Raiders HOF candidates now and in the future

Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52) during a game against the Philadelphia EaglesPhoto: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Branch, Mack top prospects for Hall call

Retired

--Wide receiver Cliff Branch caught 501 passes for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns between 1972 and 1985, all with the Raiders. He was the prototype Al Davis deep threat, opening up the offense even as he was producing himself. He was arguably a better and more productive receiver than Lynn Swann, already in the Hall of Fame. Branch also excelled in the postseason, with 73 catches for 1,289 yards and five touchdowns.

Safety Jack Tatum has been overlooked for years due to epic fallout from the unfortunate result of a tackle on New England's Darryl Stingley, who was paralyzed by the legal blow. Both players are now deceased, and Tatum's name was on the list of nominees this year, as it should be considering he was named as the player most admired by two of the game's best safeties - Ronnie Lott and Ken Easley.

Still playing

--Defensive end Khalil Mack has compiled 40.5 sacks in his first four seasons despite having just four in his rookie year -- and even in that season applied constant pressure. He is just as strong against the run as against the pass, virtually impossible to block one-on-one. In line to become the NFL's highest-paid defensive player, Mack has already been an NFL defensive player of the year and been named All-Pro at two different positions in the same season, both in 2017.

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