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Raiders rookies leading Oakland's playoff push

So, it turns out Mike Mayock knows what he's doing with the draft, eh?

The Oakland Raiders first-year GM is looking pretty dang good through 10 games, as the Silver and Black rookies have been a driving force behind the team's 6-4 record.

The first-year players showed off once again in Sunday's 17-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Running back Josh Jacobs earned 112 rushing yards, receiver Hunter Renfrow added 66 receiving yards, and tight end Foster Moreau scored again (fourth time this season) -- on offense Sunday, the rookies accounted for 34 touches, 201 scrimmage yards and a TD.

On D, the rooks also stepped up big. Maxx Crosby continued to be a menace off the edge, gobbling up 4.0 sacks, the most by a Raiders rookie in a game in franchise history. He became the fourth rookie with four-plus sacks in a game since 1982, when sacks became official (Brian Orakpo, Cornelius Bennett and Leslie O'Neal). Second-round CB Trayvon Mullen also got into the action with a game-sealing INT, the first of his career.

It's been a season-long showoff for the Raiders rookies. Jacobs registered his fourth game with 100-plus rush yards this season (more than all other rookies combined). Jacobs and HOF Marcus Allen (1985) are the only players in Raiders history with 900-plus rush yards and seven-plus rush TD through the team's first 10 games of a season -- Marcus Allen won NFL MVP in 1985. On defense, Crosby (6.5) and first-round pick Clelin Ferrell (3.5) have combined for 10 total QB takedowns and a bevy more pressures.

"The confidence among all the rookies is sky high right now," Mullen said, via The Athletic. "That's because of our preparation. We believe in ourselves and each other and it allows us to go out there and play free...

"These last three games have been awesome. To win three for these fans, who come here and show how much they care about us knowing that this is our last season here. All of us rookies could tell right away that it was special here and we just want to do our part."

Coach Jon Gruden and his staff deserve credit for their work with the rookies and trusting them to play vital roles in the Raiders' playoff push.

Raiders first-year players lead all teams rookies in touches (270), scrimmage yards (1,676) and scrimmage TDs (14). Oakland is the first team since the 1970 merger with seven-plus rush TDs and seven-plus receiving TDs by rookies in the first 10 games of a season, per NFL Research.

Not only is the Raiders' rookie class dominating, but they're also doing it without first-round safety Johnathan Abram, who was placed on IR after suffering an injury after just one tilt.

Behind the great play from the first-year crew, Oakland has put heat on Kansas City for supremacy in the AFC West. The Chiefs must now win Monday night to keep ahead of Gruden's gaggle in the division.

After a whirlwind offseason, Mayock deserves heavy consideration for executive of the year, especially if the rookies lead the Raiders to the playoffs in their last year in Oakland.

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