Today's Raiders quiz:

-- Which Raider is the most vital key to the team's future?

-- Which Raider might turn out to be Al Davis' best parting gift to the franchise?

-- Who is the only current defensive starter who started for the Raiders last season?

-- Which Raider has a blond cap to his Afro a look he took to help his wife when she was nervous about dying her hair?

Answers: It's all the same man Lamarr Houston.

Terrelle Pryor has jumped into the Raiders' spotlight this season the quarterback of the future. Running back Darren McFadden could be a big part of the team's future depending on what happens the next 10 games.

But Houston the fourth-year defensive end from Texas he's the quiet one an unsung budding star the Raiders have stamped "must keep." Houston becomes a free agent after this season unless the Raiders head off that headache by signing him long-term or by franchising him.

The Raiders really really would like to sign Houston for a long time. Not because he is great although that potentially lurks but because he is very good young and signing him would send a loud message.

The Raiders will need to do some major recruiting before next season. They have several rental players they might want to bring back and they'll be looking at other free agents.

Houston is well-thought-of around the league a popular guy and a very promising player. One website rates him the seventh-best free agent in the upcoming crop. (Offensive tackle Jared Veldheer is No. 9.) If the Raiders take care of Houston they will send a message: We are a smart squared-away organization that cares about winning and keeping its good young players.

Houston declines to talk contract. He deflects all such questions turning the subject back to team-team-team. He's a gregarious good-natured fellow also religious and serious and nobody's blowhard.

He does however admit he'd like to stick with Oakland.

"I like this organization" Houston said Wednesday. "I love it here and when Al Davis drafted me (second round in 2010) he was someone who gave me a chance when other people didn't. He's seen a vision for me that I'm living right now and I want to stand behind his vision and help this team win and get back to where they were."

Houston is 6-foot-3 and 305 and when he came out of Texas scouts couldn't decide if he'd be a tackle a 3-4 end a 4-3 end or what. Davis saw Houston as a pass rusher and Al had special love for those guys.