Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack, right, pressures San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer
OAKLAND, Calif — Quarterback Derek Carr, wide receiver Amari Cooper, and defensive end Khalil Mack headline seven Raiders (the most since 1991) selected to the AFC team for the 2017 Pro Bowl, the league announced Tuesday.
The 2017 Pro Bowl will be held at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, Jan. 29. Oakland’s seven players selected were the most selected from one team, with the Atlanta Falcons second with six players selected to the NFC squad.
Oakland (11-3), who clinched their first trip to the playoffs since 2002 with a 19-16 win in San Diego Sunday, hope that none of their players play in the NFL’s All-Star Game as they could be preparing to play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LI on Sunday, Feb. 5 in Houston, Texas at NRG Stadium.
Carr is having career-year and is one of the favorites for the NFL’s MVP Award, throwing for 3,705 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. The third-year signal caller has a 95.2 passer rating while engineering the NFL’s third-ranked scoring offense at 26.9 points per game.
Cooper is just finding his way in the league in only his second season out of Alabama, surpassing the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the second straight season with 1,038 receiving yards this year. Cooper recorded 1,070 receiving yards in his rookie season last year.
Mack, who had his streak of consecutive games with at least one sack snapped at eight in San Diego, is tied for fourth in the league with 11 sacks. No matter what sports page or blog you read, or sports talk show you watch and listen to, Mack’s name is mentioned as a strong candidate to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Left tackle Donald Penn, left guard Kelechi Osemele, and center Rodney Hudson were selected from the AFC’s best offensive line that has only gotten Carr sacked a league-low 15 times this season. This is Penn’s second Pro Bowl nod, while this is the first selection for both Hudson and Osemele.
Safety Reggie Nelson earned his second straight nod with his team-leading four interceptions.
The Raiders sent six players to last year’s game, with Mack, safety Charles Woodson, and fullback Marcel Reece being voted on the first ballot before Carr, Cooper, and running back Latavius Murray were selected as alternates.
The Silver and Black host the Indianapolis Colts (7-7) on Christmas Eve in Oakland’s final regular season home game.