at times. The Youth is the biggest concern (besides injury) but the two in the middle have been great so I'm sure they'll continue to learn fast. Wish they kept Barry Richardson another year or two (he sucked).