The Oakland Raiders have gone through some drastic changes over the last few years. The team has been overhauled and is finally showing promise with up-and-coming stars Derek Carr and Khalil Mack leading the way for the storied NFL franchise.
After an impressive season in which the Raiders went 12-4 and ended their long playoff drought, Oakland is officially a team on the rise in the NFL with a promising future ahead. Veteran left tackle Donald Penn recently spoke to AXS.com about the direction of the team and the addition of Marshawn Lynch.
The two-time Pro Bowler talked about the impact Lynch has already had on the team and moves made in the NFL Draft along with what he believes the Oakland native will do for the Raiders moving forward.
"That's big," Penn told AXS.com. "I'm glad we got him, man. Marshawn has been a friend of mine for years. I know how bad he wanted to play for his home team. I know how bad we needed him after we lost Latavius [Murray] because Latavius was a big part of our offense last year.
"And with Marshawn, I'm glad we got him because we were able to spend some of our draft picks on defense and not go get a running back. Marshawn is going to do very well with us. Been having a good time with him at practice and workouts. I'm looking forward to it, man. He's bound to have so much fun this year. I can't wait!"
Lynch was acquired by the Raiders recently in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. The one-time Super Bowl champion let it be known that he wanted to come out of retirement after a year out of football and was dead-set on joining his hometown team rather than playing for Seattle.
As Penn pointed out, Lynch will fill a major void left by the departure of running back Latavius Murray. The one-time Pro Bowler agreed to a deal with the Minnesota Vikings in free agency leaving a gaping hole in the backfield after he rushed for a career-high 12 touchdowns last season in Oakland.
With Penn leading the charge on one of the best offensive lines in the league alongside Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, and Gabe Jackson, the running game may be stronger than ever with Lynch benefiting from the talent up front and Carr's presence in the backfield keeping the defense honest.